If going under anesthesia is like slipping into that other life, then, I think, I’ve lost my fear of crossing over. For as I saw the white liquid rushing through the IV drip, the next thing I knew was walking along white, sandy beach lined with coconut trees and with an ocean so blue I had to turn away.
And then, a voice, “Everything went fine.” It was my anesthesiologist, Dr. Cantor, awakening me from my dream.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When I turned fifty, I decided to keep a promise that I made to my sister, who died from colon cancer, that I’d begin to get regular screenings. I try to keep my word on many things, and because colon cancer is such a sneaky disease that can go undetected for years, and when it is discovered, it’s almost too late, I thought I’d better get myself screened. And especially since black men and women have a higher incidence of colorectal cancer, it seemed the only prudent thing to do—even as I “rage against the dying of the light”
The next morning I went to Aventura Hospital where I was greeted by the surgical team, and in no time my doctor, Gordon Souaid, was there. The team prepped me for the screening with the embarrassing gown and booties, and then wheeled me into the room. Next, they hooked me up to the machines that checked my blood pressure and other vital information. And the game began.
Dr. Cantor came over to the side of the gurney and said, “This will numb the vein and the next one will put you to sleep.”
I was on my Caribbean beach.
“You’re okay,” said Dr. Cantor as he roused me from deep sleep. I was kinda upset. I was loving that dream.
I was wheeled from post-op into a recovery room, and then, I had the strangest craving for fruit. And not just any fruit: mangoes, pineapples, and watermelons. I wanted that fresh, syrupy taste in my mouth. Something natural.
So, on my way home, I stopped at Publix and bought myself a fruit salad of pineapples, mangoes, and watermelons. I couldn’t wait to get home and sink my teeth into those fruit.
Although it was raining when I got home, I rushed through the door and opened the plastic container with the fruit salad. Dr. Cantor had roused me from that dream of paradise, but after a day of fasting, biting into that watermelon was pure bliss.
—Photo credit: thinboyfatter/Flickr