The Big Day
I am excited as we sit down to do the paper work.
Your husband can sign, the nurse receptionist says, as though this type of thing happens all the time.
I am so relieved. Because the amount of times I wish someone would just do that on my behalf…
Even holding a pen makes my hand tired. And I can never get my scribble to look even remotely similar to the last one.
It is always so stressful trying to write on the line.
Therefore, as is my new custom, I don’t care, and encourage Michael to do all the work.
The staff seemed to be more comfortable dealing with him anyway. And I am too distracted with anticipation and disbelief regarding where and what we are doing there, that who gives a shit.
I am happy to be left alone. Even if it is completely politically incorrect, and shows a serious lack of disability awareness training.
In this instance it serves my purposes, and even keeps me amused as I observe from somewhere above my body.
Besides, I can’t always take these things to heart, or keep fighting the good fight.
Sometimes a girl needs a day off. And sometimes it just doesn’t have to be about me. I mean who cares if people don’t get it. Maybe that is where we go wrong. Maybe in the push for understanding and acceptance, we’re actually making it harder for ourselves. What if it were ok not to always understand one another. What if the divide have to be bridged. What if we just took the pressure off every once and a while and just let what may. We are the only people in the waiting room, and it isn’t long until a male nurse whose name I don’t catch and can’t be bothered asking comes to fetch us.
And by us I mean, he may have spoken my name, but he makes eye contact with my husband.
Sighties think we don’t know when they do that, but actually yeah um, most of the time I do. The question is, where does the awkwardness come from? Because I don’t think, it is me. But thank you for turning what could be a simple situation into something uncomfortable for everyone.
Whatever, I think as Michael takes my hand.
The nurse’s shoes are squeaky.
We walk down a hallway, through some double doors, the floor changes surface, I can hear other people presumably behind curtains talking in those hushed tones people use in hospitals, before we are directed to a cubical of our own.
Another nurse, whose name I also don’t catch, and don’t care to follow up upon comes in and speaks to my husband about what they are going to do for me. Because yeah, I’m not sitting here obediently waiting for the thousands of eye drops to be administered, my blood pressure to be taken, or wait for it, to be asked how I am today.
Again, whatever, I think as I silently tip my head up for the first set of pre-surgical eye drops.
Occasionally someone pokes their head in, and asks me how I am going, and by me I mean Michael, as we played quietly with Emily. Well as quietly as a two-year-old plays…
Holy shit honey, these drops are amazing, let’s just take them home I say as the lights on the ceiling, which hadn’t been there, begin to form like white twinkly stars above me. Well I think it is the lights, but who knows, I could just been seeing stars.
The thought of not having baby girl with us for such a momentous occasion just didn’t seem right.
She had been with us all along, and was on a first name basis with my doctors. And we didn’t want to hide this from her.
I have begun to fantasize she will one day become an ophthalmologist. Oh yeah, I’m sorry to say I am that parent.
Sorry sweetie. Mama is a nutbag.
It had happened been the first time I had seen her eyeing off the eye looking machine, and asking us what it was, when I had an almost premonition of maybe this is what she will do when she grows up. Then immediately I felt guilty about it, because I didn’t want to be the mama who pressured her child into anything. But wouldn’t it be good if… So secretly I hope. Yeah, because if I cannot restore sight physically then I can live vicariously through her.
Definitely ophthalmology Michael and I whisper to one another. As that is way more interesting than the alternative.
Oh God, clearly I was out of my mind, and nothing I wished or wanted could or should be trusted we would joke. But if she shows an interest, then yes, yes of course we will strongly encourage it. ,
We have both developed an unhealthy intolerance for opthalmists. And their job seems comparatively boring. So maybe that is why they seem so robotic, and not to notice the glaringly obvious. Obvious as in I can’t see anything, so hand jestures and vague over there’s in the corners, and come this ways are demeaning.
I am surprised to see, or rather sense John and Alex materialise before me. Aren’t they supposed to be in surgery already, I think?
They seem to have something to tell me, because there is an awkward pause after the preliminaries.
the laser machine isn’t working they say almost simultaneously to break the silence.
I suddenly find My heart is where my mouth should be, as I wait for them to continue.
What, the fancy arsed laser machine that was going to hang draw and quarter my beast isn’t working? What are we going to do?
Are they going to send me home?
Will I have to come back another day?
What if they needed the laser.
There had been so much talk of this laser and how they were going to use it, and it being the least invasive method, even though it probably wouldn’t work…
Oh God, what is he going to say, I wonder as time stretches like a piece of surgical thread between us.
So we’ll just operate old school Alex continues.
I let out the breath I don’t know I am holding.
We are to go ahead, and before I know it, the hour has flown by, and I am being unceremoniously led back down the hallway toward the theatre, as though this is no big deal, and this kind of thing happens every day.
Where were the horns heralding my arrival to this momentous moment, I wonder as we reach the sacred doors.
My life has been building to this for so long, that I cannot believe this is all there is. Silence.
And where was Michael?
I turn around to find them lagging behind talking to the nurses at the station. Seriously darling, I think. We don’t have all day. I know Little is cute, and they all want to speak to her, but there has been plenty of time for that already. Let’s go. I have to go. Where are you?
Michael, I call, breaking their conversation. I have to go.
Little is running down the hall toward me so I can give her a kiss.
I can’t go into theatre without giving her a kiss good-bye I think. What if something should go really really wrong. Michael will need to tell her that yes I did kiss her good-bye when her future self inevitably asks.
But my imagination is running away with me. I have to pull it back from the brink.
See you in a little while sweetie, I say as she runs back to her daddy.
It doesn’t feel right not to kiss my husband, but we had long since stopped, as if I had even a sniffle today, they would have cancelled the surgery.
I love you honey, I call to him almost as an after thought.
See you soon, he says, scooping baby girl up into his arms. And before I know it, I am on the other side of those double doors, and there is no turning back.