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Surgery and the Lie That is Primetime Television

Let me start off by saying hospital drama shows are one ginormous lie. There is no good looking, charming anesthesiologist. He’s actually a jerk. And he doesn’t look anything like McDreamy. You don’t have a heart to heart with your resident doctor and swap relationship advice. Real hospitals are ugly. And gross.

I recently went under the knife for a minor nose surgery. Problems with migraines and breathing, and a 0.001% chance of smelling again were reason enough for me to reluctantly agree to slice my face open and stick ginormous sticks up my nose for seven days.

I have a very real fear of losing my limbs so the day of the surgery came and I jokingly told Patrick I was going to write “NO” in Sharpie on all my limbs incase I got wheeled into the wrong operating room.

When they took me back to pre-op and left Patrick in the waiting area, I had nothing but time to sit and think – in a very exposed gown in a very non-private curtain drawn cubicle, I might add. And my irrational fear got the best of me and I stared down at my legs – my hideous pale legs that I always complain about – and I loved them. They looked perfectly tan and fit and beautiful. They’re not. But in this moment I was freaking out and I was suddenly very attached to the stubby legs because I was afraid they were going to accidentally cut them off in surgery.


My heart began to race. I kept reminding myself that this doctor performs this surgery several times a week and it was fortunately one of the simplest ones to endure. And yet I was hopelessly drowning in irrational fear.

The nurse came in and took approximately 7 days to find a vein to insert the IV. It took so long, in fact, that the band she put around my arm to stop blood flow was cutting off circulation and my hand was now purple. They’ll probably cut that off just for fun, I thought. She left. She returned. She left. And suddenly my hand felt very cold and wet. I looked down to see that my IV fluids were leaking all over my hand. There goes the anesthesia. 

She returned again and fixed my IV. “I’m not going to lie to you. The first few days will be absolutely terrible.”

Oh good. Thanks so much for the pep talk. 

She handed me the remote and I thought this would help distract me. Patrick soon joined me and we found Kathy Lee and Hoda. Nope – this is not distracting. They’re just as annoying and stressful as they are when I watch them at home.

It was only moments more before they wheeled me into the operating room and I was out shortly after.

I awoke to the sound of a nurse yelling my name telling me it was time to wake up. “We can’t bring Patrick back until you wake up.” I don’t care. Let me sleep. 

Patrick made his way back to the room, and I later found out he waited an extra hour for me to wake up. They gave him a chair and he stared at me while I tried to keep myself awake  and form whole sentences.

I kept whispering, telling him to go find me a wheelchair so we could get the heck out of there. A nurse yelled “No!” from the other side of the curtain. And let me tell you. The honeymoon is over when your husband helps you use a bed pan. There’s no turning back.

Before I knew it, they were shipping me out the door and I silently cried the whole way there, party because I was reliving pre-op but mostly because I was grateful to leave with all ten fingers and all ten toes. Thank the good Lord this was my first surgery because I’m 27 years old and it was enough crazy for one day.


Ashley Cooper

I strive to find joy in each ordinary day.

  • Terri Smith

    When your nose is better, please write some more!

    July 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm Reply

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