the waiting game had begun.
we were told that i would undergo more surgery on tuesday
to remove the external fixator (erector set)
and replace it with permanent internal titanium.
monday morning the flowers started coming in.
bill's came first.
it seemed important to him that the first flowers i received came from him.
and despite the numerous bouquets i received throughout the week
his remained my favorite.
along with the flowers
came the doctors.
well, one in particular.
he blew into my room sometime mid-monday morning
with all the flair and arrogance of a celebrity.
he had with him
his entourage of white coats
frothing at the mouth
and hanging on his every word.
i just did my best to keep up through the haze of the pain medications.
it took me a bit to realize that this was the man who would fix me.
a former university of iowa wrestler
who still sported cauliflower ear
and frizzy, greying hair.
he spoke quickly
and i could see bill leaning in to pick up the words spilling from his mouth
before they hit the floor and were lost under the bed.
for the remainder of this story
he shall hence be known as doctor jack.
not his real name.
doc jack: questions? (turning on his heel...heading for the door...)
me: will i run again?
doc jack: (puzzled...turning) um...yes. i don't see why you wouldn't.
me: how long?
doc jack: you're probably looking at three months recovery (unspoken: "times five.")
me: (digesting this info.) will you use an epidural again?
doc jack: um...the anesthesiologist will be in to discuss that with you.
he really didn't know what to do with my questions.
i decided not to push him further.
my head was swimming and i needed to process.
he didn't know how to handle a gimpy pregnant girl.
i didn't care to stroke his ego.
throughout the course of the day
four more anesthesiologists were in
each with a different idea of how they would handle the surgery.
i clung to what the first anesthesiologist had told me upon my arrival at the U -
anything but an epidural would be a risk to charlie.
by the time the fifth
anesthesiologist came in
the mama bear in me was ready.
me: i want an epidural.
doc cocky: well, the surgery is extensive and i'm not sure that's best.
me: best for who?
doc cocky: (confused.) for you.
me: i don't want what's best for me. i want what's best for my baby. for charlie. i want the epidural.
doc cocky: well, we can bring my supervisory doctor in to discuss it with you...
me: fine. do that.
doc cocky: (blank.)
me: listen...i know you're just trying to do your job and you know better than me, but you're the fifth person in here today with another story about how i'm going to be tended to and quite frankly, i'm going to stick with what was originally given to me. i want the epidural. i want what's best for this baby.
he walked out without saying anything.
i laid down knowing i'd been heard.
we watched in awe as the ortho doctors maneuvered my leg by lifting it up by the bars held on with screws dug deep into the tissue.
there was pain
but it was deeply rooted
the nerve damage was extensive
and the bar trick was when the doctors would come in
run fingers over my feet
and not get a response from me.
i had no topical feeling in my right leg from the knee down.
[for the record: i still don't...at least not in the front half of the bottom half of my leg.]
i was thirsty all the time.
and i drank excessive amounts of water the day before my surgery
knowing that i wouldn't get to drink anything after midnight.
by 3 a.m. i was begging for ice chips.
bill fetched me pink sponges as frequently as the nurses would allow.
i would be prepped for surgery in an hour.
i was parched.
i was in pain.
i just wanted that epidural.
doctor jack blows into my room.
something has come up.
the surgery has been postponed.
he doesn't want to feel rushed.
we'll do it first thing next day.
as he blows back out of my room
i look to bill.
me: i need water.
he was already there with the pitcher.