It’s probably fitting (and a little bit scary) that today of all days (9/11) finds me boarding a flight to return home. Eight years ago I had another return home that was bittersweet, indeed. Every year I share the chronicle of a life-changing event that shook me to the core and I am doing so here. I wrote this chronicle right after starting jkOnTheRun, and I rerun it every year at this time. If you don’t like reading off-topic posts then please skip over this. I do this for me; it’s a blog after all.
“Mr. Kendrick, can you hear me? I’m Mrs. Reinhard, the patient care facilitator here at Methodist hospital. Are you comfortable? I’ll be making sure your wife and family are OK while you’re in surgery as you’ll be there for a while. Do you want to tell me anything before they take you back?”
I have to think about that one. I’m so cold, it’s so cold in here. How should I respond that won’t conflict with my Southern upbringing? You must be stoic when confronted with the most terrifying thing in your entire life. Scared beyond words that you will never wake up. Scared that they won’t be able to fix your problem. Scared that you’ll never, ever see your beautiful wife and wonderful children again. Terrified that you’ll be an invalid after the surgery.
“Thank you but I’m fine.”
“You understand the procedure you’re about to undergo, right Mr.Kendrick? Would you like to talk about it or ask me any questions?”
“No, I’m fine. Tell my wife that I love her and I’ll see her shortly. She doesn’t handle upsetting things very well.”
“Well, OK, Mr. Kendrick. Don’t you worry- Dr. Lawrie is one of the best surgeons in the world and you’ll be just fine. I’ll sit with your wife for a while and make sure she knows what’s going on with your procedure. They’ll be coming to take you into surgery in a few minutes. I’ll see you in the recovery room.” (What I didn’t know then is that Dr. Lawrie worked for 20 years on the personal surgical team of Dr. DeBakey, the pioneer of cardiac surgery. Sometimes you just get lucky.)
As she walked away I hoped that Sheri would be OK. A single tear trickled involuntarily down my cheek. I suppose it was still there when the doctors and nurses started their work.