I recently had surgery.
In fact, I’m recovering at this very moment from a procedure to remove a few girl bits, parts I was initially assured were no longer of use to me, but which I still miss. I mean … we’d been together a long time.
I’ve had a number of operations over the years, and this latest one had me thinking about what is surely the strangest of the pre-operative protocols. It generally goes like this: An overly-cheerful medical professional appears and supplies the patient with myriad papers and a writing utensil.
“These are your consent forms. Let’s go over them.”
At that point, the patient is informed of each and every horrendous thing that might happen during surgery and asked to sign a waiver saying they understand what could occur and that, well, no worries: caveat emptor.
A while back I had some weird anaerobic creatures growing in my sinus cavity – rather icky and dangerous – and so I faced said cheerful medical professional who proffered three forms.
“This one says you might suffer brain damage.”
“This one says you might lose your left eye.”
“This one says your voice might change.”
“Your voice might change.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know.”
I like my voice. When I was a TV sports reporter my pipes paid my bills. I also enjoy singing. So I gripped that pen and considered the possibilities. Fran Dresher stuck in my head. “I can’t agree to that.”
Of course, after much consternation, I did sign. And, when I woke up following the roto-rooting of my head, discovering no discernible vocal changes, I celebrated dodging that particular bullet.
Prior to my recent operation, I faced a few more perilous possibilities.
“You might need a blood transfusion,” the surgeon who would soon be probing my interior explained. “Just initial here.” She smiled sweetly.
I complied. As I did when she mentioned internal-organ damage, infection, and an overabundance of scar tissue. Then she pointed at the last box.
“When you sign here, it means you understand that, since we’re removing your ovaries, you might experience hot flashes.”
I squinted. “No! I went through menopause years ago.”
Yes, but we don’t know if your ovaries are still providing you with hormones.” She shrugged. “You might get hot flashes.”
I paused and considered that I hadn’t suffered greatly during menopause, had remained my normal cheery self throughout. Then I recalled a family dinner when my siblings and I were twenty-somethings. Out of nowhere my mother said, “I had no problems at all during menopause.”
Now my family was always rather lacking in any outward displays of humor, so Mom’s pronouncement was met with only stunned silence. However, I sensed that, internally, we were all laughing so hard food was coming out of our noses.
As I held that pen poised over the form, I reexamined my memories of my own life change. I considered contacting my sweetie pie to ask him his thoughts on that time.
But the surgeon was waiting.
I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.
Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.