I was in the pre-op room sweating from every armpit in my body. I had to pee again, but I just peed… but I had to go again. Is that okay? It’s goddam shoulder surgery time, Greg. Keep focused.
“Can I pee? Is it too late?”
The nurse looked at me like… ummm… I guuueesssss so. She was nice but through my lens she was faking it.
So I sat up, IV sticking outa my arm, dick wing-wangling under the hospital gown, and nervous-wreck-walked my way to the bathroom.
I came back and layed back down on the elevated rolly bed.
A woman with massive breasts came in. She’s the surgeon. She looked much less breasty during our consultation a month ago.
Don’t look at her tits.
Don’t look at her tits.
My fiance snaps to get my attention. She’s there too.
“Gregory. Are you listening?”
The surgeon says words but all I see are her tits, her confidence, my fiance, and the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist is a tall Asian man with a comforting smile.
“Here’s the good stuff.”
And he pulls out a tube of liquid from his shirt-scrubs pocket. Then walks away.
Doctors shuffle in and out but I can’t focus on any of the words coming from any of the mouths.
Some blonde white kid who looks fresh outa med school comes in. He looks flustered. That’s not reassuring. He fits me for a sling.
“Just want you to know what this is when you wake up and your arm is in it.”
It’s a sling, I think to myself.
“Here’s how it works…”
He goes over the sling. I know about slings.
Everybody leaves. Do I have to pee again?
“Babe what if I pee during surgery?” I ask my fiance.
“You won’t,” she says firmly.
That made me feel better somehow. I always gotta pee when I’m worried. I’m always worried but people think I’m chill.
The blond med student says, “okay they’re ready for you. I’m just gonna shave–which shoulder is the surgery for?”
Oh god. He doesn’t even know.
A voice comes:
“You know, I don’t have any tattoos, but I drive a motorcycle,” the tall anesthesiologist says from outa nowhere, referencing my tattoos. “Here it is. The good stuff.” And he flashes his tube of liquid again.
They wheel me away.
Voices from the pre-op room fade.
I get into the O.R.
The morphine or whatever they gave me kicks in. I accept life.
“This is Andre,” some person wheeling me in says.
“Heeyyyyaaa theree Andreeeee.”
But Andre truly doesn’t give a fuck. I still remember that.
“Tell them what you told us,” one of the operating room people says to me. The words fumble outa my mouth:
“Ohhhh… well ah BroKEE thje GUinhnness WrloD recCOrd fer LonNGest RoaddtrIP nnn…”
Then I wake up.
Arm in sling.
How’d this get here?
I’m in some room. There’s a slightly hot Asian nurse. Maybe she’s Hispanic. Who cares. “Is it over?”
“It’s all over.”
And that’s the story of my shoulder surgery.
Now here’s a tale about how I nearly died in the Grand Canyon.