The Recovery Room

On my way home from work yesterday, I was chewing on the memory of  the lumpectomy surgery and the awfulness that was the recovery room.

As I lay on the operating table before the surgery began, I had just one plan.  I was going to wake up, look at Jerry, and hear him tell me the lymph nodes were clear.  No cancer anywhere except for that one small blip, which by that time would be sliced, diced, squashed and mounted in a pathology lab.  I greeted the OR crew cheerfully, offered to shake the scrub nurse’s gloved hand (“thanks, no”), even told that dumb chicken coop joke.

“Why does a chicken coop have two doors?  Because if it had four doors it would be a chicken sedan.”  Laughs all around.

And then the milky propofol scurried down the IV tubing into my arm, stung and ached for a  nanosecond, and Elvis departed the building.

The recovery room. Bleary and full of drugs, but I can get my eyes open.  My armpit hurts, but I can feel comfort, reassurance, love…my husband is holding my hand.

“Whad they find?” I croak.

Jerry looks sad.  “They found cancer in the lymph nodes.”  I grip his hand and cry.  Crying is not easily accomplished immediately following general anesthesia; there’s not a lot of energy for the sobbing part and tears slide down sideways.

“I’m sorry.  I’m sorry,” I weep, as though remorseful for this terrible thing I did, getting breast cancer.

“Katy…when you say you’re sorry you’re just saying ‘I love you.'”  My husband.  My strength.

From Jerry, I understand we had to repeat this scene a couple of times.  The waning bits of anesthesia would gently pull me back to sleep, only to drift around and ask again.  “What?”  “Whuddid they say?”  Poor Jerry.

The recovery room.  A scene of devastating disappointment, loss, and love.

Driving home from work yesterday, it came to me that I was still dragging the grief of that moment around with me.  And as clearly as if I had turned on the radio, God told me to lay it down.  All the hurt, pain, disappointment, fear, dread, apprehension that blasted through me in the recovery room.  Give it up, lay it in God’s hands, and walk away in peace.  Because it wasn’t just Jerry at my bedside, gripping my hand and radiating love.

Here you are, God. This is me, walking away in peace.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22


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