Thursday, February 18, 2010

Modern Medical Miracles

"Just take a deep breath. Yes. Another. Another. Good. Now, roll up your sleeve. That's fine, just going to hook this up so we'll have a constant read. What? Oh, it's an electronic blood pressure cuff, we watch your pressure right here on the computer monitor. It beeps if your BP goes too high or low, so we can adjust your drip. Yes, there is new technology every time you blink. This is so much safer, before one of us had to sit and watch you. Now, we can take care of other patients and the machine alerts us if there is any aberration. Excellent. Okay, then, you relax, the doctor will be with you in another minute or two, the anesthesiologist, too. Relax, honey, you'll be fine."

She blinked. It'll be fine. They'll start the drip, 100, 99, 98, 97, 96 and when she woke up, in five or ten or twenty minutes, it would all be over.


Again and again and again and again.

They'd start the drip and she'd go to sleep and when she woke up, she'd be peachy keen, right as rain, all things bright and beautiful, neat and clean inside and out, good as new.


Again and again and again and again.


What was wrong with her?

She turned, watching the monitor click, the gentle inflation and sudden deflation of the cuff on her arm a warning, a link to everything else that told her what she wasn't. 70/40. Well, that couldn't be good. If her pressure started too low, they couldn't put her under. If it dropped too low, they wouldn't be able to wake her up. Could they? Did they have paddles here? A crash cart? They must, it's a surgical clinic, they had to have emergency equipment. Paddles weren't even anything special. For goodness sakes, Disney had paddles. Restaurants had paddles. And they had transport here, if the paddles didn't provide enough power. She giggled. Maybe they had tazers, those would wake the dead.

Yes, paddles, just in case someone decided to go to sleep and stay asleep, decided it was easier to go on in that lovely twilight of nothing where there was no more trying and failing, no more planning and counting, and certainly no more watching and mourning. Sleep is a wonderful thing. Maybe she would sleep now, for a bit, before the hullabaloo started.

She closed her eyes, head still turned to the machine and lay very still. Another minute and the ruckus of scrubs and sprays and latex gloves, talk talk talk, should we do this, should we do that, as long as we're in here, snip snip, can you make a decision, not making a decision is also making a decision, you won't feel a thing, it'll be done, scrape scrape snip snip, no worries, be happy.

She despised Bobby McFerrin, with his noisy mouth and twisted a capella renditions of classic crock. That ‘Be Happy" tripe? That was the worst of all. How could any thinking person be happy in the messed up world?

One eye open, slow. 64/38. Hmmm. Shallow breathing, oxygen in only the upper lobes. Keep it steady. 64/36. Fine. No more again and again and again.

"Oh dearie, this will never do, no, it won't. We can't have you like this." The nurse picked up her head and shoved another pillow under it. "This simply will not do. You have to sit up, get your pressure up. Doctor can't operate if your BP starts that low, it has nowhere to go, and believe me, you do not want to undergo this procedure without anesthesia.

Procedure. It was a procedure. Not an operation. Not a test. A procedure. Did calling it a procedure make it smell any less foul? She sat up and took a few deep breaths, tightened her legs, balled her hands into fists. 80/48.

"Much better. We'll just keep you up until the doctors come in, there they are." The nurse nodded in the direction of the hallway. "I'm going to watch you myself, I am, after. The feed is right here on my waist. It'll only be a few minutes, but we don't take chances. You keep breathing like that. Excellent. We don't want any problems, now do we?"

She smiled at the nurse, at her own thoughts, at her power. She could do it. She could do it easily, just let it drop-see, 74/46, back up a tad- let it drop until it was done. No more masquerades, curtain drops, fine. She took another deep breath.

"No, we don't want any problems, no we don't. Thank you, nurse. Thank you so much."

No comments: