Yesterday my sister Fleda and I went with our dad down to pre-op where he was prepared for the amputation of his right leg — at age 97 — after surviving a 3-hour attempt by a vascular surgeon to save his leg on Tuesday.
The anesthesiologist tried in vain (argh, argh — pun intended) to get an arterial catheter in his right wrist, but the vessel was too calcified and after poking, prodding, and wriggling for several minutes while blood spilled all over the bed and floor, she gave up and managed it in his left wrist.
A nurse arrived and introduced himself to Daddy asking, “How’re you doing today, Mr. Brown?”
His response? “Oh, I can’t complain.”
Really? Oh, I think most of us would.
Fleda and I waited alone and anxious for the hour-and-a-half this surgery would take. Saturday night is not a popular night for surgeries. No one else was in the surgery waiting area. We did yoga stretches to relieve the enormous built-up tensions of the week. We watched a YouTube video of a leg amputation and read about the post-op pain associated with it. Nearly nauseous, at last we saw the surgeon come into the room. Ready for anything, we heard the unbelievable. He came through it “solid as a rock.” They would keep him in recovery for about an hour then take him back to his room in the CTU, where we could see him. The nurse tells us to take a break, go get ourselves some dinner, and she’ll call us when we can see him.
We opt instead for a quiet glass of wine at a lovely little place called Cup ‘n’ Cork, which I highly recommend. There was music from two guys about our age playing music we like, and the wonderful smell of good coffee.
About 9:00, the nurse called to say we could see him now, so we headed back to Southeast Hospital, braced for what we might see. Walking through the doorway we are greeted by the sight of Daddy, sitting up, alert, and talking. His first words? “I don’t feel nearly as bad as I thought I would, and my right right leg doesn’t hurt at all anymore!”
Please excuse my language, but this man is un-f***ing believable. Would that we all could go through life with this kind of courage.
Daddy, you’ve always told us you were a coward.
But that’s ok.