You know how it is when you have a lot on your mind. Pressing things like...oh...female surgery? Getting there on time. Knowing it's for your good, but not wanting to go through it. Blood. The commute. People you're not used to seeing every day. Dealing with the darkness of soul and yet confident that God is light (if you're a believer). Not getting to eat what you want beforehand, and nothing after midnight, and when the pre-op instructions have you on a liquid diet the day before, you feel that TWO days before you should get to pick whatever you want as your "last meal"--something akin to the major decision a prisoner on death row requests. Wondering if men can at all relate to losing the internal part that holds a baby and you know darn well they can't.
Well, all of that has been stirring both in my consciousness and my subconsciousness. Enter last night's crazy dream:
I'm startled awake and see that the clock says 5:31 a.m. I'm so upset! I'm supposed to be AT the hospital at 5:30 to check in for my 7:30 surgery. I throw on a winter coat, hop in the convertible (which is red, not taupe like Sarah's real one) and drive through town. Except instead of it being Baltimore City, it's Sterling, Kansas, a little one-horse town where I grew up.
And instead of the sun coming up, it's going down--fast. So fast that by the time I get to the first stop sign, it's pitch black. I'm lost. I stop to ask directions to the hospital, but the locals only point west; they are gawking at the scene on Sterling Lake: two beautiful homes sitting on the island, lit up and welcoming, but distant. I'd rather stay and be drawn to the light, but I rev the engine and keep driving.
I come to a gas station. By this time it's high noon and I ditch the winter coat onto the highway.
My tank is full, but I am still lost and have to pee, so I pull over to gas station. I'm thinking "good luck finding help way out here in No Man's Land". But suddenly, before I've cut off the engine, half a dozen friendly male rednecks appear beside, in front of , and behind the red convertible.
"Hi, sweetie, what can we do fer ya?" the one says, in an accent like Larry the Cable Guy's. He has a wad of chew in his left cheek.
"Um, I need a hospital," I say to the smiling six-pack.
"What fer?" says another. "You got prollems?"
"Yeh, I got problems," I say. "Need surgery."
"Surgery!" exclaims the third, whose fly is afraid of heights. "What on earth does a pretty little lady like you need surgery for?"
Before I can answer (in vague terms), they all six say, as if a choir, "We'll gladly have the surgery instead of you." Grammar is not their strong suit, obviously. It's not like you can have an operation or a person, but I let it go.
"Aww, thanks, fellas," I say, "I'm truly touched. That's so nice of you. But I'm pretty sure you couldn't have this kind of surgery even if you wanted to."
They look at me and then at each other. I wonder if they think I'm getting a boob job. Suddenly I'm so self-conscious I don't have to pee anymore, and I rev the turbo engine again and zoom off into the distance.
I get to the hospital at 6:48, hungry. I realize that in my hand I'm holding a log of lard. I ask at the nurse's station if they have scissors to cut the wrapper off my lard. The nurse says, "NPO, honey. NPO." I think she doesn't know how to spell "NOPE" and I am seriously getting nervous about entrusting my entire body into their care. Then she says to me, like I'm the dummy, "It means Nothing
By Mouth. AFter midnight, honey, and it's almost seven o'clock!"
"Oh," I say, clutching my log of lard to my bosom. "You're right. I was going to go on a date with my husband last night and we were going to eat whatever we wanted. He was going to get country fried steak and I was gonna have crab bisque and cheesecake. But we didn't have a babysitter so we had oatmeal and a can of green beans instead."