The alarm rings, I shoot out of bed and jump into what will be my last shower for a few days. As I am rinsing off my tangerine body wash soap I hear Andrew go to the kitchen and attempt to discreetly feed himself. From the shower, I can hear the banana being peeled – it’s amazing how hunger can heighten your senses.
I am dressed in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I even wore underwear. Andrew grins at me to boost my spirits and I can smell the toothpaste covering up the smell of eggs. We get into my car and start heading to the hill.
I am checking in at the kiosk. It is the first time I am being asked for my name, social, date of birth. Andrew looks on from the side as I use the touch screen and asks me how many bags I will be checking. I finish with the kiosk and turn to sit when I hear, “Mr. Cassanova, stay here a minute.” It is the first time my name is being butchered. “It’s Ms.” I say, in the huskiest voice I can muster. The woman behind the counter makes eye contact with my breasts and then my eyes. It is the first time I hear “Sorry, we get a lot of men here. Not many women.” She hands me a sheet of paper to fill out about my ride home. I fill out Andrew’s name and address. In contact I write “approach with caution, do not feed.” Then Andrew fills his phone number in because I have no idea what it is – that’s what cell phones are for.
A nurse comes into the waiting room and calls the two men waiting there and then calls for Candace Godzilla. She looks at me as if daring me not to be Candace. “Do you mean Hadas Cassorla?” “Yes, that is what I said.”
The nurse separates Andrew from me and puts him in a waiting room. “We’ll come and get you as soon as Candace is settled in.” Andrew looks nervous, he doesn’t like meeting new people. I point to myself and mouth, “She means me.” Andrew looks mollified and goes to sit.
I am given a plastic bag and a cloth schmatta. “Take your clothes off and put them in the bag, and put this on.” “All my clothes? Because I wore underwear today just for this special occasion.” Nod. “OK.” She closes the curtain and I change.
“Hi, I am Jill Anursehere.” “Anursehere? What a convenient last name for working in a hospital.” And, it begins. She asks me my name, my social and my date of birth. I pass that test and she slaps a band on my wrist. Then she asks me what procedure they are performing on me. I feel like she should know the answers to this and that I should be asking her. “ACL reconstruction and miniscal repair on my left knee.” ”When did you last eat?” “10:30 PM.” “Do you have any jewelry or make-up or piercings?” “No.” “Do you have anything in your mouth that is removable?” “All the parts in my mouth are removable, but I would like to keep them in, please.” At this, Jill laughed and we suddenly became best friends. She popped a needle in my arm and got Andrew while I went to give a sample.
Andrew is sitting in a chair next to my bed. I go and lay in the bed. He takes a picture of me and starts posting it to Facebook. This is perfectly fine by me as long as he doesn’t pre-blog me. Which is what I tell him. At this point there was a lot of waiting around. Andrew is an introvert. Small talk is not his speciality. I lay there reading The Boy in Striped Pajamas, Andrew was reading the internet. I decided I wanted a story. So, Andrew started telling me the story of Polly the Nazi Sympathizing Pullet. I was not yet on opiates. I cannot say the same for Andrew. At the end of the story Andrew clammed up, as he is wont to do. When it comes to having company at the hospital Kelley McAllister is going to be my new boyfriend.
Suddenly there is a lot of buzzing around me and I am surrounded by a gaggle of nurses. “Oh! It’s true! There is a pretty young woman here! We don’t get many of those.” I felt like I might end up in a cauldron. The anesthesiologist came by and I attempted to explain to her that I didn’t want a lot of anesthetic. Which was precisely when my surgeon came by. “Put her under but good. She’ll even tell you she’s a control freak.” “Hey! I will tell her. I am a control freak.” It’s true. I am. The surgeon signed my knee to make sure he was going to open up the right one.
Shortly thereafter, I was wheeled into surgery. As they were putting the tabs on me to monitor my heart rate the nurse called me sir. “Sorry we get a lot of men here.” And that is the last thing I remember until waking up.
There is a man at the foot of my recovery bed. He is saying things to me about healing and what to expect. I have no idea what words are coming out of his mouth. “Is Andrew around? I have no idea what you are saying.” ”Someone is getting him. Don’t move your head it will make you nauseous.” “That’s ridicu- oooh I am nauseous.” The man at the foot of my bed put an alcohol pad in my nose. My nausea went away. Who knew? I kept going in and out of consciousness trying to convince them and myself that I was ready to go home.
I am making up the times now. I have no idea when things happened. But eventually I got my clothes back on and got in a wheel chair to go home. I was inhaling alcohol pads like they were cocaine and I was Lindsey Lohan. We got to the ground floor and Andrew went and grabbed the car. I struggled but managed my way into it. There was not enough alcohol pads in the world to prevent that wave of nausea. Luckily the car door was still open.
Andrew got me home and while I craved the idea of bacon, the reality was my throat hurt from having tubes in it and I was really nauseous. So, I settled for water, sugar free popsicles, and oxycodone. Andrew and I watched the Blazers game. I heckled Felton. The hospital gave me an ice machine that circulates ice water around my knee. It makes me feel a bit like I am a slushee – but it is heavenly.