I was awoken from my bed at 4:00 am on Saturday, July 12th, 1997, for my scoliosis surgery. The drive to the hospital was nearly 2.5 hours with surgery check-in at 7 am. My mother and father drove me to the surgery center while I resumed sleeping in the camper shell of our truck. When I rose once again, I was starving, but could not eat or drink anything before the procedure. I didn’t understand why at the time, but resentfully complied while the hunger pains grew.
Arrival to the hospital was uneventful and I soon found myself preparing for surgery. I was assigned to my own separate area, was given a beautifully personalized hospital wrist bracelet, and had to change into a gown and white hospital stockings with assistance from my mom. After settling into the bed, my blood was drawn to make sure I was healthy enough for the procedure and I underwent some sort of nerve/muscle test for what I believe was to assess my nerve function before, during, and after surgery. The test was a bit awkward and uncomfortable; I had a probe taped to the top of my head with, I think, leads on my arms and legs (I do not remember exactly) that would send intermittent electrical impulses to automatically flinch a toe or finger, or something like that (EMG procedure?). All I know is that it was a strange, slightly painful experience. It was difficult for me to remain still for the entirety of the procedure- I kept turning my head to watch TV while the frustrated nurse kept reminding me to “be still!”
Several hours later, it was finally time for surgery. I had to place a blue cap on my head with all of my hair bunched inside. I was nervous, but tried not to show it. I said my good-byes and I-love-yous to my mom and dad before being wheeled away to the surgical prep area alone without them. I did not cry, but several years later, my mom told me that she did and that she was a huge mess! I had no idea!
Once I arrived to the prep area, I was transferred from my hospital bed to a different gurney. The room was big, white, bright, and clean with several people hovering over me. My heart beat could be heard from the monitor in the background while a nurse or anesthesiologist administer medication into my IV line. Soon after, a man approached me and told me to count backwards from 100 after placing a mask on my face, which completely covered my nose and mouth. The odor spewed from the mask was not pleasant, but I took a deep breath while watching someone dressed in white attire walk across the room in front of me. I felt slightly dizzy as I counted: 100, 99, 98…