Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Butterflies and Guillotines

In an effort to maintain a perfect record of never allowing a year to lapse without at least one surgery, I went in for a parathyroidectomy last Thursday.  I am recording the incident under an anesthetic fog, but it is true and accurate, nonetheless.

The doctors have been advising me that my parathyroid is “out of whack.”  That’s a medical term indicating impending surgery.  Well, I was not too happy about the thoughts of this procedure.  Anesthesia always makes me loopy.  But apparently, the parathyroid is a winged little thingee near the thyroid, and its removal conjured up images of the surgeon running barefoot in slow motion with a butterfly net through a field of daisies on a summer morning. 

Well, in a burst of irrational optimistic positivity, I thought, why not?  I’d get it done now so we could go on our family vacation to Washington without having it hanging over my head.  In and out.  Slick.

Things went quite well at first.  My anesthesiologist was amiable, and said my veins were quite impressive.  I was sure he was hitting on me.  I was demur. I refrained from bragging, but I’ve always considered them some of my finest assets.  And they’ve never been surgically enhanced.  Modesty kept me from flaunting them.

We chatted for a while, until I noticed the OR begin to rotate.  I became alarmed and asked him if he felt as dizzy as I looked.  He assured me he was.  I told him to cover me-I was goin’ in.  Then I disappeared.

I don’t recall anything after that.  But upon regaining consciousness, I felt a little like Anne Bolyn, the morning after…and rather nauseous.  I requested some anti-hurl…STAT! 

That’s when I first met Nurse Vlad, my post-op care-taker.  She heaved me onto my side with the agility of a sumo wrestler, employing some moves she’d no doubt acquired as the head baton twirler of the Transylvania High School marching band.  I tried to regain my equilibrium.

Suddenly, I heard the clattering of hooves on cobblestone, the swish of an Excaliber blade as it cut through the air, and the fierce cry of a Samarai warrior yelling, “Charge!”  And then she impaled me!

This time I emitted a holler worthy of Wylie Coyote plummeting down a cliff. 

A disembodied voice from outer darkness announced, “I love a skinny butt!”  She put down her syringe, wiped her hands on her armor, mounted her trusty steed, said, “My work here is done,” and strode off into the sunset.

That’s the truth.  At least, that’s how I remember it.  Dennis’ version varies slightly.  But it’s my stupor.  Besides, he was on the OTHER end of that hypo!

I am recovering well, but it will be some time before I let anyone talk me into going to the meadow looking for butterflies.

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