Monday, July 27, 2015

Et Tu, Cancer? Part 5 - The Last Thing I Remember The Clock Read 4:50am; The Next, I Wake Up Screaming!

Finally, the day of my major surgery had arrived. On July 15th, I caught a cab to the hospital, as there were no buses running at that hour of the morning. It was a very nice summer morning in the San Fernando Valley. Major surgery. Indeed! I was about to under go a Radical Cystectomy with an Orthotopic Neobladder. Read about the surgery if you want and please note the irony of 'orthotopic' (my production company is called Orthicon Ghost Productions). There were no McDreamys or Clooneys scurrying about the bowels (more irony!) of the hospital where the surgeries are performed. There's gross simplification passed off as fiction and then there is rampant failure as writers, but hey, that's for another bloody blog post. Keeeeee-ripes!

Even for surgery, part of my actor training was still used whether as a defense mechanism or just pure instinct. Fear. Come on - a dash o' fear. My call time/check-in time was 5:30am, I showed up at the hospital at 5:10am! Technically, it was same day surgery: to begin at 7:30am and end at 4:30pm. I had some trepidations, sure. I mean after all, my first surgery was canceled within hours of it's scheduled beginning and look at the freaking mess I was in now! Thank you freaking mess! This time, there was no last minute cancellation, this bad boy was going down. "You're going down bad boy!"

(Blood leaking out of one of the many holes poked into my hands and arms over the course of my hospital stay. See also, "Et Tu, Cancer, Part 3")
I had some ideas of what life would be like after cancer and with a neo-bladder. Reality versus "what may be' is often what the middle ground turns out to be. Or not to be (hey, sorry, couldn't resist). That's why these blogs are not primarily fashioned in a linear narrative. But, there was no doubt I would be spending at least two weeks in the hospital.

Like the previous surgery that wasn't entirely successful, I went through the preparation period, confident that this time this surgery would be entirely successful. Think about that for a moment, please. All the mental gymnastics I went through regarding what could happen during that first surgery, all the ducks that had to be placed in a row before even daring to attempt to sleep a fitful few hours before getting up for the surgery AND then...the call, the call I was lucky to get from the hospital, "did you know your surgery had been canceled?" --- "canceled!?!" --- so, here I was again, for this major surgery, this time, because all shit rolls downhill, right?

I shouldn't even have to be in this situation. I hadn't fucked up. I did what was expected of me. Now, over the course of nearly nine hours, my bladder will be removed, my prostate and seminal glands also removed. And say goodbye to those pelvic lymph nodes. Two feet of my intestine removed to fashion a neo-bladder. So, off I went to the surgical room, shaved, draped and ready to rock and roll!  The last thing I remembered was that the clock said 7:50am.

Then I woke up screaming! And as I was screaming in pain, I actually thought of one of my favorite early film noirs entitled, "I Wake Up Screaming" --- funny how the mind works at times. Owwww! Damn it! What the holy fucking shit have you all done to me?!? Owww-how-how!! I mean the kind of screams that emanate from deep within the body and reverberate off the unforgiving concrete of the hospital walls. OW! Was I really writhing in pain? I looked down and began questioning whose arms and legs I was seeing going wildly akimbo. That certainly couldn't be me. Why aren't my stitches and staples being flung around this post-op ward? Where's the blood? Were the eyes of the masked passing before really filled with concern?

Twenty-fours later, this whole sequence repeated itself, right down to the screams and the crying. My crying. The sobbing and the tears. When was the last time I had cried so much and yelled "OWWW!" over and over again? Perhaps I hadn't even done such a thing yesterday because yesterday was a premonitory dream. This I wake up screaming was happening now. Right now! Yesterday was a way to prepare, to warm-up while still in an unconscious state for today's reality. The reality of family and total strangers witnessing what was a human manifestation of the primordial.


1 comment:

Dsm said...

Get better.