|Mantangale Alibuag Resort At Dusk|
Five hours before the operation, I had to decide not to panic (as if it can be done!). Thoughts of who's gonna teach my kids to cook dinner had to be set aside to give way to a more horrible thought: what's the first sign that I have gone somewhere else while under general anesthesia? (This thought seem more bearable than leaving my sons) Definitely, GA is not at R.E.M. level so if I find myself dreaming then I must be somewhere else (not in this world). I had to think this way to set my expectations. Too ashamed to ask my family to go find a priest for a last-minute confession, I made a list of the wrongs I have done (or the right things I have not done) in my head, and then fell asleep in the process. It's like counting sheep; you'll never get to the end of the line.
The room where they took me looked like a very clean morgue (all white except for the light green curtains that are obviously intended to calm patients). Then after 30 minutes, I was on the operating table. I remember hearing them counting their stuff, like it's the count down to oblivion. Then I had to spread my arms wide, as if about to be crucified. Somehow the thought of scenes in the Passion of Christ calmed me down. I'm not exactly religious, but in the hour of my near death, there's absolutely no one else I can depend on...not even my surgeon. "Lord, bless the hands that will open me up!" And then I just let go.
These hours at the OR was so much like the hours on the hammock at Mantangale Beach. Dripping wet after a brief dip into the warm sea, I slept like a baby oblivious of anything or everything around me. It felt like going home.
Later, blurred vision of the ceiling in the recovery room felt like I was in a terminal between heaven and hell or between life and death. I thought I was seeing things with my soul's eyes, seconds before I leave my body. Somebody said it's past 10 in the evening, I was in the OR for 4+ hours and I spent more time in the recovery room. When my bed was wheeled out, I was welcomed by voices telling me my brother won the 2008 SM Pop Music Songwriting Competition. Back in my room, all I can manage to whisper is "Thank you so much for bringing me back to boys who still want to learn how to cook dinner."
Written and published in another blog on Sept. 2008 a week after the operation.
Photo Courtesy of CDOKay.