It had been only two days since the Joplin Missouri tornado struck 150 miles from our home in Kansas City. It was the worst twister since 1940 something and considering the recent tornado outbreaks in the U.S., we were concerned weather might be an issue come surgery day. I awoke thirsty, hungry, and anxious to get a move on, so I took a bee line for the TV to check for severe weather. The meteorologist was my buddy that day as he shared the good news that the risk for severe weather had moved to eastern Missouri. By all accounts we were in the clear and things should have gone off without a hitch.
Per pre-op instructions, we arrived at the hospital on time, checked in at the admitting desk, and was soon escorted to the surgical waiting room. I'd barely warmed up my half of the two-seater leather chair when a nurse, clutching a small bundle of papers, made an entrance. Propping the door open with her foot, she paused, looked down at her documents, and called out in a clear succinct voice...Nancy Douglas? Impressed with the timing, I claimed the name by raising my hand, and heading her way. My flip flops gave sound to what would be my last few painless steps this side of surgery. Time was drawing near and soon this would all be over. I wasn't sure if I was happy or sad. At least things were moving along as planned and soon I'd be on the road to recover.
I first weighed on a rather untraditional scale. Obviously designed to accommodate wheelchairs, it struck me funny as it looked more devoted to cattle. Nearly flush with the floor, the three foot square stainless steel platform offered a plethora of spots to stand. I picked what I thought was most middle, stood still as a statue, and watched the digital display climb like an elevator's ascent to the top of a tall sky scraper. Still snickering at the vision of me on the scale like a black angus cow, I was then escorted to a holding room that was surprisingly bigger than all the rest. Unlike the others it had no sliding glass doors. It appeared to be a room that, when the department was first designed, was too small to make into two rooms, so converted into one that was a large master suite of sorts. Labs were drawn, all sorts of questions were asked from allergies to abuse, and an IV was started. That's when the unexpected happened. The operator on the intercom called a Code Gray.
Hospitals call various codes, many of which aren't difficult to remember. Code Blue means a patient either isn't breathing and/or their heart has stopped. Since this condition causes them to turn blue, the name is obvious. Code Red means fire, which isn't a stretch either, and Code Gray means tornado. Since tornados kick up a lot of dust and debris, gray seems obvious as well. I didn't have to search my memory banks long to realize severe weather was making another untimely visit.
My nurse and I were rather shocked to hear the code since the weather forecast called for a nice day. We turned on my TV all to discover that the tide had indeed changed. Soon there was a knock on the door and Jimmy and Drew were escorted into, since rooms near glass were being evacuated. All surgeries in process were being completed and surgeries yet to be done were placed on hold until the weather cleared. So, there we sat waiting and wondering.
By the time my doctor came in to assure me surgery would be carried out as soon as possible, five tornados were dropping out of the sky around our vicinity. I was relieved to hear the surgery would be done but began to wonder if it would closer to midnight than noon as originally planned.
Then there was Dani. She wasn't with us because she had gone on to her day hab. What was seh doing? Was she in danger? Was she on an outing with her day hab or safe at the facility? About the time our concern hit full force, the Lord sent word through Jimmy's iPhone in the form of a picture of her crouched in the bathroom shower with a text that said, "Your baby is fine. The sirens are going off and we are all in the bathrooms." What a comfort to know our baby was in good hands.
Once the tornados receded into the sky's black carpet over head, warnings were lifted, and the surgical crew came into the room like a swarm of bees. As the anesthesiologist asked the final pre-op questions, three nurses stood around my bed tucking, repositioning, and medicating me for the procedure. Before I knew it I was on the OR table confirming that yes I was having a hysterectomy and desired to keep my ovaries if at all possible. Slipping off to sleep, I don't recall anyone saying good bye, I just drifted off to wherever surgical patients wait for their own surgery to be complete.
As of today it's been one week since surgery and things are going very well. Each day offers a little more independence and strength, and though I have a long way to go before reaching normal, even a little progress lends hope. At least I can get up and down by myself now and don't have to tap Jimmy on the shoulder in the middle night and whisper, "Honey...I have to potty."
Thanks for all your prayers and we'll talk soon. Lord knows I have plenty of time to putter out a few notes.