So on the morning of Thursday, August 18th, an ambulance service from my parents’ hometown was dispatched to DC to transport me the three-hour ride to Sacred Heart Hospital. When I arrived, my mom was waiting for me outside. She was so happy to finally see me after several days of phone calls, that she kissed the first part of me she saw – the bottom of my foot.
I was placed in a nice, large hospital room and over the course of an hour, my father, sister and both brothers showed up, as well as a core staff of nurses to start the process of admitting me and prepping me for surgery that would be held the next afternoon.
The first of many needle insertions began with an IV line placed in my left arm. These are large gauge needles placed into you that have an access to hook you up to an IV if necessary. They are “innies”, not “outties” which meant liquids could only go in them, not withdrawn. So all my subsequent bloodwork still resulted in being stuck in many places all over my body. Two IV access lines, two blood withdrawals (one from the back of my left hand and the other from the middle of my right arm) and a test for blood gas (a needle going into the right wrist which has to be executed three times because the nurse just graduated), I washed up, brushed my teeth, and prepped for the next day. My family left me in the room alone and I had my talk with God.
I am not a deeply religious person, but I do have my faith. As I lay in the dark, I said exactly these words allowed:
“God, thank you for the life I have had. If this is my time to go, then I am ready. My life has been full and I have been happy. But I think there are still people here who need me. If I wake up tomorrow evening, then I will know that there is still purpose in my life. But if not, I am ready.”
And miraculously, I fell asleep.
The next morning, my family arrived bright and early. My spirits were actually very good. I had full faith that Dr. Nelson would do his best to get me through the process. After a complete body shave (which may still be slightly more traumatic than my actual surgery), I said goodbye to my family and, with a lipstick print still on the bottom of my foot, I was wheeled away.
Laying in Pre-Op alone, I shed the first tear of this entire situation. A nurse approached me and said I was going to be put under so that they could begin prepping me for surgery. When she asked if I was okay, I said with a smile, “Let’s do it!” I doubt I was being brave - I was just ready. It would be what it would be. Whatever happened from here out was in the hands of a very capable physician and his team. And of course a power greater than all of us.