I had realized earlier the day before that some of my fear of the IV was what it foretold - the oncoming reality of surgery - because what it really meant was, from this point forward, I've given up any sense of control I thought I might have had over the situation. My fate, my future, lie at the end of the IV tube where whatever conconctions that would knock me out would be injected, shuttling me off to what I hoped would be a sleep so deep I couldn't possibly know anything had happened.
Carmen shuffled off, ushering in my parents and Alissa after a gaggle of various hospital personnel visited me to ask the same questions repeatedly ("what's the last thing you ate - and when?" "do you smoke?" "have you seen your surgeon today?" Have I? Is that really my issue to deal with right now?!) My parents stood nervously by and Alissa regarded me with a slight smile, knowing the whole time what kind of hellish scenarios I'd drawn up in my head for what would unfold over the next couple of hours. The anesthesiologist stopped by to explain what would happen, asked, again, what I'd eaten and when, and then finally my surgeon stopped by jovial, confident, and happy as can be. Just another day at work, I suppose. Within moments of arriving, he chatted quickly, signed a couple papers, and said, "Well, we're ready." My parents and Alissa kissed me goodbye and a moment later they disappeared from view as the anesthesiologist returned with a syringe, the contents of which he emptied into my IV.
"I'm giving you a little something to prep you, you'll probably start feeling the effects soon." He moved to the end of the bed to look over some paper work and it was then that I noticed his stylish American flag shower-cap. As I focused on that, the room wavered and I absent-mindedly blurted out, "That must be what you were talking about," as if he had seen the room waver too. A quick snort of a laugh indicated that while he didn't see it, he understood perfectly what I meant.