If you are a married person, or a person who is in a long-term relationship, or a person who loves someone very much…
Or even just a person who loves a good laugh at the expense of another human being…
I cannot recommend enough the experience of being The Driver for someone who is having an outpatient procedure requiring general anesthesia.
I know, I know… you need me to back up.
Remember that thing where Husband was swallowing his own bloods? Well, we finally* got his follow-up here in St Louis done and the follow-up endoscopy.
You don’t care about the endoscopy, so I won’t bore you with it. He’s fine. I mean, he’s got terrible acid reflux (which he refuses to treat and ignores my advice about) and his allergies are causing some issues (again, the whole not listening to me thing) but he’s basically fine.
No, you want to know about the bit where they asked me to wake him up because they couldn’t manage it.**
ME: (peering into his face) HEY HONEY!
HIM: (flutters eyelids)
NURSE: See? We haven’t been able to—
ME: (gets nose to nose) (bellowing) YOU GOTTA WAKE UP, BABY!
HIM: (opens eyes)
HIM: So… (clears throat) Am I done? I’m in Recovery?
ME: Nooooo… we’re just getting started. They’re gonna let me put the tube in!
HIM: (wide-eyed) Oh, you’ll love that!
NURSE: Would you like some juice? We have apple, cranberry, orange…
HIM: (to me) Can I have acids again?
HIM: (drunkenly) Then I want orange juice, bitches! I’ve been dreaming about…
ME: (raises eyebrow at nurse)
NURSE: (to Him) Okay… We just need you to roll over on your back while I unhook—
HIM: Oooh! I can roll over!
ME: … Yuh.
HIM: It’s like… I’m in sooooo much less pain than I usually am!
ME: (exchanges look with Nurse) Welll… I’m not sure you’re actually in less pain. They didn’t really give you anything… I mean, that’s probably not what’s going on. But you for sure care about it a lot less.
HIM: (nods somberly)
NURSE: So if you could just roll over…
HIM: But what if I don’t want to roll over?
HIM: What if I’m comfortable right where I am?
NURSE: (slack stare at me) Well… we need you on your back so you can sit up a bit and drink your juice.
NURSE: Yes, we have apple, cranberry, orange—
ME: Oh, God…
HIM: I WANT ORANGE!
NURSE: (bustles off to get orange juice)
ME: (smacks him) Roll over.
HIM: (rolls onto back) I can roll over!
ME: Yes, I know.
HIM: I just hurt so much less!
ME: Yes, I know. This is why they prescribed Vicodin for when your pain gets bad. And this (gestures) is why I tell you to fucking take it when your pain gets bad. But you don’t, because you’re convinced that if you take even one you’ll become addicted and die like Prince.
ME: And I keep telling you: Baby, we don’t even have an elevator.
HIM: YOU DON’T KNOW THAT FOR SURE!
HIM: (happily sips juice box)
ME: Yes, I really do.
HIM: We could have levels.
ME: (eyeroll) And I thought I was bad coming out of anesthesia. (to Nurse) Is this a thing, do people just default to their most basic self when they’re waking up?
NURSE: (diplomatically) It… hits everyone differently.
HIM: She wakes up mad.
NURSE: Oh dear…
ME: (nodding) I come up and literally my first memory is mid-swing.
NURSE: We see different reactions in different people, of course, but… (considers me) wow, that’s a pretty extreme reaction. Yeah, I don’t think we’ve had that one around here. Most people just get…
HIM: (laughs) “Ooh, I feel drunk, I need to punch somethin’!”
ME: That’s how we do in my family!
HIM: Whiskey… is a hell of a drug (giggles)
NURSE: So as soon as he’s done with that he can get dressed and you can pull the car around. I’ll go get the wheelchair! (escapes)
HIM: (points to wristband) Hey, I’m a fall risk!
ME: Yes, that’s why they’re getting the—
HIM: But it’s winter.
ME: (pulls out phone)
HIM: (still laughing)
ME: … And then he laughed… for five… goddamned… minutes…
HIM: (laughs while dressing)
And then—I swear I am not making this up—he laughed for FIVE GODDAMNED MINUTES.
I wasn’t going to post about it, honestly. I mean, the poor man was Under The Influence, right?
ME: Do you want some orange juice?
HIM: Nah, I’m fine.
ME: … Do you even remember how excited you were to get orange juice when you woke up?
HIM: … Yes?
ME: Do you remember what you said?
ME: Do you remember when I woke you up and (relays most of the above)
HIM: I don’t think that happened.
HIM: (glances at wristband) (chuckles)
* Why does it take so long to get in with a specialist as a new patient? New patients have the most urgent need of their services! Existing patients’ care is already being managed, and they can afford, in most cases, to wait an extra week or three while their doctor sees some new people, diagnoses shit, whatever. Specialists, start offering virtual appointments to your existing patients—they’re wasting valuable time in your schedule with “yeah, I feel about the same but should we talk about medication refills?” appointments.
** Yes, really. The nurse came out to get me just like for every other family member, but when they brought me to his curtain it was all, “so we haven’t been able to wake him up yet… we were hoping you could give us a hand?” “Say no more,” said I, already rolling up my sleeves to give that man a good shove.