I’ve never had an anesthetic. Not the type that knocks you out. Deadens the nerves… out cold, whilst strangers peeping over blue masks push and pull….poke silver instruments inside my floppy white body.
Mum retells a memory from her childhood. An infectious memory which seeped into my memory bank.
“When I was seven I’ll never forget the doctors forcing a mask over my face…..ahhh….I was absolutely terrified….I couldn’t breathe. I was pushing them away.” I listen. Quietly traumatised. Filing the horror away in a corner of my brain marked boldly in red….ANXIETY.
The anxiety file…an ever expanding index of things to fear, things to avoid, things to share with my children. Fear is to be avoided, it’s unsafe….it shatters the nerves.
“It makes me nervous when you do that” I tell my children.
Many things make me nervous. Living with my elderly father makes me nervous of potential tripping hazards.
“Pick up that pen, someone could trip on that.”
“You see that cord…tuck it in….Poppy could get his foot caught in that.”
My daughter went on school camp when she was ten. My twelve year old son had been on the same camp two years earlier.
“You’re not going to let her do the high ropes are you Mum?”
“Why….do you think it’s too dangerous?”
“I don’t think she’ll like it.”
I write a note to the school. ‘If my daughter doesn’t feel she wants to do the high ropes, please don’t force her.’
“I felt stupid being the only one not doing the high ropes…it’s all because you listened to him….. it’s just because of your fears Mum” my daughter accuses.
She went on another camp when she was eleven.
“Will you let me go on the equipment this time Mum?”
“Yes….if you want to….if you really feel you want to…not just because you feel you have to. “
“Yes….I really want to!”
“If you change your mind, you can always get out of it.” Like I have all my life.
“I won’t…I can’t wait!” she shrieks in excitement.
I pick her up from camp.
“How did you go…did you do the ropes?”
“Well…the instructor chose me to demonstrate putting the harnesses on. Then he told me to go on up…seeing as I was all ready.”
“I climbed up there…but Mum….I was so nervous…I couldn’t jump.”
“That’s OK…at least you tried.” More than I could have done.
“It’s all because of you Mum….you made me too scared to do it.”
My daughter recently returned from her first high school camp.
“Mum…..I did it….I did everything!”
“Yes……I was so nervous…I was terrified. I nearly fainted. I was crying and I thought I’d have to come down….but….I DID IT!”
The anesthetic I’m having in four days makes me want to cancel. The hospital phoned today.
“Ms White….I see you are scheduled for a procedure on Tuesday and we can’t seem to find any paperwork.”
“No….I haven’t sent it yet….I’m a bit nervous.”
She doesn’t hear me. “Do you have time now…we could go over it on the phone.”
“Ahhh…no I don’t right now. I’ll drop it in this afternoon….or tomorrow.”
This afternoon has become late evening and tomorrow will become the next day. Nerves and anxiety equate to dilemmas and delay. I’d rather write about nerves than face them.