January 12th, 2011

Going Under the Knife

Karrie McAllister

I have never undergone surgery when I was not at least almost a mother unless you count the incident in 6th grade when I kneeled on a pencil and it jabbed itself into my leg so far that I had to have it surgically removed.  But still, that was local anesthesia and I got to miss a day of school so it was actually kinda cool.

Fast forward twenty or so years and after a couple of c-sections, I find myself returning to the metal table with the bright lights.  This time, though, no babies coming out.  Just tonsils.

It seems that having strep so often that you start charting it right along with your menstrual cycles eventually does a number on your body and antibiotics just start laughing at you (maybe I should have tried a giant dose of Momicillin?) and the doctors say the two most awful words you want to hear:  It’s time.

The date is set and you joke for weeks about how much it is going to hurt and how much you can’t wait for the narcotic induced sleep, let alone the amount of weight you’ll lose after you spend an entire week eating popsicles and Jello.  People tell you horror story after horror story until you just stop listening because you’re strong and if anyone can soar through this whole ordeal, it’s you.

But then before you know it, it’s the day before.  For me, that’s today.

I spent the day in some funky nesting sort of routine, prepping the house for the fact that the one who holds it all together is going to need some glue herself.  The freezer is full of food, the lunches are practically pre-packed.  The laundry is done, the house is clean.  There is nothing left to do but sit.  And think.  And absolutely freak out.

Yes, there’s the searing pain.  That’s one thing.

Yes, there’s the fact that I won’t be able to talk for a few days.  (“A husband’s dream” someone called it.)

Yes, there is the inevitable weight loss from the Jello-ice-narcotics diet I’ll be on.

But there’s also one big thing that’s going to be tough:  The lack of Mom.

Any mom knows that the number of hats we wear is infinite and as prepared as we might possibly be, the most hurt we could ever feel would be if our kid needed us – to sing a song, to read a story, to kiss a boo-boo, or wanted us – to play a game, to push them on the swings, to craft up a giant mess, and we couldn’t do it.  That is just going to kill me.

And so I venture off to the land of a clear throat and a future of less trips to the doctor’s office knowing that I won’t truly heal from all of this until I can, while waking up from a sedative and wearing my smallest pair of skinny jeans, yell at my husband and sing my kids their lullabies.

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Any kid will tell you, there’s nothing worse than cold snow creeping in between your mittens and coat, sending an icy chill right through all the veins in your wrist! But it ALWAYS happens. Solution? Take an old adult sock and put a hole in it for the thumb. Then put it under your child’s coat and mittens. Voila! Just the barrier you need.