Monday, October 28, 2013

Her Moment of Truth

The day finally came.  She woke up very early, at 5:00 a.m., and took a bath as instructed. Then she took the bus to the hospital. She got there at 7:00 a.m., precisely on time for her scheduled appointment. She checked in to "Kvinnokliniken" (the women's clinic) and was guided to her private ward where she was instructed to change clothes and lie on the bed. She had an hour to wait.


Another waiting. Actually, she had been waiting since February when she was diagnosed as having uterine myomas, one of which being as big as a handball. She was told that the best remedy for this would be a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus. She accepted that. The doctor assured her that she would get her schedule within three months.

She waited calmly, so calmly that it seemed like nothing was wrong at all. All apprehensions were automatically pushed at the back of her head. She was able to work like usual and went about her life normally and joyfully.

By May, she got the date for her surgery. It would be June 4, but in another city since the hospital in her city was fully booked until September. When that day came, her husband drove her to that city, with a heavy heart, as it would mean that he would leave her alone and they'd be apart for probably 2 to 5 days. Nevertheless, the surgeon found out that she had extremely low hemoglobin and she didn't want to take the risk of operating without blood transfusion. She had informed the medical authority beforehand that she wouldn't take BT at any cost on account of her personal principle, and they understood her and respected her wish. The doctor then decided to send her back to her city with the assurance that the doctors there would prioritize her and that the hospital could use a cellsaver on her operation. That sounded better. She and her husband let out a sigh of relief for this welcome change.

Back to her city, it turned out that she could not get a schedule for an operation yet. Instead, she had to get an iron injection twice a week until she'd attain the 110 blood count requirement for a safe surgery.

Another long wait. She reached the required count in about three weeks. She was told to have the operation ten days thereafter. That would be the first week of July. She was given a date. Before that, she was summoned to the hospital for an updated check-up and a supposed orientation by her surgeon. She had the feeling that something would turn up again. To make the long story short, the date was moved to September after the surgeon had laid all the cards on the table which prompted her to make a choice and follow his suggestion. Fair enough.

Three more months to wait. The letter finally arrived with the operation date, survey questions regarding her general health status, instructions on the things she must do before the surgery and complete information on everything she needed to know and expect before and after operation. It would be Sept. 26. On the 17th, she was again summoned for another update on her health and in-depth orientation by the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. The surgeon assured her that it wouldn't be a complicated surgery, but the anesthesiologist's description of the process of administering the anesthesia and putting her to sleep sounded a little disturbing. He stressed, however, that she was a healthy woman and didn't think there'd be any problem. Still, all those creepy operating room scenes that she had read and watched came flooding to her mind and caused a momentary mental maelstrom.

Was it time for her to worry or be scared over what was about to happen? She had not thought of this before. She only waited and kept herself preoccupied with worthwhile activities. But now....Well, she had nine days more to worry or not to worry. She opted not to worry.

She got a new letter. What would it be this time? The operation was moved to an earlier date: Sept. 23. That was good news for her. The wait was cut short by three days. At least, that didn't feel like eternity.


Time glided by so quickly that before she knew it, two nurses wheeled her out of the room, through corridors and elevators and on to the operating room. There she was met by the anesthesiology team, each of them was so kind and gentle to her that she felt completely at ease during these tough moments. It was time to yield her body to these strangers and trust in their combined abilities to make her well again. Moment of truth. The outcome would affect many persons whose lives are interwoven with hers.

In the process of administering the anesthesia, she became strikingly aware of the medical personnel around her. Right before her was a female OR nurse who was holding her to keep her in the proper sitting position. A student nurse stood behind the OR nurse, observing. Behind her was the male anesthesiologist who was driving the needles through her lower spine. Another man was stationed next to the doctor. To her left stood a male doctor (?) or nurse (?) holding the oxygen tube, ready to apply the mask at any moment. He kept on caressing her arm and cheek alternately by way of calming and reassuring her. Another male nurse stood behind him. Within a brief span of 15-20 minutes, she came to feel an affinity with the three persons who came into direct contact with her. That feeling soothed her.

It was time to recline on the surgical table. The stage was set. She started to feel her outstretched legs go numb. She heard the word "jättebra!" coming out of the anesthesiologist's lips as he hovered over her. Next came the "oxygen man" who placed the mask over her nose and mouth while saying something that sounded foggy and distant to her. The only words that she could make out was, "You're going to sleep now." Her vision became hazy. And then...pitch blackness.

The whirring sounds of machines and electronic gadgets stirred her to consciousness. She felt the sphygmomanometer automatically inflate and deflate around her arm. She heard the electronic tones of her heartbeat. She tried to open her eyes which felt too heavy for her. She only managed to briefly scan her surrounding: a room with four patients separated by curtains, a wall clock showing the time which was between 12:00 nn and 1:00 pm. She wondered how long she had been sleeping. She thought of her husband who would visit her at 2:00 pm. She felt groggy and everything looked hazy. She fell back to sleep. In and out of sleep. The subconscious thought of her husband being worried by now kept popping up in her mind.

At almost 4:00 pm, two nurses came to relieve her of all the electronic gadgets attached to her, then wheeled her out of the recovery room and back to her ward. In one corridor they passed by, she spotted the anesthesiologist walking some meters away, and she waved at him but he disappeared from her view in a fraction of a second. At least, that was an indication that she had attained full consciousness by then.

She was finally back in her private room. She had survived. The dreaded moment had ticked away. The truth had become a living reality.

She praised her Heavenly Father for keeping her in his tender loving care and for answering one more of her prayers, as he always did in the past. Her heart heaved with overwhelming gratitude to all the hardworking medical teams whose members treated her with care and tenderness, which moved her deeply;  and to all her true friends who wished her well and kept her in their prayers.

Her hubby came soon afterward, both of them glad to see each other and that the hurdle was finally overcome.

She came home the following day, and was given a whole month recuperation period.

She's back to life. A new life with an incomplete body. And yet, she came to be WHOLE.

"Though I walk in the valley of deep shadow,
I feel no harm,
For you are with me;
Your rod and your staff reassure me."
- Psalm 23:4