Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Great Surgeon

Have you witnessed from above the clouds, the perfectly organically shaped river carving through the earth? The valleys and streams, so well marked and painted, towering below you, and puffy lightness dressed in pure white, occasionally clouding your view? Chiseled, I would say. The same word a close friend used while staring into our newborn daughters face. Chiseled.

You can't fake greatness. Height and depth of knowledge, unclouded skill. Experience chiseled procedures, down to an art and a science.

Mike and I arrived at the hospital, all ready to go for my Thymectomy. It almost felt like we should be stopping at Dunkin' Donuts for an iced coffee, because it was so nice to be together in the morning, and that's our 'going-on-an-excursion' routine. But I was good and fasted since Midnight. I dozed off slightly in the admission waiting room, and was awake again until I remember a cute little resident guy putting a gas mask on me, telling me it was oxygen and that I would soon feel sleepy, yup. There I went into sleep again.

I don't really know exactly what went on during that nap, but I do totally trust my great surgeon. It was from about 1:30pm until 5:30pm, when I remember Mike talking to me while I was in and out of consciousness, realizing the surgery was over. I find it absolutely amazing that in a little 5 inch incision and the surgeon was able to get my whole thymus gland out, which apparently descended longer than usual. Not that this is a usual anyway. From what I can gather, I was on my back, stretched with my head back, I had a breathing tube, and the surgeon went in behind my sternum and got the enlarged gland.

It was a totally new experience for me. The anticipation was a lot worse than the actual day and event. Actually, my only really bad day of anticipation was the Saturday night and Sunday beforehand. Me and my vivid imagination couldn't fathom someone going inside my body and taking something out. Not to mention in one of the sensitive areas of my body. (I never really liked anyone touching the front of my neck.) I had creepy fears of a slashed throat and that the knife would slip and my head would cut off, and proceed to roll on the floor of the operating room. Then what would they do!? This did not happen. Plus, Mike reassured me that this was ridiculous and would not happen.

This fascinates me. A Thymectomy is such a rare procedure, but my surgeon is an expert. He even uses tools that were designed for him. For me and countless others around me, it was a different and rare procedure, and abnormal day for us. For my surgeon, this was probably a standard "day at the office" with an interesting "case."

As they were rolling me down the hall to the operating room, I caught a glimpse of my surgeon going into the elevator, and the nurse said, "There's your doctor!" You probably would not pick him out of a bunch. The same way you wouldn't peg Isaac Stern as a master violinist or my relative as a navy seal. It is definitely not a God that we see that carves out the rivers and streams and pulls the mountains out of the earth. All work in their expert chiseling.

I am so grateful for their expertise.