Or my alternate title: A Fight from the Past, What it Really Meant, and How to be Better in the Future
A couple of years ago I went under the knife for a minor procedure. I would be sedated using general anesthesia and then released once I came around to consciousness.
I’m usually pretty calm in medical situations but as the morning wore on, I started to get scared. I had to sign a stack of papers that boiled down to this simple premise: You could die today.
The medical staff didn’t help to soothe my fears. Every time one of them entered the room, the routine was the same:
- Pick up the chart
- Ask me who I was
- Ask me why I was here
- Ask me if I was allergic to anything
- Tell me that they would check on why it was taking so long
At first I would answer all the questions without a second thought. Then, as I was asked the same thing again and again, I started to think the medical chart didn’t contain any of my information. Around the 15th repeat of this question and answer cycle, I was starting to think I needed a Sharpie so I could write the words, “Do not remove” on all of my limbs and both of my boobs.
I was terrified and trying to hold it together when Husband #2 announced he was going for a cup of coffee. But not just the hospital swill. Husband #2 was about to take off in the car and head downtown to a coffee-house he heard had good beans.
I got angry.
What I heard was this:
Coffee is more important than me. Husband #2 was abandoning me when I needed him to be my rock.
This is where I could have done better. Lots better! I could have opened up to Husband #2 and said, “I am terrified. Please don’t abandon me. I promise we can stop for coffee after my operation.”
If I would have been really on top of things, I could have suggested to Husband #2 that he bring along a thermos of coffee before we even left the house. (Yes, Husband #2 is a true Coffee Snob and proud of it).
I could have spoken up to the medical staff and asked them why they had no clue as to who I was or why I was there.
And, lastly, I could have taken someone else to support me during my pre-op and post-op time.
I had several assumptions. Husband #2 could see my distress. Husband #2 was not scared. Husband #2 loved coffee more than he loved me.
it all boiled down to this: I wasn’t strong enough to open my vulnerable side to Husband #2. I didn’t want to appear weak and scared in front of him. I didn’t trust him enough with my fear to allow him to help me when I really needed him.
So we fought about coffee instead.