“Don’t eat anything after midnight and make sure you have your bath before midnight.”
The nurses said to me as they were preparing me mentally for what was about to take place. I had not had major surgery before and all surgeries come with one risk factor; the possibility of bleeding to death. I channeled all the fear I had into prayer, and trusted God to hold my hands through it all.
The night before my operation, I slept like a baby. In fact my aunty had to call to wake me up at 5am to start getting ready, because she was coming to get me. My brother, his wife and my cousin also accompanied us to the hospital. On getting there, when they were about to put my IV in, I was fidgeting. The nurse laughed saying—weren’t you the one anxious to get this done?
I know, but I just hate needles! I’ve been traumatized by those little suckers since I was a little kid.
Before I went into the OR, my family prayed with me and waited anxiously for the procedure to be over. The doctor estimated that it was going to last for about three hours and they had blood ready for transfusion, just in case I lost a lot during operation.
The anesthesiologist came into the room trying to scare me, just to see if I was full of fear. But I wasn’t shaken by his antics and he was surprised. He went ahead to say—“this must be the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. Did you sleep the night before?”
Yes I did, I answered back. The sleep was so good, that I had a hard time getting up. He was in awe! He said that most people when they know they are about to have major surgery which requires them going under anesthesia, they get so fearful and don’t sleep the night before. But your girl loves her sleep; nothing is worth her losing sleep over. Although I wanted epidural instead so I could be awake, but the team advised against it, stating that I would move during the procedure.
Count from one to ten, they said. 1,2,3,4zzzzzzzz... and I was out. This was about 9am, and the next time I opened my eyes was 10:30am, yes the surgery lasted half the time the doctors had predicted, there was minimal blood loss but no need for transfusion. Everything went well.
As soon as they woke me up, I was screaming—Pain! Pain!
I was in some much anguish, but they said they had to take me to the recovery room before I was going to be put on any pain medication. The surgery site hurt so badly. Then I struggled to take the oxygen mask off and the nurse put it back.
“Hold my hand, hold my hand!” I said to her.
Okay I will, let me record this information on the database.
“Hold my hand!” I continued
Poor nurse, she had to leave what she was doing to have her fingers interlocked with mine. Then I felt safe. Maybe I thought I was slipping away, it also felt like I was running out of breath and I just needed someone to be there with me. Plus I love to hold hands, so hey! That was what I requested for when I woke up.
Then they careful wheeled me back to the recovery room where my family came in to see me. There were no complications during or even after the surgery, thank God. The surgeon did a great job and you can rarely see the place he made the incision. A lot of people are often left with bad scars, but mine is as good as invisible.
I also recovered very quickly. With each passing day I got stronger and stronger. In fact the doctor brought a patient into my room one day asking me to talk to her about what I went through and also answer her burning questions because she was afraid to go under the knife.
I felt much lighter, once I was free from those tumors. They were so huge that my aunts couldn’t believe I had no clue I was carrying those things around for months until I came home.
After my recovery I arranged for my personal items to be sent to me from America. Thank God for the friends I have who are more like sisters to me. They packed up my apartment, sold my furniture and car. And then had the remaining things shipped to me. I don’t know how I would have done it without them. I had to cancel the lease on my apartment plus pay them one month rent. I explained my sad situation to them and they were like yeah, we are sorry that happened but you have to pay us one month rent because you broke your lease. Ah Martha! I thought we were friends?
Once that was out of the way, I went ahead to register for the dreaded NYSC program. Can you imagine, old mama like me doing camp with people who just graduated college. Well I spent only one night at camp, I used my recent surgery as an excuse; no time!
The Creative Journey
But before camp started I had a few months. People were suggesting all sorts for me to do with my time. I knew I was no longer interested in engineering (shhhh… don’t tell my father), so I really had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My brother suggested that I go into some business venture of some sort.
But Lord knows I don’t have it in me to drag people for money. My friend asked me to go see her former boss for a possibility for an internship and quite frankly I had no business going there. Because they operated in a field I did not have interest in. Still I went to see the man.
He went ahead to advise me to apply for a masters in engineering, and I’m like who gon pay for that? I am not interested in going back to school. He then went ahead to ask me what my passion was and honestly at that moment I did not know. Then he told me to go and think about my life. I just wanted everything to fall into place and in my own timing, but that wasn’t happening. Looking back now I am wondering why I was stressing myself when I still had a full year of service to do.