Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breathe Deeply

The anesthesiologist overslept! That's what they insisted on telling me over and over as they tried to convince me to 'go down'. I had already told them, "I'm not going down there until I'm given something to calm my fear." They didn't hear me. The anesthesiologist overslept. I needed to cooperate to make life flow for her. She was backed up, she had overslept.

Finally, fed up with me, they clicked their tongues, called the surgeon, stamped their feet and gave me a pill. Twenty minutes later I let them take me 'down there'.

"What's the matter with you? Haven't you ever had surgery before?" the over slept anesthesiologist groused.

"I've had 32 operations and I .......................................... plop! she had ungraciously put a black mask on my face.

"Breath deeply," she said.

"I'll show her, I wont breath at all", I thought.

"I said, breath deeply", she repeated

"Oh my God, Oh my God, I'm gonna have to take a breath, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww .............................................. and welcome to Surgerical Procedure Number 33!

What had brought me to Procedure Number 33 was my uncanny ability to fall down. This unusual gift I had been given, to be able to splat my fanny down at the most inopportune moment, had eventually worked one of the disc's in my neck out of its normal resting place. It was now resting on my spinal cord. It had to come out or I was in jeopardy of becoming a quadraplegic. Serious business, and still I tried not to breath.

I have met some of the most interesting people while they are bent over me going "ooh and aah" after I have taken a tumble. I don't know exactly why I had this great capacity to awkwardly display myself, but I suspicion that it was because the foot with the funny little limp would drag once in a while and the drag just drug me down. Interesting concept; meeting people while splayed all over the concrete, dance floor, carpet, or odd store here and there.

When I was pregnant, I was walking in an outdoor shopping area and I went down like a felled whale. I laid there staring up into the sky with a belly so swollen that I couldn't bend at the waist to get myself into a sitting position. I was seriously considering just staying there until the baby was born when suddenly the sky was full of unknown faces. Four of the most concerned Oriental men that I had ever seen were bending over me. They were speaking a language that I didn't understand, but it was obvious that they were discussing the probability of their chances of hauling me to my feet without calling for a crane. Although the shock of falling hadn't worn off yet it struck me as funny that these kind men were volunteering to help me. I looked up at them and smiled. They looked down at me and scowled. I was a 5'8" woman with a 10 lb baby inside me. I was taller and a hell of a lot wider then all of them. It was apparent that mere mortals weren't up to this task. This was going to have to be a job for Superman. Since Superman wasn't available they called their wives. Four Oriental gentlemen and four Oriental ladies divided me into pieces, grabbed hold of their pieces, tugged, grunted and with great community effort got me back on my feet. I have never been so ceremoniously picked up in my life. I thanked them between my embarrassed giggles and although I didn't understand a word they said I'm cerain they thanked me too. Where else, except in America, would they have gotten a chance to put a blonde whale back on her feet.

I fell at work often enough so that people became a little blase about my performances; except the time that I fell at the hot food truck. Everyone was congregated around the truck. It was a fairly large crowd. When large crowds started to move I always wanted to be certain that I was going to be able to move out of the way before they moved over me. Good idea, but this time I had forgotten my 'large crowd rule' and gotten right in the middle; I was hungry. As the group started moving I stayed where I was and natually I went topsy over tursy all over the street. I worked with a group of retired Air Force honcho's. They were military lifers so naturally they brought their military philosophy about 'how life should be led' to the unmilitary atmosphere they now found themselves inhabiting. They looked down at the wreck on the ground and instantly surrounded me. A military stance, one man under each arm and boom I was on my feet. Then one of them boomed, "Call the ambulance." The company ambulance arrived, scooped me up, dumped me in the back, turned on their siren and drove me to the company nurse. Now the company nurse was a lonely woman. What she spent most of her time doing was dispensing aspirin and telling people to go back to work. When she got a look at me she got so excited. An actual patient; a patient with blood running down her legs. She was so happy that she hummed while she tended to me. She washed the blood off my scraped knees, put some antiseptic on the wounds and began wrapping the gauze all the time telling me to 'breath deeply' if I felt faint. She wrapped gauze from my thigh to my ankle, on both legs! And then she told me to walk back to work. I had two of the most mortally wounded looking legs that you have ever seen and I had to WALK all the way back to work. When I walked back into the building where I worked all the retired lifers came out to console me. "Go home, go home, look at you," I heard with every step I took. I knew how I looked. The strap on my shoe had gotten broken in the fall so it flapped with every step, my nylons were ripped, slashed, tattered and destroyed, I had gauze wrapped so tightly around both my legs that I looked like a mummy with the job only half completed, and I was tired and sweaty from the long walk back from the nurse's office. I went to my desk, sat down, replaced the gauze with a band aid on each knee and went back to work. I worked the rest of the day with that shoe flapping and the nylons tattered, but my pride was intact. The next morning the retired lifers had put a dozen red roses on my desk. Underneath all that military bearing they were a sweet bunch of men.

Later in my career I went into the area where we had to have passes and passes and more passes to get into different parts of the building. There were strategically placed cameras so that security could watch your comings and goings. You had to have the secret code to get into certain halls and offices and every office had a shut, locked door. One afternoon I was walking down the long empty hall carrying an armful of documents. There wasn't another human being in sight, so naturally I fell. Documents scattered all over the place. The fall had totally taken me by surprise so I was still in a state of shock when I dragged myself over to lean my back against the wall. I had my head in my hands trying to recover before I yelled for help, when all of a sudden the secret code door opened. I spread my fingers and took a peek. I saw a pair of brown slacks with brown wing tip shoes protruding from them. I waited to be asked if I needed any help, but the shoes stepped around all of the scattered papers, over my legs and kept walking. When I lowered my hands I caught a glimpse of a man turning into a connecting hall and it suddenly seemed so ridiculous that I sat there even more stunned than I had been from the fall and laughed like an insane woman. Did he think I was splayed out to tempt him or was he just a rude man that didn't want to wrinkle his brown slacks. I'll never know. I described those two legs to all of my co-workers and we tried to find the wing tips for years. Wherever they walked they never again walked down that hall.

Now I'm in a wheelchair, so there wont be much of a need to worry about another disc in my neck slipping; although not so long ago I reached too far and fell off that too. Getting up again? It took two men and when they were through and had me safely in my wheelchair again they both looked like they needed to be told "relax and breathe deeply".

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