When your heart skips a beat in your thirties, it doesn’t pump properly, your gallbladder malfunctions and various stones in it cause pain, you go to the doctor or “to the canal,” then you find out what you already knew, but were waiting for someone else to tell you.
You are suffering from material fatigue!
You know you have overworked in the past few years and even before that, it wasn’t exactly easy, but okay, you drove like the Serbs do with their car – until it fell apart.
That’s how I feel too.
From the next room, a woman moans whose age (written on the pink paper by her feet, but not yet attached to her foot, but to the bed) is 1394. Interns already call her the ancient woman.
Fortunately, my half knew that I would run away from the hospital if I wasn’t placed in a private apartment (so called). Now nobody sees me inside. They don’t even see the tap sticking out of my vein. I don’t know if it’s interactive, two-way. I know it burns. I also know that I have a nasty bruise above it.
“What kind of veins are these?” “I don’t know, try the other hand.” (To myself: “I don’t have another, would you like a school example of veins?”)
There’s only one wonderful thing. I don’t think about wannabe companies, journalists don’t call me (although I love talking to them the most), some former fans and normal colleagues, my mother, father, boyfriend… call me.
Tomorrow is the operation. Cholesterol stones. (Who was the fool that didn’t know stress is the father of cholesterol?). The knife works, general anesthesia.
Around 3:30 in the middle of the night, a big woman in white enters my private room with a box full of glass pieces… and turns on the light. “Theeeeer-mo-meeeeeter!” “Good evening!” (“Couldn’t you be gentler at this hour, am I not the deaf old lady from the next room?”) “36.5. Good night!” I don’t answer, my iPod saved me (or her), it has soft earbuds that go deep.
“Tatomirooooovic!” “It’s me.” (“It’s written on your paper, and there’s no one else here!”) “Come on, let me shave you.” “And who are you?” – I look at the big woman who before she came to shave me, didn’t shave herself. “I shave!” “No need, thank you.” (“Just leave now…”) “No need, raise your shirt!” “Shirt?” (“I knew I looked like a boy sometimes, but I didn’t know I had hairy breasts.”)
Three strokes on the stomach and she leaves with a big leather bag in which she can comfortably hold an axe. I would accept.
The next one comes. Wraps my feet. “But I only have one visible vein on my left leg!” She doesn’t care, she wraps me like a mummy. She says that’s how it should be. That’s the only thing I believe for now.
We go down to the basement with a big elevator. Women in green with masks over their faces pass in front of me.
They give me the same green gown to wear. I have never liked nudist beaches. I am too self-critical and critical. I admire those disproportionate women who wear short skirts and tight dresses. They are brave (or someone has talked them into it.) The gown has a slit at the back. Big. “Your outfit is fantastic!” “Excuse me?” says the face under the mask.
They also have colorful headbands, maybe they have watched “Grey’s Anatomy” a lot and for sure they have Meredith and Derek. They connect me to all kinds of instruments, infusions, anesthesia, and comment on my tattoo on my back… “Look at her fingers, please! See how thin they are!” Smile. Sour. (To oneself: “Don’t touch my fingers. Put me to sleep and let this be over!”)
The lamps, made of rubber, begin to curve and move from the ceiling towards me. Bloooop, bloooop… I faint (like during my Pag island diving). The voices are lost, as if they are also under water. The seven bulbs above the operating table merge into one… I shiver.
“Turn around, we’ll give you something for the pain!” “Mmmmmm…” (“Who is this now and where are the rubber bulbs?”) “Tanja! Taaaaanjaaaaa! TAAANJAAAAAA, CAN YOU HEAR ME!?” “Ahm.” (“Why is she shouting, they’ve mixed me up with a grandma born in 1394 again?”)
One by one, they change, I can only tell them apart by their size and hair color, they’re still underwater. Then I see my friends, all underwater, but without masks or oxygen tanks. Well, when I wake up, everyone will, hopefully, be normal again… or even better.
“I was in some operation!” I hear Sasha talking, of course, about women… and the voices are blending… “If I had an apartment, I’d spend a year in the hospital.” “I have to go, this is too much, I haven’t been in the hospital even when my mother was lying there.” “Mother, does this old lady keep shouting like that?” “I’d die here!” “Does it hurt a lot?” “Sleep, honey, sleep…”
“Thermometeeeeeerrrrr!” Yes, it’s 3:30 AM. Injection at 6:00.
“You’re going for an ultrasound, if everything is okay, you’ll go home today.” “I’ll go by myself, thank you.” (“You won’t drive ME in a wheelchair?”) I pant as if I’m running a marathon, hold my stomach, and make it to the ultrasound. The lying patients and those who came straight from the street, we’re all together. They are in winter jackets, me in cartoon-themed pajamas.
“HOW OLD ARE YOU?” – the doctor yells. “I HEAR YOU FINE!!!! I AM 38!” A smile. The residents have gathered, they’re looking at my stomach through the probe. Gobbling. Everything is fine. There’s no gallbladder, they’ll screw it up and set it right soon.
“Done, beauty!” says the chubby doctor. “Thank you very much!” (“Are you going to call me a beauty? If I don’t have a gallbladder, I have teeth.”)
“Everything went well, we just had to keep you under anesthesia a little longer,” says the doctor who operated on me. “Longer?” (“How long, man???) “Well, yes, you were prepared a little earlier. Then they were looking for me, I wasn’t immediately available, so we had to extend it a bit.” “Oh?” (“What if he went home for lunch?”) “Well, yes, but everything went well and you can go home.” A smile. Bitter one.
Packed, I walk down the hall. I can’t breathe, but I’m going. Rubber bulbs have solidified.
And what if they extended it even more, the bulbs remained rubber, and the voices under water… maybe the apartment would have been mine alone… and I would have been my own. This way I am theirs. Mom’s, dad’s, friends’… and no one can worry me with cholesterol, neither wannabe companies, nor individuals. No one. There’s nowhere to accumulate, from now on I’m intolerant to stress-causers. I can be a gentle blonde, and I can be a Rottweiler… so what you like. Please.
Apartment – What’s called that and allows you to be alone and not look at the illness and suffering of others.
Packing – You go home and are happy that everything is over, or will be soon, and you’ll be able to look at your flat stomach again. True, it will have 4 scars of 1 cm each, but it will be flat, because the prescribed diet doesn’t allow anything that could make it stop being flat. (Thankfully, I’m not oversized…)
It’s a beautiful day to save lives. Let’s have some fun.
Dr. Derek Shepherd