At the Hospital
by Amy, Age 13
"Everything will be all right, Amy," stated my mother. I didn't agree with her on that. On the morning of January 27, 1999, which was a Thursday, some people would think I was in school, but I was not. I was in the hospital about to have surgery on my left shoulder, on that rather chilly morning, since the tumor that was going to be removed was growing too rapidly. I was in the hospital because of that. In the white room, which was my temporary room, there was a red carton to put the needles into and a white sink. My mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, and me sat in that room, waiting for the time when we would have to come down to the operating room. My mouth was parched from not having anything to eat or drink. I was wishing that I was back in school (I absolutely dreaded the operation). Even though this was not the first time to have a surgery done (it was the fifth), I was as nervous as a frog who has just spotted a snake. It wasn't only the surgery that I was worried about, though. I was also afraid of the IV and the betadine which would come in the hours following my arrival. In addition to that, this surgery was the first one that I had experienced without my sister in the hospital room with me.

In that white hospital room, sitting on the bed with white sheets and blanket, my breath quickened by the minute and my heart was beating faster than my normal rate. Having a rare bone disorder, called multiple hereditary exostoses, had put me in this wretched situation. This tumor, that was about to be removed, was growing at an abnormal rate. The physician was afraid  that it was malignant (cancer). I was not thrilled about having the operation, in fact I was thinking, "Oh, no! What is going to happen? Will I wake up?"

A few hours after we arrived there, the nurse inserted the IV. The IV was a long needle (about one inch long), that was green at the end and had a long clear tube running down into the IV bag. The IV bag was then hooked onto a pole I pulled along behind me. My second favorite nurse on that unit inserted the IV and she sang one song (she always sings while inserting the IV) and the IV went in quickly and smoothly. Soon after it was inserted, the IV had a little bit of blood come into the clear tube (the blood was normal). Then, in my two pieced hospital gown, dragging my IV behind me, I explored the third floor. When I found my way back the worst part arrived - the betadine ritual. The betadine was yelllow and it foamed when it was rubbed on my skin. This part involved a pad of betadine and some sterile towels. Besides the smell of betadine (which smells like all of the horrid smells of the world combined), there is the cold, sticky experience of it on my skin. After it is applied, the putrid smell lingers in the air, almost making my stomach turn. After the betadine, I watched television till time to leave my room and proceed to the operating room.

About a half an hour before surgery time, the nurse injected an anesthetic into my IV, so that I would sleep through the surgery. Finally, the two transports arrived to wheel me down to the operating room. The wheels squeaked as I was pulled closer to the operating room, every squeak reminding me of what was to come soon. At the operating room, my parents had to say goodbye to me as my grandparents had done just minutes earlier. The last few words I heard them say as I was being pulled into the operating room  were "I love you." Suddenly the doors thumped behind me and I started to feel as though I was never awake and active. That was a result of the anesthetic. I thought, "I need to sleep. I feel so groggy!" I closed my eyes. Then a plastic and rubber smell filled my nose and I looked up and saw a man, then I begged, "Can you please take off this oxygen mask?" He moved it up. I stayed awake a minute more and then all of a sudden everything went black.

The surgery turned out fine in the end. I stayed in the hospital for two days (and one night) and returned home with one tumor gone (the tumor was benign, which means that it was fine). My parents, friends, and grandparents helped me to get through the surgery. After the surgery I felt tired and sick, but a few days later I felt almost normal (it took a few weeks for me to get back to my normal activities).  This event was important to me for it is something that I will never forget since it caused me physical pain and uneasiness. Furthermore, I learned a way to help with the nervousness - I can explore the third floor in the hospital. This distracted me from thinking about the operation. The two inch scar on my shoulder reminds me of that frosty January day.