War Paint and The Zodiac Pendants


“Mrs. M., your war paint doesn’t fool me.”

It was conveyed to me by a warm, tight hug from a near stranger. I met Ms. F. about a month ago. We don’t interact frequently. And yet, she was the most comforting on this turbulent day. It settled my buzzing mind and filled my lungs with fresh air.

It is moments like those where the best qualities of humanity shine through.

Rewind. 10:13AM EST. My Blackberry rang out a techno beat and nearly buzzed off of the small, black end table. 412-xxx-xxxx. “Local. Answer it.” The woman on the other end sounded official. “I’m from Magee Women’s Hospital.”

Oh.

Rewind again. 8:14AM EST. There I was, looking at my personal email. “Might as well get this over with. I opened the email containing the video to explain my procedure. As if I needed to be reminded so early. I’ve been scouring to put scraps of information together. I watched the procedure done in cartoonesque form. At the end, there was a warning. “IV sedation may cause a life-threatening reaction that could result in death.

Comforting.

Fast-forward back to the phone conversation. She wanted to know absolutely every last detail of my medical history. She asked, “Any psychiatric problems – depression, anxiety. “Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder.” How is this relevant?

She asked about previous surgeries. “Cryosurgery,” I answered. “On your cervix?”. “Yes.

“Oh.”

Those responses weren’t comforting. Thank goodness for my sister who has made it a point to spend her free time with me this week. My phone conversation ended and I was quiet for a moment. “You know ‘The Voice’?” She nodded. “It’s screaming in the back of my head.

It screamed for most of the day. Garbled monologues of hundreds of voices at once. I could only manage to grab a few at a time. “I’m scared out of my mind.” “What if…” “I don’t like losing control.”

I am okay. I am going to be okay. Maybe not right away. But soon enough. I am in good care. I can give my trust. I can let go.

Mantras.

Am I that translucent?

I can’t wear any jewelry. Quirk number 8, I am superstitious about my capricorn and taurus charms. I have not been without them in awhile. I wore it on my wedding day in my bra. It was around my neck the day T.D. was born. I wasn’t without it during my last surgery. This time, I have no choice. C.S. has agreed to wear them for me.

5:30AM EST, I will be prepping at Magee Women’s hospital. 7:30AM is the procedure. If I have to have C.S. post for me tomorrow, I will.

I consider you my friends, my equals, my inspiration, and the source for strength and wisdom. Like Ms. F., we are relatively strangers. But you’ve given me so much.

Thank you in advance for your encouragement, thoughts, and prayers. I am forever in debt for your compassion and the courage you have bestowed upon me. My gratitude is beyond any words in any language.

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2 thoughts on “War Paint and The Zodiac Pendants

  1. I was brought into this world at Magee-Women’s Hospital. The minute I saw that (why I didn’t make the connection before, I don’t know), I knew you were going to be fine. It may not calm you much, but trust in me, and trust what I know.

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