Snore-A-Long: It’s a Guy Thing

The doc calls out, after the nurse waves me to the surgery waiting room, “See you in 4 hours!’

Four hours?  I can handle 4 hours of imagining Shaun’s knee near a reciprocating saw, right?

Um. No. I will surpass “train wreck” and go right to “please sedate me soon” status within an hour.

I wobble down the unnaturally bright hallway.  An open door leads invitingly to a windowless, very dark, unlit room.  Oh. Shaun has the first surgery. No one else is here yet.

There’s a dirty bundle linen wadded up on one of the chairs. Blech. I calm myself. Ohmmmmmm. Surely no orderly would leave Ebola infected linens lying around?

Note to self: buy purse large enough to hide industrial-sized can of spray disinfectant.

I walk in. The dirty linen is wearing a baseball cap and snoring. I don’t turn on the light. Poor soul has probably been up all night waiting on a surgical outcome from the emergency room.

I scan for a seat at a reasonable distance from the snoring linen.

That’s when I realize a total of five men are sprawled, draped and squashed around the room, all sound asleep, on what amounts to deluxe bus stop benches that the hospital is trying to pass off as sofas and chairs. (They’re padded! They have backs!)

I wedge myself into a dark corner, in one of a handful of “chairs”.

They are all snoring. Loudly. Emphatically. It’s an Opus of snoring. A remarkably harmonic symphony of snoring. It’s snoring as Wagner would have composed. It’s Ride of the Valkyries snoring. This has to be the work of Mr. Chips.

I try not to worry about Face-Plant guy. He’s sleeping face down, in a sort of road-kill position. Is it possible to be dead and still snore?

I sit quietly, lulled by Guy Snoring.

30 minutes go by before I realize I’m NOT ANXIOUS. This is so unexpected, I’m shocked to find I’m amused.  The Guy Snoring seems to have a serene, calming effect on my nerves.

Dear Universe,

I apologize for thinking you forgot me on the humor-front. This is awesome!.


I email a description of this epic cacophony to Daisy and Bella. They’re already at work. (Frankly, there’s probably a pre-arranged plan for how they are going to share tasks in The Great Jane Surgery Meltdown.)

Jane: You are so never going to believe this.

Bella: ?? Everything ok?

Daisy: There’s no way she could have died already.  What?

Jane: I’m fine. I’m in a dark waiting room.  There’s five guys sound asleep.  One looks dead, but he’s not.  They are all SNORING.  Loudly. Zzzz’s to the nth power. It’s so…relaxing

Bella: Bwahahahahahaha. Yeah, guy snoring is pretty soothing.

Daisy: Jesus. It could only happen to you.

It’s so totally cool: I don’t need redirection, damage control, or a blanket fort!

I selfishly pray they have four more hours of sleep left in them. I relax, open my iPad, and  begin to kill zombies.  Life is good. Nothing like a zombie with a pat of butter on its head.

I’m defending my roof from giant zombies with flamingo crossing sign clubs,


as three women arrive to shake awake three of my symphony members. I manage not to stomp my foot: hopefully they have good news about their loved one?

In moments, there are 4 guys in various stages of waking. Dang. Wait…wait…face-plant-is-he-dead guy is going to sleep on. Relief. Still snoring.

They talk quietly in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, but I understand enough to know they are discussing getting something to eat. The talk veers into stuff I don’t understand, except for the word ‘hospital’. It gets quiet. It’s clear they are waiting for an update from staff.

The room feels elevator-sized with eight people not sleeping. We all look at the door. Avoid eye contact. Lone snoring fills the air. I go back to silently killing zombies.

Music. Someone brought a radio? It’s playing softly, but distinctively. I cheer up.  Thank the Universe again. Because it’s Mariachi music. (Trumpets! Violins! Harp! Guitar! Guitarron! Vihuela!) It’s happy.  It’s cheerful.  It’s completely out of place.

Enya would have reduced me to a sobbing mess.  Mariachi?  Bring on the pinata, and pass the paper plates.  Frankly, it’s as good as five guys snoring.

Mariachi.  The perfect anxiety antidote.  It goes pretty well with killing zombies too. I love it when The Universe decides what I need.  I rarely get it right.

How has The Universe surprised you, in your time of need?

The Waiting Room

Our beloved family member had surgery on Monday, and it went very well.  So well, in fact, we had to sit on her to keep her from, oh I don’t know, GOING SHOPPING.

If I had to condense my part of the experience it would go something like this:

worry worry worry

anxiety worry worry fear worry

is that food? no? I should eat anyway worry worry munch munch worry

worry I know! I need a slab of cake worry worry anxiety munch munch worry

Oh no! my pants don’t fit sob rend worry worry anxiety I bet what I really need to do is eat more to ease the tension worry worry worry munch munch munch

stuff patient in car worry FEAR worry worry worry

drive worry worry “oh for heaven’s sake, don’t drive past the hospital!” disgust

worry worry worry

This is my brain on “Oh No, A Surgery!”

I thought once we arrived, it might get easier.  I’ve noticed stuff gets easier once you pass the point of being capable of action. (It’s difficult to snatch the patient back once they’ve been whisked away to pre-op.)

I stare around the waiting room.  At first, nothing registers, except it’s pleasant.

Then I panic. Oh God.  The waiting room is pleasant to the point of soothing. There’s the sound of a fountain trickling, the lighting is fresh feeling.  Plants flourish. The walls are a muted make-everyone’s-skin-look-good pink, more suited to a spa or dermatology office. There’s a sculpture.  A book of patient poetry.

The chairs are clean.  Soft.  Pastel printed. I clamp my hand over my mouth.


No one puts this much effort into a hospital waiting room unless soothing relatives is an absolute requirement.

Last year, when the doctor expected an ‘outpatient procedure’ to be in and out, she did almost die. The 15 min procedure went on for 2 hours, then 3, then 4…I had to stop looking at the clock.

I had waited perched on an ancient coffee-stained sofa, wedged in a dark hallway corner. Daisy and Lily both came after I called them in a panic, when the 2 hour mark passed.  We alternated standing and sitting. A large nurses station, populated with harrassed, annoyed nurses, was positioned between me and the operating room doors.

No fountain. No plants. No mood lighting. No magazines at that hospital: they did not expect any problems.

I look up from this memory in horror.

A nurse smiles at me soothingly from the beige-pink counter.  “She’s going to be fine”, the nurse says, with true compassion.

I have to get her out.

The nurse sees my escalating panic and misreads me, saying “She’s already in surgery, don’t worry, she’ll be out in fifteen minutes.”


Thought 2: Where the heck is the cafeteria?!?

Post-Op: she’s fine. It only took 13 minutes. In at 7 am, out at 10:30 am and driving home.  Crossing my fingers for the next surgery.

I really have to find a better way to deal with stress.

For those of you who are not hard-wired to eat in times of stress, what helps you cope?