My friend Renee is a brilliant physician. She’s the obstetrician-gynecologist who helped my wife, Erica, through a difficult pregnancy, followed by a really difficult pregnancy a few years later. As a doctor, Renee is meticulous, certain and caring. Her demeanor is calm and steady, which puts her patients – and their husbands – at ease. As a friend she’s incredibly thoughtful and interesting. Looks good in scrubs too (no offense to her husband).
So I can’t understand why she tried to do a C-section on me the other night.
They wheel me into the OR for my gastric bypass. I’m doped on the delicious meds they give you, my mind swaying to the Grateful Dead that no one else can hear. They slide me onto the table and suddenly Renee’s masked face drifts into view. She’s holding a scalpel. “Try to relax,” she says. “We’ll get the baby right out.” I freak.
The rest is fuzzy. I’m saved by my internist, Michele – yeah, kind of a friend too – who suggests I might not actually be pregnant. Good doctor, that Michele. I wake up with a start and knock the CPAP machine off my nightstand.
I think this is what they call an anxiety dream.
My first appointments at the weight loss surgery clinic are a little less than two weeks away. I haven’t met the surgeon yet, although he was hand-picked by my wife (also a doc – what’s with all these women doctors in my life?). I’m not normally a nervous guy. I’m pretty good in a crisis, in fact. I’m usually the one that keeps it together and helps everyone else through. I know bariatric surgery is the right thing to do. I’m certain of it, and I feel good about my decision. I’m not too worried, at least not yet, about the required lifestyle changes. I’m excited about slimming down.
It’s hospitals and surgery that scare the bejeezus out of me.
I don’t like people touching me. I don’t like people telling me what to do. I don’t like hospital gowns. I don’t like those stupid hospital name bracelets. I hate the nurses, with their nurse-like attitudes. I don’t like knives that slice me open like a baked potato. I don’t like anesthesia, and I don’t like depending on some anesthesiologist, who prefers his patients stay asleep, to wake me back up right. I don’t like catheters, IVs or phlebotomists (except Remy). I hate those annoying tray-tables that slide over the bed. There’s no TiVo, no WiFi, no MacBook. My iPhone will get lousy reception in the hospital. I don’t like being stuck in bed and I hate the idea of being forced out of bed right after surgery because it’ll hurt. I hate hospital-acquired infections that require more hospitalization. I’ll miss my wife, my kids, my dog and my bed.
Yeah, probably was an anxiety dream.