Be careful how you wish, for wishes can come true
Be sure that every wish you make is one that’s right for you
So many people find their happiness in dreaming
But dreams can fool you, and they very often do
Be careful how you wish, remember when you start
To only wish for things you really want with all your heart
And don’t go chasing every rainbow in the blue
What more is there to wish than to know that the one that you love loves you
— Be Careful How You Wish, The Incredible Mr. Limpet
Voices over loudspeakers. Cold. Everything reeking of sterility and isopropyl alcohol. My blurry vision was blinded by intense incandesence.
I felt weak; I could barely move….
And then, what can only be described as the agony of a heavyset Sicilian lady stomping grapes on your abdomen while a Xenomorph is trying to dodge her gruff dance of joy to burst from your body kicked in.*
Unfortunately, the morphine had not.
*Actual post-op picture; no, really, I’m serious.
I kept moaning something along the lines of “man, this fucking hurts” over and over, a mantra of relief and regret, a plea to the gods of synthetic drugs to make the pain go away.
“Of course it hurts, you just got out of surgery”, said my father, gently smiling, serene, stroking my hair as I stiffened with pain as the general anesthesia kept sticking its tongue out mockingly, bidding farewell to another sucessful act of corporal mutilation.
Dad immediately paid $200 to the staff for them to integrate the morphine drip into my IV to alleviate my suffering.*
*Surgery is a complete package deal; post surgery amenities always cost extra, just like a cheap motel
Post surgery recovery went surprisingly well; though I had more tubes sticking out of my body than Geppetto’s dungeon dolls (don’t ask how I know this), everything seemed on the up and up. According to my surgeon, the procedure required a total of three days to complete – one day for surgery, the next for observation, and the third for early morning discharge.
Everything was going great.
And then I stopped peeing.
My body temperature went supernova; I went delirious.
You see, doctors had warned me that there was a 1% chance (if I remember correctly) that my body would perceive my sutures as a foreign object, invade the intruder with impunity, therefore unraveling the work done on my digestive system.
As luck would have it, I would not be part of the Wall Street 1%; I was now a member of the Profusely Hemorraghing Organs Club, leaking bodily fluids all over my insides, becoming a caustic human water balloon.
After an emergency X-ray, I was immediately wheeled in to the operating room in a frantic bid to avoid my body going into sepsis.
Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.
I was put under, and doctors immediately got to work on repairing the damage to my fresh wounds, hurriedly stopping the spread of bile, chemicals, pus, and other delicious cocktail of fluids swirling around wreaking havoc on my immune system.
And then, a funny thing happened.
I woke up.
In the middle of surgery.
I’ve always said the Universe is not without a sense of humor; it’s just very dark, bleak, ironic, and precise.
And so, I felt an itching at my nose that I needed to scratch very badly. That’s the moment I mindlessly decided in my feverish, anesthesia-induced delirium to start pulling out the nasogastric tube (NG tube from now on, for the sake of brevity and laziness) and rip it straight out of my nose, in the process tearing through my esophagus and causing further damage to what was already a delicate, fragile body undergoing extreme duress.
*A handy creative commons picture of an NG tube; definitely not for the squeamish.
Did I mention I used to smoke menthols like a chimney?
Here comes the plot twist.
Everything was dark, yet audibly clear; I could vividly hear the voices of doctors and medical profesionals losing their shit, barking orders, desperately praying to the gods of malpractice to spare them from the wrath of a lawsuit. I felt the equivalent tonnage of the Titanic pressing against my chest; I couldn’t breath, yet I was strangely calm, dreaming.*
*Later I would learn that’s how it feels to go into respiratory arrest.
You see, my lungs were weak from years of smoking, and the stress of pulling out my NG tube, doctors restraining me, and two straight days of anesthesia was the perfect condition for my body to stop fighting.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I died.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it….
PS. No worries, the coma is just right around the corner.