Friday, October 10, 2008

The Long and the Short of a Miracle

I was scheduled for some surgery this afternoon. I wasn't supposed to drive afterwards so a friend took me to the hospital and picked me up. I had to be there at noon, though my turn in the OR wasn't booked until 2:00.

No food after midnight, so I was bit hungry by noon. I checked in and was told to strip and put on a wrap-around gown, a kimono-style robe and some weird paper booties that were twice as long as they needed to be. The gown and robe were ginormous and hung over the tops of my feet. I felt like Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The waiting room was full of people like me, gowned and robed and waiting. Directly across from me sat a man in his 60s. He had NO written in marker on his right knee. His gown barely covered the essentials. It was so short he kept tugging at it while looking furtively around, as if feeling guilty for exposing so much white thigh.

There was a guy with a huge grizzled beard and long hair who was peeping around the corner at me almost every time I looked up from my magazine. I don't know why but I seem to attract the attention of old hippies of the infrequently washed variety. Maybe it's my cat-clipper "do" and comfy shoes. They take one look and think, "Now there's a low-maintainence gal!" (They'd change their minds if they saw how much I eat.)

Anyway, here I am in the Day Surgery Waiting Room, with about 10 other apprehensive souls, shuffling through antique magazines. No one has a watch. Watches are contraband in surgical waiting rooms. What feels like an hour ticks by. One woman is called, and then the nurse calls my name. I start to gather my belongings and she waves me back into the chair.

"There's been an emergency. You've been pushed back to 3:00."

The room visibly exhales. I pick up my magazine and go back to looking at an article which assures me that I can stay young and beautiful well into my 30's. (That train left me at the station about 30 years ago.)

Why are there never any clocks in waiting rooms? Do they think the "waiters" would riot, seeing that time moves only at half-speed? I turn the pages of my magazine half-heartedly, one at a time, examining every page. The models all have long springy hair like burnished polyester rope, unnaturally white smiles, perkier than possible breasts and tight, taut, little bums. Their legs start just beneath the ribcage and go alllll the way to the ground. They are airbrushed and photoshopped, molded like so much hot plastic.

Now here are some really good articles which promise I can lose 10 pounds by the weekend, or look like a supermodel by flattening that tummy. Nothing said about the 50 extra pounds that has crept up on me with the stealth of a hungry cat, or what I should have done when I quit growing a full 14 inches short of "supermodel" height. It's enough to make a short, fat lady wear comfy shoes and cut her hair with the cat's clippers. And not give a flying flip if anyone likes it or not.

Hairy Man peeps around the corner and smiles. I duck my head and find myself reading about the juice of the miraculous purple Brazilian foo-foo ($135.50 for a 30 day supply.) If I had a pencil I could write down the address and order some. Hey! It promises a miracle, okay? If I could grow eight inches it would not only be a miracle but I'd only be 25 pounds overweight!

As I am trying to memorize the address to write for the Miraculous Brazilian Foo-Foo the nurse sticks her head in the door and calls my name again, "You're cancelled," she says. "Someone will call to rebook you."

Everyone looks at me with narrowed eyes. Are they envious, as they sit there waiting the slice of scalpel? I have been reprieved. Temporarily. Modern medicine is wonderful.


Anonymous said...

Better results next time.
It would seem 2 pounds have found their way into my mass. Overnight...must be one of those miracles?

Deb said...


I'm going back to get that address! Just reading about Miraculous Brazilian Foo-Foo juice made two pounds leap off me and land on you! I'm gonna go weigh myself just for the thrill of it! (JUmps on scale)

So much for that theory. I seem to have found two pounds overnight as well. Oh well, what are friends for if not to share one's misery with?

Susan said...

Very funny, great writing!I could really visualize the whole thing. Maybe coz Ive been there too. For an xray -not surgery. But no dignity afforded as you sit and wait in those stupid gowns. sO DEMEANING.