Sunday, November 24, 2013

eight signs your ent surgeon is a sadist

8 - The last thing you hear before blacking out goes something like, "huh, looks like she's having an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.  oh well."

7 - You're not allowed to blow your nose, sneeze, pick your nose (maybe, see #6), or let it drain down the back of your throat, but here's a handy bottle of saline you can spray into the wound every hour to keep it fresh. Just because we care.

6 - After specific vehement verbal pre-op instructions to pick my boogers like a stealth ninja, every post op sheet specifically warned agains the serious perils of picking your nose. The phone nurse then evades all booger-related questions like a highly skilled lawyer.

5 - Whatever pain meds they give you are specifically designed to both dehydrate you and cause you to hallucinate about drinking the water 2 inches from your mouth so you won't actually get any relief.

4 - Your son (most likely prompted by a phone call from your doctor) announces every bowel movement and trip the bathroom like he's trying to make you jealous.  Then he sings and tells himself stories really loudly while in the bathroom so you'll make sure to know what a joyful occasion it is.

3 - The stint in your nose feels suspiciously like someone shoved their leftover chopsticks up your nose after taking a lunch break in your OR.

2 - After your best efforts to convince the nurse on the other end of the phone that you're dying, her genius solution is that you come pick up a new prescription downtown in rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon when you're in so much pain you can't even sit up.

1 - You wake up from a drug induced nap, brush your nose very slightly by accident, and erupt in a string of curse words, most of which feature your surgeon's name.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

big, big hands

There's something about going in for surgery that makes you feel incomparably tiny.

I remember being quietly terrified for my second c-section.   For my first c-section I was completely knocked out so quickly and unexpectedly that I hardly even knew what was happening.  All I remember was lots of drugs, a doctor's head doing things heads aren't supposed to do (hopefully because of the drugs), and some anesthesia intern clamping my airway shut (I still have nightmares about him).  But I had months to anticipate the second one, and I felt like the bad kid being sent to time out when they took me into a room to give me the spinal block.  I was pretty sure the command to "hug a pillow" was going to be followed by a firing squad to the head.  Sometimes parenting makes me wish it had been.

Tomorrow I go in for sinus surgery, or as my students and I like to call it, "Nose Job November."  I'm hoping for some relief from these crazy long sinus infections I get because my severe dust allergies and tiny sinus passageways have been secretly conspiring to bring about my demise these past ten years.  But I kind of want to fake a fever in the morning.  Or maybe cut off a toe.

Too bad they give you so much time to think about these decisions, because right now I'm pretty well convinced that some med school dropout with a fake diploma is going to miss my sinus cavities and suck out my brain instead.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  Actually, I'm probably going to be fine because I suspect my death will be infinitely more absurd, like tripping over a student's backpack and accidentally impaling myself on a meter stick.  If I were writing a script of my life, that's how it would end because occasionally my life comes dangerously close to resembling that old Alanis Morisette song, "Isn't it Ironic."

Sometimes I read the Bible.  I say sometimes because other times I open it and the words bounce off my eyeballs as if they were one way mirrors, determined to let nothing pass through to my interminably slow brain.  Then comes Deuteronomy 8. Of all the obscure passages to make it past my crazy old eyeballs, this one is pretty far up there.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Their feet did not swell.  Of all the random blessings to point out to the Israelites, God picks this one.  Talk about a God of details.  Although, I think after 40 years of wandering in the desert, not having swollen feet might be more than a minor detail.  Think about all those pregnant women whose feet didn't swell.  Wow.  I'm jealous already.

There is something about being led that is very humbling.  There is something about being fed without earning your bread that makes you feel very small.  In our culture we don't have much experience with being made to feel small.  I avoid feeling little.  I'd rather cut off my toe or pretend I'm sick.  Seriously.

I also feel a little lame because I live in America where we have surgery to correct our sinus problems and other people in the world can't even get a Tylenol for a headache.  Seriously, shouldn't I just suck it up and shut up and be thankful?  But God has a way of making everyone feel small, whether it's sickness or surgery or leadership positions we can't quite seem to master or bills we can't pay or…..  Yes, we have a very creative God who finds ways to make us feel tiny that we never thought existed.  But his promise of provision, even in the details of swollen feet and dirty clothing, reminds me of his tenderness.  He makes me walk through some crazy wilderness, but every once in a while I get tiny enough to see his hand in the details.

So tomorrow morning (actually, now it's later this morning) I'm going to try to embrace my tiny-ness and rejoice that there are big, big hands leading me.