Day Four: No Rhyme Or Reason

Each day I learn that what I thought was alertness of mind were mere glimpses. For the past four days are sketchy. Full of holes I cannot fill. 

I remember them taking me back to get me ready. Then the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself. Seems a bit odd that this person you meet for perhaps five minutes is going to hold your very life in his hand. 

I feared he would ask the one thing I found odd on the intake papers I filled out at home. And of course he did. 

"So you have lost time?"

He is looking at me, and I think: How to explain something I don't really understand myself? I say yes, I do from time to time. It has been going on since childhood. I am accustomed to it. 

He is still looking at me, waiting for more. I feel compelled by his stare to give him something of consequence to put on his chart. "I sometimes dissociate," I said. 

I know people don't understand. I don't understand. I just know that my brain lifts me up from the fray from time to time and suspends me in mid-air until I can take things in. (More here.)

But why, why would they ask this on a medical form? I've filled out many, and this was the first time it was even hinted of. I felt as though I was giving them too much of myself. Why would they need to know this?

They wheel me into a very cold room and cover me with warm blankets. You feel the sting of antibiotics flow into your arm. Then he puts an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth.

He tells me to take four or five deep breaths of the oxygen. I watch the nurses moving around in preparation.  

Then suddenly it is all gone. Blackness takes over before I even have a chance to see it coming.

Next, in what seems the blink of an eye, but was an hour and a half, I am in recovery and begging for ice chips. The nurse, Kay tells me, says I must slow down. But my throat hurts from the apparatus that went down my throat, and I am so thirsty. 

It is vague putting on my clothes and being wheeled out to my car. I remember using my arm to hoist myself up into the SUV seat. I am suddenly fully awake and full of chatter. 

In and out, in and out, goes my memory of this day. I seem completely lucid at one moment, vague and uncertain the next. 

We are home and I shift myself up into my bed, where the dogs immediately surround me.  

When you go into surgery, you think about possibly dying. What if something happens and I don't wake up? you ask yourself.

The strongest of soldiers will fall along the way, lost to the war that is life. We can wonder why this one and not that one. But that will be an answer we'll never have, so why ask it at all? 


  1. Wow! Brenda. I guess I have not been in the loop for so long that I don't recall your dissociation. You are right, we all have our demons. I hope each day that goes by, you start to feel like you can function as you did before the surgery. Take care...getting in the tub alone frightened careful...ginny

  2. Well, as we have talked about the dissociation I won't go onto that. I imagine he wanted to know about the lost time to make sure there wasn't a brain problem that might be affected by the anesthesia. This was a lovely, poignant post, Brenda. We must live for the moment, because we never know when that moment will be our last. My thoughts have been with sweet Judy and her loss. Keep feeling better. xo Laura

  3. I know it has to be so very hard for you not to be able to be there with her :( And to say your last goodbye to John. :(

  4. I too wonder why the medial associates were asking about time loss. My heart goes out to Judy today as it has this last year with John so sick. It must be one of her worst days ever today. She knows you would be there with her today if you could. It is very hard not to be able to be with a friend during a hard time because of illness or not living close by. I feel that way. I wish I could help during your recovery.

  5. Hi are a champion is all I have to have suffered a lot in your life so I think with everything you have been through you are doing ust fine...things you cannot remember is maybe a blessing...take care sweet lady!! xoxo Carol

  6. You're so right, it's times like this that bring home how fragile our hold on life is. Keep making the most of every day and, like I said before, it's so good Judy has great friends like you, to support her. Hugs, and take care of yourself, too. You're very precious. Chris xx

  7. Brenda, I wish I could be there to help you or Judy or both. I know it's a sad time. Hopefully just knowing there's people who care about your suffering helps. Bless you, xoxo,Susie

  8. Judy is strong now but I think perhaps when everyone goes home, things quiet down and the day to day routines of life resume, she will then grieve fully in her solitude. It is so sad to lose a cherished loved one. It is good that you are her friend, she will need you later on perhaps more than you think. Many people put on a brave front but usually still need the emotional support of family and friends for a long time until they "adjust". Not that you ever do.

  9. You never cease to amaze me with your writing and beautiful wording. Such kind words for Judy. And Lana is right, when its over and calmer, Judy will need you a lot. As for asking you about losing time, anesthetic does some weird things to our brains.

  10. your story makes me think of when we lost my niece unexpectedly and how my sister gets through each day without her. Thinking of you as you heal and prayers for Judy. Take Care.

  11. I have followed your blog as far back as when you were in Texas. Your journey has had alot of dark days. I have gained knowledge from the many trials you have shared through your blog. So although you could not be with Judy today, you will be of enormous strength to her in the coming months. You have turned your life around into happy and bright days. I know you and Judy have alot of good times together ahead for you. You both are blessed to have each other. Take time to heal. We are all wishing for the very best for you.

  12. Wonderful post, Brenda. I'm sorry that you are feeling not only physical pain but heart-ache over the loss of John. Judy will really appreciate your friendship at this time more than ever. I wish you a quick recovery. Hugs, Deb

  13. Thinking of you after you have had surgery and thinking of Judy as she says her last goodbyes to John. Keeping you both in my prayers.

  14. Brenda, I am so touched by your words. Life is such a strange thing isn't it. Comings and goings. I have had Judy and you both on my mind these last few days. Prayers for both of you. I know saying goodbye to John will last longer then this weekend for Judy. She is a strong woman but we all need uplifting at times like this. I know you and all of us are there for her as much as we can be!

  15. Today will be a difficult day for Judy and her family, but the days to come, when she adjusts to her new normal, will be when her cherished friendship with you is most important. I believe you were brought into each other's lives for a reason. Just as Judy was there for you during your time of need, you will be there for her.

    Beautifully written Brenda.

  16. Such a wise and thoughtful post, Brenda...your writing strikes a chord in my spirit. You and Judy have both been in my thoughts in this difficult life season...xo

  17. Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I'm impressed to see how your thoughts go to helping Judy get through this, she has a very good friend in you. I hope you recover quickly and regain mobility.

  18. Wow! Great post! You are such a good writer, Brenda. I've told you before but I'm telling you again that your blog is my favorite and I enjoy reading your posts so much. Hope you are healing fast. Bless you!

  19. of your very best posts yet and a true testament to your writing genius. The last line, about time being the balm for the pain, that's absolutely true. At the time we insist, no, we will never be the same, life will never be the same. But life does go on, one painful step after the other. If we have those we love around us, that's a blessing. And then it's up to us alone as well to find the ways to move on.

    I am praying for Judy, she is really such a precious lady. And I pray you keep getting better.

    Jane xx

  20. I have never known a love like Judy has either Brenda..I can imagine how wonderful it is though..May that love help her through the days ahead of her..when she must truly face her loss and her loneliness..

  21. All so true. We tend to try and not think about death - our own or anyone else's. But we are all dying and not thinking about it won't make it go away.

  22. Brenda,
    Your post today was so touching. So beautifully written. You have such talent. I love your blog so much and look forward to it everyday!
    Margy in KY


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