Anyone See Where I Left My Scalpel? Now That’s A Brush With Reality!

ImageIts 11:11, an hour and ten minutes into my daughter’s five hour spine surgery. I’m sitting with her fiancé, a menagerie of electronic devices to keep me entertained and a fully charged cell phone.

 I’m on level 33 in the game Candy Crush and fiancé is on level 65, not that it’s a competition. Steve Harvey is on the television chattering away about Jack Russell Terriers. I have one of those.  Chicken-dog we call him due to his un-bounding ability to find the most minuscule piece of chicken bone from the trash. No one in the room seems to notice the television exists. No one cares that I have a chicken-dog at home or why I’m sitting in this artificial environment called a waiting room.  I however, cannot say the same about my feelings toward the other people in the room.

I hear snippets of conversations, small windows into the lives of others, small dramas in adult human packages.  She did well, you can go back; He had problems and will be in recovery another hour; I’ve been here all night and I got a parking ticket; I’m sorry, we need to talk to you in private. Things didn’t go as expected.  This is what I am currently calling my reality.

I’ve heard that word in different contexts lately making me wonder, what is reality?

Outside the hospital walls, people continue to rush around grabbing coffee, the latest news, the morning dead-lock on I-83, pushing their kids onto school buses. In here I sit and wonder why it’s taking me so many attempts to get past level 33 in Candy Crush and what fiancé knows that I don’t.  Its easier then thinking that the woman I once spent forty-two hours giving birth to is lying on a table being flayed by a man I’ve met only once.

Okay, maybe flayed is not the most accurate word. No correct that, this is what I feel, so it is the exact word for my current reality. What is reality? How can my reality consist of one way of life and the next day be completely alien from the day before? Are they the same? Is my reality the same as someone in a country where there is no electricity and my daily existence is spent finding food and fresh water?

My first inclination is to say, no, they are not the same reality. How can they be? When I think about the veterans returning home after active duty, I think the same thing. How do they wrap their heads around the life they lived overseas in war zones too returning home to, hey, the neighbor cut the hedge too short?  Do something about that.

My second inclination is to say; yes it is the same reality, only different facets. As quantum physics contemplates the ramifications of string theory, (alternate dimensions in time and space) I think I’ll view reality as a large, loosely woven textile. Twisted, strands of cotton into yarn blended together and the fibers criss-crossing, under and over each other. You pull one string and the whole thing wobbles or comes undone.

There is a large family in the hallway outside the trauma intensive care ward. From their faces I can tell they are sitting on the edge of threads coming undone if not completely ripped. I make eye contact with their pleading, empty eyes. I can almost hear the word, why, from their minds. Why did this thread have to snag or be cut? I don’t have an answer.

It’s surreal to see. Daughter’s fiancé and I are walking down the hallway toward the hospital cafeteria. He’s talking about a stock car race and the amount of hours they give him at work. I am flashing back to when I was in the trauma intensive care ward down at Shock Trauma in Baltimore. I can smell the alcohol and hear the doctors and nurses talking as they filleted me open to save my life. I never lost consciousness till the end.

Daughter’s fiancé does not know my reality just sharply changed course on that textile of life. Nor do I think he caught how close we both just walked around another reality sharply snagged and unraveling as we passed that family in the hallway. A chill goes down my own spine. My spine, intact, closed within the confines of my muscles and skin. I flash to my daughter lying there in surgery.

Do you think a doctor ever left a tool or cotton wad in someone, I hear someone say while in the cafeteria line. I’m trying to decide on a nice, healthy fish or a piece of cake. I pick up the cake and another cup of really bad coffee. I know medical issues like these happen more times than we might want to think about. After all, we are only human. All on that same piece of fabric that twists and turns under our feet.

If a surgeon is having a fight with his spouse or had a minor accident on the way to work, do they take that energy into the operating room? Do they get as scatter-brained as I do when things knock me off my routine? If I were surgeon, on days like that, I’d lose my scalpel in someone for sure.

I can’t handle thoughts like that right now. I grab a second piece of cake in case the first piece is not enough comfort food. I notice fiancé has grabbed three times his normal amount of food for lunch. Nerves, I tell myself. Maybe, he is closer to the unraveled part of the textile then I think.

Do any of us really know where in reality we are? I don’t have any answers to this either. This cake is really moist; I wonder if they bake it here?

The nurse tells us my daughter came through surgery well. I sigh in relief. My section of the textile is still raveled and I’m pretty sure the surgeon still has his scalpel. Not a bad day overall.

About Debbie Hill,

Wellness Counselor, Author, Photographer, Interested in living a balanced, compassion centered life, travel, spiritual/supernatural issues, history, all things Disney. If that's not eclectic, I don't know what is.

Posted on June 11, 2013, in An American Family Moment, Misc. and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hey, Deb,
    Your post reminded me of my time in the hospital waiting for my dad. We are keeping TC in our prayers. I love your touches of humor in a most difficult and trying time. Great writing and emotion! I’m glad to hear TC is doing better. Keep us updated! 🙂

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