Birthday

So the nurse hands me the mask and says to put it on and trots off to her other duties.

I put the mask on and wait to be called into the operating room where Heather is being prepped. She’s only a few feet away and I wink and wave to her through the open door and think to myself that the mask is a little tight but I’m no doctor and my experience of this kind of thing is severely limited and if I try to tie it again I’ll only fuck it up anyway and then they call me in and it’s too late and there I am sitting by her head with a little hospital green fabric screen erected over her chest to separate us up at the thinking end from the action down at the plumbing end. As they start to do the caesarean, I’m whispering to her and trying to keep her calm and me calm and why is it that I think this is important; to be calm, ever so calm, even casual about the whole affair?

Maybe I don’t want to disturb the doctors or I think they’ll think I’m an asshole for getting excited about this most everyday occurrence and it’s important to be cool and maintain a sense of distracted disinterest as if I have something else on my mind; something really deep and important and if they’ll pick up the pace a little I can return to my important and impressive life which they can only imagine to have a glimpse of, these dirty little surgeons; these gory mechanics.

Did you know they use scissors to cut holes in ladies? I can’t say I’ve observed this but the sound of it is quite unmistakable. This girl at the art school where I work had a baby about four months prior to ours and her husband had left her quarantined head area and gone to the other end to watch the caesarean and had gone on and on about how cool it was to see her opened up like a fillet and all the organs and drains and pipes and conduits and junction boxes and this thing is connected to that thing and he had really wanted to do a bit of the stitching but he couldn’t convince the doctor, even as he was trying to edge him over and get in there.

This seemed a bit on the extreme side but I maintain a rather strong interest in the sciences and this crossed my obviously not busy enough mind while I was listening to the music of the scissors over the little green hospital screen and I started to wonder what was really going on over there. I mean, I might be missing the chance of a life time and not even might but definitely am and by god I’m going to go have a look at my son being born and what the insides of a live corpse look like because I am a man of science, yes science, creator and destroyer of worlds; a glimpse into, and I do mean into, one of the secrets of life, the very meaning of life. And there is no way I’m gonna let those doctors think they know something I don’t know and what with it being only just over the little green hospital screen, all I have to do is stand up and take a look. And if it’s not to scary I’ll mosey on ’round to where the action is because I belong where the action is because I am a man of science. But first I’ll take just a little peek because even though I am a man of action and a man of science it has always been the dry sciences, math and archaeology and sociology and a hand full of other ologies which did not require me to cut into anything that might put up a fight. But after all how different is one science from another? In fact, they are all one continuous inquiry with a bunch of specialists. Damn the specialists! Where are the Renaissance men? The big picture men with the big minds and the big curiosities? I’ll tell you where they are, they’re right here behind the screen and here I go to take a look, a peek, a glimpse, whatever; I will not be denied!

“I’ll be right back honey, I’m right here with youuuu”…..What the hell is that? Some blood on the sheet. I don’t see any gore. It’s just a bit of blood. I didn’t see any skin at all, the nurse was in the way. Just a bit of pinky reddy linen and man, is it warm in here or is it just me? I mean I can hardly breath! This mask is so tight I can barely pull a breath through it! A hot breath and there is no air in here! No air at all! And this mask is choking me like a noose; can’t breath. Pulling it open from the bottom trying to find some air in this vacuum and how am I going to phrase this? “Honey, I’ll be right back. I just need to go out and get a bit of air. Don’t worry. I’ll be right back.” How can I say this and put a good spin on it and where the hell is the air in here? This mask is so tight it’s like a lamprey on my mouth; like that thing in Alien when it sucks onto that guys face. It’s definitely going to look bad if I throw up in the operating room. That’ll be the end of my proving to these doctors what an interesting and learned colleague I am but the thing is I cannot breath and this mask is not only tight but getting tighter. It’s gripping my throat and crushing the bridge of my nose and I’m prying the bottom open with my left index finger in a nonchalant manner so as not to call attention to myself and I think I’ve managed to open it just enough to get a stream of oxygen molecules through when I realize that my stomach is unhappy and what was I thinking when I had breakfast? Oh yes, I remember thinking that this would be a good day to skip eating since I am rather sensitive in the tummy department but it’s way to late now but I’ll probably pass out before I hurl because I CANNOT BREATH!

At this very moment the surgeon chirps “Well, there’s his behind” and suddenly I am transported to an oxygen rich atmosphere, cool and breezy and seconds later they are handing him over their heads from hand to hand and they slide him under the heat lamps and I think to myself that this baby-warmer temperature-stabilizing unit is not only very like the french fry warmer at the fast food joint, it is the french fry warmer at the fast food joint and I wonder if anyone else has noticed this scam and I am in awe of the medical supply guy but hey, look how cool that kid is. My kid I suppose but anyway he is very very cool and he’s there and I guess I should go say hello and I do and he looks at me because he knows my voice and they stick a tube into his nose and down his throat to clear his lungs and he cries and cries until I say “it’s ok buddy” and he calms right down and the power I have over this little one becomes all too clear. I will be able to mess with him for the rest of my life.

5 Responses to Birthday

  1. Dave Lavoie says:

    My best memory of when Darlene had the c-section for Abigail was the look on Jonathan’s face when he sees me going into the OR all suited up in the surgical garb and he says to me “Are there going to be doctors in there too?”.
    By the way, I was way too chicken to look over the green screen. I figured there was way too much expensive equipment I would take out on the way down and I was pretty sure the insurance wasn’t going to cover it.

  2. Barbara Edelstein says:

    I remember the day and the look of pure joy on your face when you came out of the delivery room and sighed, “He’s so cool”. And so, my boy, are you.

  3. sonja lange says:

    children are game changers aren’t they

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