I know y'all are dying to hear...so
I SURVIVED! YES, I SURVIVED. AS LONG AS I KNOW HOW TO LOVE I KNOW I'LL STAY ALIVE!
(this is a sing along...)
Surgery day- 12:01 am
I went to bed last night at 9 pm and decided to practice this “sleeping on my back in an upright position” thing I’m supposed to do. Guess what? It doesn’t work. Shit, shit, and double shit. Pardon my french, because I’m still goll durned awake. The only thing that matters now is that I am Dr. Arguello’s masterpiece, so I have to follow all of my directions if I am to have a good result. The hell with conservative. I came all this way to look beautiful again, so I’m going to tell the doctor to go all out.
My surgery was supposed to begin at 11 am, and I was told to be at the clinic at 9 am to fill out papers, get IV going and so on. I had the cutest little nurse named Carla, a twenty nine year old who reminded me of Shirley on “Laverne and Shirley”. She was so sweet and soon we were teaching each other english and spanish. Surgery in a small Costa Rican clinc is an interesting experience. The only way to sum it up is that the whole process becomes much more of an intimate experience. You feel like a part of the process rather than some meek little experiment who will ride the gurney through the stainless steel double doors with the port windows, into the high tech superspace unknown. Dr. Arguello was in the operating room which was just a few steps down the hall, doing a tummy tuck and boob job on another patient, which he did not finish on time, so he didn’t get me started until 3pm, so Carla and I amused ourselves by chatting about boys and doing a lot of giggling. A couple of times we slinked down the hall and poked our heads in the window to watch the surgery proceedings, like a couple of kids that had snuck into the circus. When the lady ahead of me was done they just wheeled her out and parked her next to my bed, about two feet away. She was moaning and asking for pain meds, and the nurse replied something I didn’t understand, and put something in her IV, and then attached some small blue bag to the IV. I didn’t know what that was for but I was sure to find out. The fact that I was able to witness all of this was so different than hospitals I am used to, where we are cortisoned off for privacy. I asked Carla if Dr. Arguello wanted to rest before doing my surgery. She said,” Dr Arguello will eat something, and then he will be ready for you. There is nothing Dr Arguello likes more than to be doing surgery.”
A few words about Dr Arguello. He is a commanding 6’7” with piercing blue eyes and a tanned physique, who looks kind of like John F. Kennedy. He doesn’t just enter a room, he strides into it and takes ownership of it, at the same time being sweet and charming and down to earth. The captain of the Starship Enterprise. On the previous day when I had consulted with him about my desires, I told him I didn’t like the feeling of something tight around my neck, so I asked him to not tighten it up all the way..I didn’t want to get claustrophobic. I thought I would feel constricted. He showed me a picture of a woman he had done lately, and it was a very nice job. Come to find out the man had done his own mother. Can you imagine? His own mother..And he was so proud of that, and she did look beautiful. In any case, when Carla picked up my IV bag and we set off down that short hallway (which suddenly became the long hallway in “Dead Man Walking”) I had decided to tell Dr. Arguello just to do his darndest, as long as I looked natural- and he could do his “signature” neck which he is also proud of. I hopped my naked little butt up on to the operating table, laid down and that is the last thing I remembered until:
This is a lesson in what can happen when you take drugs. LOL
Things are fuzzy, grey things, things spinning round, movement. Muffled noise. Can’t quite make it out. Something touches me on the shoulder.
“Epona?”, a muffled voice calls my name . “Epona, time to wake up.”
I opened my eyes but I couldn’t see anything. My eyes were stinging and they were covered with something. I took a quick inventory. Not much pain- no pain in my head except for the eyes. The arm with the IV in it was hurting some. But my legs? Horrors! They were in these air squeezing devices that were kind of painful. They would squeeze and relax and squeeze again. The left leg was tolerable but the right was just excruciating. In my drug crazed mind I was concerned I would lose my leg to gangrene, all sorts of horrible thoughts. I whispered weakly for Carla, but Carla had gone home, and there were only two people there. I will call them Manu the Ice Ball Breaker and Frau Farbissina (you’ll have to google it). Neither of them could speak much English. Now you will have to know that there is nothing worse than coming to consciousness in a foreign land surrounded by hostile forces. Suddenly I knew I was there to pay for the sins of my countrymen. I whispered in my horse little voice, “Please take this off, my leg hurts”! “No” said the Frau, in a harsh tone, chiding me. “You need to have these on”. Manu the Ice Ball Breaker was grumbling in a way that I knew he was unhappy with me. I was a complainer. Complainers have to be dealt with. Suddenly I found myself being picked up and strapped on to this board. “Why? Why? What have I done? I’m sorry, I’ll stop complaining about the medieval devices on my legs” but there was no one to listen and no one who spoke enough English to tell me what was going on, so my little mind was making up all sorts of things. I was pushed into an ambulance and away we went. “Where are we going? Where are you taking me? There were a couple of giggly girls in the back and one of them said “Bouganvilla”. Bouganvilla? What the hell is a Bouganvilla? Aushwitz? Treblinka? I had no idea. The two giggly girls chatted merrily away, as I lay there, strapped to a board like a psych ward looney toon. Paying for the sins of my countrymen. Suddenly the ambulance stopped and I was pulled out. I could see nether right nor left, but only straight up to the ceiling. And I saw a ceiling that had beautiful wooden beams and then a chandelier. I heard soft music playing. The place smelled of fresh paint. I was rolled down a corridor that also had a very nice ceiling. And then I was was moved onto a soft bed in the presence of two angels. I knew where I was. I was in heaven! Just like I read about in Sunday school. I asked the two angels to take off my torture boots. And they did!! And I was so happy I got up and started to dance the ballet. Fondu, demi point, coupe. Then suddenly I stopped so I didn’t screw up Dr. Arguello’s work.
and there it is, the very first day with my new face. That’s a true story. The moral of the story? When you have surgery in another country where you don’t speak the language, have someone there that does speak English when you wake up..or you’ll be left doing a whole lot of splainin’ with those 4 spanish words you learned in 3rd grade. Nuff said.