I was very groggy. I was aware that the surgery was over. I should have been feeling sadness and grief or maybe even relief, but instead felt shy and embarrassed. As I walked the hall, I would pass him and look away. I was definitely not fully awake and my mind seemed to be swimming through muck. But even through the muck, I was picking up a recent memory of myself saying something and his verbal response. I remembered thinking how unusual it was to feel embarrassed and shy. I’ve not felt that a lot in life. In fact, I most often would engage so boldly with others that they might feel embarrassed.
As my mind cleared a little more, I came to realize that my embarrassment was due to my not planning the words that I said, not so much that I had said them. I can imagine that even lucid, I might have uttered those words with just the right lightness and emphasis that did not make me seem like a crazy woman. Of course, if I had been thinking even clearer, I might have thought that I should feel embarrassed that I had been fully exposed like the African natives that used to be pictured in National Geographic. Worse yet, that because I was lying on my back, my ladies were actually located under my armpits rather than on top of my chest where they belonged. I know that they had been exposed because the telltale yellowish-orange-red of the Betadine antiseptic used before invasive medical procedures was all over the girls.
Still not totally sure what actually happened and being very intrigued, I walked and walked the hall in an attempt to help clear the mud out of my mind. It seemed to me that he was avoiding me, but if what I was thinking happened, I can’t say I blame him. I don’t even know how I knew it was him that I had spoke to, but my gut told me it was. It had to be. He was my favorite. He was the one I had the most contact with in the last year and a half. He was the one who gave me the good news after my endoscopy when I was so nervous and unable to read the report that was written in Spanish. He was also the one who gave me a hug when I cried with relief. He was the one to whom I brought my new endoscopy reports and who discussed options with me. He was the one who still gave me hope that this failure doesn’t mean total failure.
Finally, I was clear headed enough to know how to break the ice and not feel embarrassed any longer. I was sitting at the computer lucid enough to catch up on Facebook when he came near the nurse’s desk. Still not looking directly at him, I asked, “Who did I say ‘I love you’ to?” He smiled and winked and said, “Not me” and we both laughed. I stated that I was feeling a little embarrassed and he told me not to worry since “What happens in Tijuana stays in Tijuana”. I replied, “Not this time, because it’s already posted on Facebook.”
Thank you Dr. So for being so caring, understanding and helpful. Although I went to get the band removed feeling like my final chance was a failure, you gave me hope that once I am totally well again, I still have options. Because of this, even lucid, I still love you…and this time, your patient does not need to be reassured, so you don’t have to feel the need to say it back!!! I’m not sure how you replied without immediately laughing out loud!