Just before my first surgery ever, I really thought I was going to die (or at a minimum awaken during surgery and feel everything and not be able to speak without crying for the rest of my life), plus never finish writing my book.
So I handed my sister a stack of six, rough-draft chapters to read while she waited.
I waved goodbye, floating away in my own parade after my needle cocktail.
I woke up an unknown amount of time later to the voice of a gruff Jamaican nurse telling me, “Breathe or you don’t go home.”
The same nurse later advised me, after the breathing was established, “Pee or you don’t go home.”
So I lied to her from the bathroom. Although, I wondered if I’d ever be able to pee again if I left then.
Being one of the last patients to leave outpatient recovery for the day came with some risk. With her ultimatums, the nurse appeared eager to ship me over to inpatient so she could go home on time.
But between the breathing and not peeing, my sister came back to visit me. I remember saying with unexpected weakness, “Did you like my book?”
Not any amount of residual anesthesia could prove as denial for the Yes which meant No.
I didn’t dwell. I was more worried about the large nurse. Although, I proved to be a much bigger problem for her when I lost my underwear. Or thought I had.
Saying, “Find my underwear or I don’t go home,” was funnier in the moment for me. I later found them balled in my hand.
My advice: Overall, lesson learned, rejection sucks. Especially from someone you really want to like your writing. But so what. Try harder.
And don’t give guilt reads to people you love just before a scary surgery, which takes twice as long as promised, and expect sincere critique.
Toughen up. Critique yourself. But most of all, keep writing.
(Dancing wildly to Paperback Writer, Beatles)