All is well with me.
The implanted portion of my cochlear implant is implanted. I have a big white bandage over my ear with gauze wrapped around my head reminiscent of the wounded Revolutionary War soldier playing the drum in the picture that hung on my fifth grade class wall.
I am sitting up in bed, waiting for the first big snowfall of the year. The curtains I bought last week to replace our old blinds are pulled back and tucked behind the radiator, leaving a triangle of window, just enough. Across the street, a porch light glows yellow on an old stucco house. Otherwise it is dark, a night waiting to sparkle.
I remember a few things about the surgery. Not a lot. I remember being overwhelmed by how many people were in the operating room and feeling comforted by the nurses’ thumbs up signals. I remember the young man who was the anesthesiologist reaching under my gown to put the monitor tabs on my chest and then gently pulling my gown up and folding over the top of the blanket so it was neat across my shoulders. I remember the mask on my face and telling myself to close my eyes and see myself paddling in the front of our canoe across Grand Sable Lake. So I closed my eyes and paddled.
I remember a feeling of relinquishment and trust.
When I woke up, I was sick. And my daughter and husband were looking at me, worried but trying not to show it, talking with nurses, making arrangements. A young woman with a braid down her back helped me get dressed, threading my underwear and jeans up my legs like you would a toddler’s. I couldn’t believe that after four hours in surgery they were sending me home. Another feeling of relinquishment and trust, this one less serene. I thought they knew what they were doing; I must be okay enough to leave. So leave I should.
The ride home was long and sickening, the nausea from the anesthesia worse than the pain in my head. But being home, lying down in our bed was like crawling up on to my mother’s lap. The nurses were right. It was time for more relinquishment and trust, time to let myself be taken care of by my daughter, to feel her gentle calmness fill the room, to have her tell me what would happen next. To have her listen for me and make me toast.
I woke in the middle of the night and my husband and I talked about the day. What he did while he was waiting, who said what, how it all worked. We talked for a half hour and went back to sleep, my husband lying on a makeshift pile of pillows while all the good pillows were propping me up so I could sleep sitting up. I sat next to him while he slept, looking out the window at the light across the way, knowing I would feel well in the morning.