Tuesday, March 19, 2002

feel >> PAIN

Being carted out from your room was a surreal feeling. I watched as I passed through rows and rows of florescent lights. I felt weak, limp, faint. With no indication or sense of direction, I just lay there. Being as calm and composed as I could.

I had always imagined myself to have a high tolerance to pain - that plus the ability to not moan about my predicament. I guess that would come in useful after the operation. Suddenly I was 'parked'. It was like a dizzying MTV come to a sudden halt. I was left alone. Perhaps the operating theatre wasn't ready. I thought to myself, 'I could hop off this bed now and make a run for it.' I wondered what would be the implications though. Then I remembered the last thing the surgeon said, 'Sign here.' Imposing? I didn't know what to make of it then. I was in pain. I did my research, and the operation was necessary. Sign here. The words echoed in my head a few times before I lifted the abnormally heavy pen. I glanced at the documents but I wasn't reading it. 'Consent. Operation. Patient' seemed to dominate most of the words on the document. 'Sign here,' said the surgeon, pointing to the void above 'Patient'. I did.

The nurse took out the documents as I lay there on the bed. 'Is this your signature?' she asked. Of course it was. Fear and anxiety prevented me from checking. But as I lay there in the waiting bay, I wondered - what did I agree to? It occurred to me that I didn't even know what I was agreeing to. Should I leap off this bed and make a run for it?

'Sign here,' said the accountant as I checked the transaction slip from the credit card payment. Hospital. RM3,000. Cardmember's signature.

I stared blankly at the ceiling. What if there were complications? What if I died from the surgery? 'There are no complications,' reassured the surgeon from behind his desk. I was trying to figure out the situation. Was he trying to help me? Or was he trying to make a sale? He looked sincere. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be strange, if I died? I would have paid for my own death. But that was a tad too morbid. It was just a simple operation. Well, not that simple. Perhaps I still had a shred of positivity.

That can't be good. On my left were rows upon rows of bottles. On my right, a few nurses chatted excitably over something. But the voices were just garbled, a concoction of blurry voices and maniacal laughter. Perhaps the anxiety over-exaggerates everything. But I wasn't in the mood to tune anything down. What did I sign for? I asked myself yet again...

I guess they weren't kidding about the part where there were bright lights. I felt like a lab frog prepped up for dissection. 'Please give me your arm,' said the anesthetist. 'I am going to insert a tube in your vein, this might hurt a little.'
'I am going to inject the anaesthetic now, this might be painful.'
I felt a cold fluid being injected directly into my veins. I could feel the coolness being transported with every beat of my heart, pumping the drug into my body. Nothing. No pain. So that wasn't as bad as I thought. I could hear beeping, that's probably my heartbeat, I thought to myself. 'Why is it taking so long?' I could hear somebody saying. I was proud of that. I relished in the fact that their so-called anaesthetic didn't do anything to me. Unfortunately, that was the last thing I heard, or remembered.

I still don't know what I signed.