"Is it going to hurt?" I ask naively, as if I'm only here to have a tooth removed, or to get a shot in my tushi.
The vision of gorgeousness who is a doctor here smiles at me indulgently. A well-practised and perfected smile that means 'Of course it is, you silly woman! We are going to cut you open and fidget around with your insides before we remove the offending organ. Of course it's going to hurt!' But what he says instead is, "Well, a bit. We'll administer anaesthesia, so you won't feel anything. And in case you get up during the operation, we'll have a wide-screen TV where you can watch what's going on." I look dumbstruck and horrified, and realising that I possess absolutely no sense of humour, he hastens to add, "No,no! Relax!I'm just joking" while he pats me gently on my shoulder. Swoon! Even in my mind-altered state, the Cuteness Quotient of the man has not failed to escape my attention.
In the 'orientation' session, they speak to me slowly, as if I am 4 years old, and they show me diagrams and POP models of the reproductive system. I feel like I'm a suicide bomber who is being explained the intricacies of my mission, or an astronaut, about to board the ill-fated Columbia space shuttle, never to return again.
On the day of the operation, they make me change into a robe that has no back and has only string tie-ups. I am required to walk into the operation theatre, which I do sideways so that the good doctors do not catch a glimpse of my (then) dimpled bottom.
While I am sitting upright on the operating table, the doctor, who I have met for the first time in my life, says, "Hi! I'm Dr. So-and-So, and I'm your anaesthetist. Please, be comfortable." He says this quite in the same way that a waiter in some la-di-dah restaurant would say,"Good Evening! I'm John and I'll be your waiter this evening. Here, let me seat you." What the doc really means is, 'Here, let me stick this terrifyingly long epidural into your spine and cause you excruciating and mind-numbing pain, while everyone else around you winces and thanks their lucky stars that it's you at the receiving end instead of them.'
Before the anaesthesia kicks in, all I can think of is-What if they leave something inside me? LIKE A PAIR OF SCISSORS? Or a hand-towel? I have visions of myself soaking up the sun, enjoying an exotic cocktail while on a luxury cruise liner in the Caribbean. This I will be able to afford once they pay me an obscene amount of money as compensation, after I sue the pants off them for leaving stuff inside me. I pass out with a smile on my face. Luckily, I miss all the action, and get up much later, when I am safely tucked in my bed at the hospital. Cute Doc visits me the next day, and I am trying to pretend that I don't look like crap under six layers of crap, and also that there is no cathether attached to my nether regions. All primed and ready to go, in case he wants me to pop out for a quick cup of coffee or something, you know?
The next day, I'm required to walk, unassisted, go to the washroom to do my 'stuff',and to roll over the 'correct'way when the physiotherapist commands me to do so, quite in the way a pet is housebroken. Mercifully, I am not kept on a leash, and my food is served to me in a plate, instead of in a bowl that reads 'Fido'.
I think I can safely say that there is not a single person on the staff of that hospital who hasn't in some way poked or prodded me, lifted my clothes up to inject me in the rump with something, or generally to observe how things were coming along down there. The only thing I didn't do was walk across the hallway stark naked, but, if each person sees a different part of my body each time he lifts my hospital gown up, then that's pretty much the same thing as seeing me nude, in instalments, isn't it? So by that logic, Cute Doc has seen me in the buff, but strangely enough (to my complete and utter bewilderment) no passionate affair has resulted. Go figure!
When I leave, I carry away with me memories of an enema, and a catheter, but I must say that the experiences involving these two objects were minimally traumatic, and have left no permanent scars on my psyche. My mother, instead of being a mother in the manner of good mothers from storybooks, told me a chilling story just before the operation, about an enema that involved a contraption consisting of a can and a pipe and warm soapy water, that was used many years ago on a friend of hers. This, I'm sure, was done in an attempt to scare the living daylights out of me, and to satisfy some sadistic streak in her. For now, I have decided not to bring it up in conversation, but am plotting to exact revenge on her when she's an old woman and hospitalised for some age-related ailment, and when she probably won't even remember who I am , because, hey, sadistically speaking, the apple really doesn't fall that far from the tree.