It’s a fact that I have enormous issues with general anesthesia. It used to be that after surgery, I’d spend the next week regurgitating my mashed potatoes and pudding. That was fun. So after much trial and error, the ideal cocktail was discovered and inserted into the magic IV line. Now, I no longer throw-up, but I do cry for days on end. Sigh. Nothing is perfect. It never is, is it?
I cannot control myself. After I become somewhat cognizant of my surroundings, post-surgery, I immediately weep. Nothing and everything sets me off. No one and everyone gets on my nerves. Even the dogs. Poor dogs.
I am, by nature, a crier. This proclivity probably began in childhood, when the way to get any attention was to weep loudly or vomit. Weeping was easier to produce, like when the sadistic neighborhood boy plowed me down with his banana seat bicycle (resulting in tire tracks down the front of my Raggedy Ann T-shirt) or when my sisters locked me in a closet, beat on the door with a belt and pretended they were from “Dark Shadows.” Therapy, anyone?
My mother was always busy and there was little time for one-on-one attention, so I forced it. One time I fell down the staircase and although I wasn’t hurt in the least, I wailed like I lost a collar bone. Or, when my brother made me stick a bobby pin in a light socket and I landed on my butt, shocked and horrified, my wails could be heard from Wilkes-Barre to Connecticut. Insta-attention.
But having said that, I think I’m just hardwired a little differently than most people. I see a child in the store with pants that are too small and a mother who doesn’t care and I spring tears like a geyser. I cry when my children criticize me, unknowingly or knowingly, and I cried so much during “The Shawshank Redemption” I’m forbidden from ever watching it again. Ditto for “Breaking Bad” and re-runs of “Little House on the Prairie.” I cry during Christmas Eve mass, I cry during every episode of “Extreme Weight Loss” and don’t even get me started on the new Extra chewing gum commercial.
However, tears after surgery are extreme and consistent. But aren’t tears better than outbursts of anger? My husband seems to think it’s a draw.
That makes me cry.
So here I lie, two weeks post surgery and Nancy just came home, gathered up the dogs and asked them how they were feeling. I whimpered.
“What’s wrong now?” he harrumphed.
“You asked the dogs how they were feeling and you didn’t ask me,” I wept.
Disturbed sigh: “How are you feeling?”
“It doesn’t count now!” I wailed like an asthmatic 8-year-old who always got picked last for kickball. (True story).
“I came in earlier to ask if you needed anything and you were asleep!”
“Oh, please. You probably just checked if I was dead. And I’m not, so that means you can’t go golfing today.”
Under his breath: “Dammit.”
Well, tomorrow is a new day and I’ll wake up and force myself not to produce tears. I should be good unless there’s a banana seat bike barreling down the pike toward me. However, that chewing gum commercial, I am telling you, would make Donald Trump sob. Nothing’s perfect. It never is.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life.