Dear Dr. Sleep,
I don’t know you but I love you. You were my anesthesiologist recently. I’m sure you told me your name. I’m certain we had a conversation. But all I remember is my own nervousness. I had no reason to feel that way: My surgery was simple and I was healthy. But doctors’ offices and hospitals and places with needles do strange things to many of us. My blood pressure rises twenty points as I enter the facility, then twenty more when I see how high it has already risen. You took care of me and you did it well. The last thing I remember before … well, before I don’t remember what, you were pleasantly joking around with the OR nurse and making me feel reassured and comfy. Who would joke around when there was something to worry about? Not you, certainly, when you had my very breath in your hands.
Maybe I should be grateful to the surgeon, who also did a great job. Or the OR nurse, who was at the top of her game. But it was you who made sure I slept through the ucky part, with nicely measured breaths, and woke up happy when everything was done. Even the nurse who placed the IV in my arm with the utmost care pointed to the diagonal plastic opening that stood up from the tube and, with reverence, said, “That is where the good stuff goes.”
You put your happy juice into that opening and patted my arm, with a knowing chuckle. People say that doctors ask them to count back from a hundred, but I never last that long. The next thing I know, I am waking up without even remembering what it is I went to sleep for. Who knows? Maybe you save a bit of that juice for yourself, and were in a good mood because you were anticipating a couple hours’ rest for yourself. I wouldn’t know, because while things-I-don’t-want-to-know-about were happening, I was blissfully unaware. Thanks to you.
I watched a movie recently and in that movie one of the characters said he’d just had surgery. Another character asked what the surgery was for. The first man replied that he wasn’t sure, because he didn’t really think it was his business, so he never asked. That’s how most of us feel about surgery, and you make all that possible. Other physicians want us to know what we’re there for and want us to have informed consent and want to explain things. In detail. You just want to let us drift off to slumber land and stop the hurt. Bless you. You make it all so simple.
Marsha at the Bungalow.