THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
Today I had a surgical procedure I was terrified of.
- •I don't do well with anything remotely hospital related.I know no one is a big fan of hospitals, but I hate them.
- •For two months I've been putting off this procedure.I am just happier not knowing than going through anything involving hospitals and especially anaesthesia.
- •Yeah, I do terribly under anaesthesia.Waking up I usually wish I hadn't.
- •I thought about five times this week about excuses for cancelling.Including: I am so anxious that I made myself physically ill and am probably too sick for any procedure.
- •I ended up going.I was really okay until my mother left.
- •As I sat in the waiting room I started to not just panic, but cry.Again I thought about how I could opt out.
- •I was moved to another waiting room and a nurse spotted me crying.I'd hid it earlier but I guess she saw me through the gap in the curtains.
- •She asked me if I was okay.I told her I was just anxious, and she asked me why. I told her. She comforted me and explained that the anaesthesia was actually a sedative and that it wouldn't be the same as before.
- •She asked if I wanted her to call my emergency contact in.My mother already left so I said no, and she offered me a hug and asked if I'd let her be my surrogate mum while I was in her care.
- •She gave me a big hug. The kind only mothers can.
- •The anaesthesiologist was wonderful and reassured me just as much as the nurse had.Minus the hugs, but still. She told me about her training in her home country and the indignity of having to do it all again here. It reminded me to keep asking my nurses and doctors questions that day, how it distracted me from my own anxiety and pain.
- •As I was wheeled into surgery, the nurse caught my gaze and waved.She said she'd see me soon.
- •Pretty soon, my panic kicked in again. I was weighing up whether it was too late to call it in when they started the IV.
- •Of course, I woke up feeling fine.Really fine. Better than fine. My ward neighbours were fine, too, one had been doing the Nae Nae dance before I came to? 🤔
- •And my nurse was there.I asked her a half a dozen times her name so I could write a letter to the hospital about her. It must have been obnoxious, but she never let it show.
- •Nurses get a bad reputation.It's hard to have a good reputation when the people who "review" you are at their most vulnerable, their worst.
- •They shouldn't. They don't just save lives, they make them more comfortable, more calm.This one was the first to talk me out of a panic attack. I can't even do that to myself.
- •I'm so thankful for the kindness of (relative) strangers.And that I got this nurse's name, whether or not she remembers mine out of her multitude of patients each day.