I was a junior in high school and I had to have back surgery to correct my scoliosis. I didn’t want to admit to anyone how terrified I was going into it because I was supposed to be brave. When we got to the hospital at 5 a.m. and I was changing into the white and blue floral hospital gown, the fear hit me like a car crash. It only intensified from there when the nurse started to prep me for the operation. She rolled her hospital cart in and put the IV on the hanger then swabbed my arm with an ice-cold iodine solution. There were only two other people in the prep room aside from the nurse and myself: one was my father and the other was my youth pastor at the time. My dad was nervous even though he did not express it physically. I could see the tenseness in his eyes. I never noticed before this moment that he cared so much for me. My relationship with my father grew during and after this experience. His compassion, forgiveness and love were all demonstrated to me throughout this event.
Another nurse knocked on my prep-room door-a short, chilling rap at the door cutting through the room like thunder-and informed us that I needed to be in the operating room in 20 minutes. The nurse in my room inserted the needle of the IV in my arm and my body went cold. I realized the magnitude of the surgery that I was about to undergo, at this time I looked up at my father and for a brief moment I saw the concern in his eyes. When the other nurse came back it was time to go. I went rolling down the hospital hallway in my stretcher looking upwards at the ceiling watching the ceiling lights fly by like street lights on the interstate. It was calming in its familiarity. I arrived in the operating room and the anesthesiologist pushed a syringe into my IV and told me to count backwards from ten, I was blacked out before I got to five.
I woke up in a daze seven hours later in a dimly lit hospital room with the only noise coming from me. I was screaming in pain from waking up and trying to move about, I had just recalled that I previously had a back surgery. My dad instantly woke up from the chair which he had been sleeping in and rushed to my bedside to try to comfort me. I was in shock from coming down from the anesthetics and I told him that I felt sick. I was unknowingly shouting insults directed at him. Before he could do anything to help me I started vomiting. The pain was so intense it made my stomach roil and twist like I was drunk on a roller coaster. The swollen and cut muscles in my back were stretching; when it became too unbearable I passed out. I awakened an hour later with my father still by my side. He grabbed my hand and reassured me that it would all be all right. His grip was firm and real and strong. It made me feel like a small child