The Surgical Story / by Reginald Crump

The Dr. continued with how I'd be given instructions, along with a demonstration of how to remove 2 inches of gauze, daily from the inside of the wound and cut it off.

I'd have to do this myself, by someone in my family or have a nurse visit until the gauze was completely withdrawn, in order for the wound to heal correctly. The nurse would be included for 3 days but nothing more without an additional fee.

I shrank down deeper into my bed.

Becoming one with it.

Knowing that what he described to me, had to be one of the most painful and difficult things to ever have to do to yourself. Although I know there are much harder things to do. I've seen it in horrifically thrilling movies like Saw or... you get the picture.

Anyway, I knew that on Monday morning I needed to time the pain meds just right so that when that demonstration took place I was already on cloud nine and mesmerized by the gapping hole in leg.

Christmas Day slides into early evening and just as I'm about to drift off to sleep the visits begin. To my surprise I look up and at the door is one of my best friends Rita and my parents. Apparently they pulled into the parking lot at the same time. Now my sad Christmas Day was turning into a jolly, happy Christmas and I was thrilled to have them sit with me for a few hours to laugh. Laugh a lot.

It's so weird to be in a hospital bed and have people show up to visit you. There are so many conflicting elements. The rest can be good, but it's still challenging. But, for the person hospitalized (I'm sure this varies from person to person/situation to situation) it really makes a difference to have that outside human contact because that hospital situation plays with your mind. It plays with your mind. It - plays - with - your - mind.

The routine visit from the nurses asking you for your name and date of birth before they check your vitals is a mind f*c@ within itself. Partially because you are a number within the system. I get it, I get it. They don't want to get the numbers wrong and I don't want them to either. Mixing up the medications or assigning the wrong surgery would be "absolutely dreadful."

I continue to Kiki with my parents and Rita as HGTV plays in the background. My parents leave and Rita stays for a little bit longer, so we continue to laugh at inside gossip and situations that we felt we couldn't talk about with "grown ups" around.

As we get deeper into evening Rita heads home to spend the rest of Christmas with her family and I of course sink back into GarageBand land A-flat to B-sharp. Now playing with vocals over my track in a pinch, I start repeating melodies. After a while I realize that an outside ear in Newport News, Virginia may not understand my level of experimentation. I notice that some of the nurses start checking in on me to make sure I'm ok. After all, I'm heavily medicated. I could very possibly sound like I'm losing my mind to their ears and eyes (imagining what I look like in the monitor as I flail and articulate my arms and develop limited movement phrases).

But, what they don't realize is that this is what I do in general with my time, with no medication or substances. Even when I'm not confined to a hospital bed. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with my head. If you only knew. If you only knew.

I settle for a bit as thoughts of being strapped to the bed begin to enter my mind.