The calendar on the wall, the daily kind where you tear off a sheet each day, said November 12. Even now, six years later, I can’t simply say what day it is, I need to go “JanFebMarAMayJune JAugSeptOctNOV!”, with my lips moving to keep my place, or else I have to start all over again. The day in question is November 12, 2006, the first post-surgery day/date that I can remember. (While I remember little to none of the following events, notes from my journal enable me to share them with you now).
Three distinct things stuck me:
- I have boo-boo tongue!
- How can it be the 12th , I’m pretty sure it is the 2nd.
- If it really is the 12th, why am I still in the hospital?
I wanted to talk, but my tongue hurt! It had a boo-boo. Why doesn’t someone put some medicine on my boo-boo! I felt surrounded by love. I cannot emphasize this enough, there was a visceral knowledge that love and caring were all around me. My head felt heavy, but there didn’t seem to be a bandage. I was relieved to discover that the halo was no longer screwed into my skull-some of my first memory-feelings were hostile ones about how long I was in pre-op waiting to be taken to surgery. (The operating room wasn’t ready, the surgeon himself was walking around screaming at people, and the halo was pulling down around the screws in what seemed to be making my head longer, like something from a scene in The Princess Bride. Your surgeon screaming at people is disconcerting, one look at Rob and I realized he had it worse than I did.)
I was so happy to be living, I wanted to thank everyone for taking care of me! I opened my mouth to speak, and all that came out was ‘boo-boo tongue’. I said this as I held my tongue, so the effect was more like “mahahuu mahhuut-nunb.” I was aware of two separate realities around me, simultaneously I felt disappointed that it was Nov 12 and relieved that it was Nov 12. I figured some healing must have happened that I missed, that is, did not have to endure, and I also figured that some gruesome stuff probably happened to “my earthly tent” that I slept through. Sleep! I wanted to see everyone, thank them for hanging out, and get a nap. Ten days out of it, and I’m thinking nap. After that, pack my bag!
For several days, my here-and-now brain took over and I was relieved of worry. I got a roommate. Company! I observed the worry on her family’s faces, and I was dying to go over to them and say “Look at me! It isn’t so bad! They’ll fix her up in no time!” I beamed all my positive energy directly at her, but she didn’t seem to notice. Maybe when our families left, I would be able to talk to her, I was sure I possessed magical healing powers!
A couple of nights later, night I awoke to find my naked roommate’s face flattened, suspended in space, against an invisible dream wall, and while she had lost her powers of speech (stroke), she clearly communicated with me with frightened bat-like eyes “get me out of here!” A bright light came on, and a S.W.A.T. team of nurses charged the room. They hurriedly peeled my roommate down from the invisible wall. When I awoke the next day, I could see they had brought in a sheet of Plexiglas and fenced her into a clear cage. My dream was not a dream at all. I earnestly need to go home!