alan skeoch
Set. 2021

“Come into the office on Sept. 9?”
That was all I heard.   The word ‘procedure’ may have been used by the doctor
but that was all Greek to me.  So  I carried on as usual. 

 “Marjorie we have two trucks coming
to the farm today ,both delivering things of ours from Erica and Naomi…then at 2.30 I have a doctor appointment
to look at my head…bump that’s been there for 40 0r 50 years.. 

 Busy day lugging beautiful objects from the back of a five ton truck. A plow, sap pails, electric motors.. Marjorie sometimes uses
the word ‘junk’ which grieves me even if she might be right Second truck had big things…work benches
a pile of ladders, broken grind stone, large mobile racks.   For five hours we unloaded.
Hard work.  Near completion Marjorie set out coffee, bagels and cream cheese for the movie

“Have to rush.  Doctors expect promptness  Wants to take a look at the bump…my brain is so big 
it is expanding.”

So we rushed back to Mississauga.  I changed clothes…even put on a new (used) pair of shoes
we got at the Salvation Army Thrift store.   Then I zipped over to the medical place.  Took ages
to get through the door. Like a space capsule.  Then the receptionist cross examined me for Covid 19.
Mostly verbal. Made me wonder if people lied when asked.  I was cleared . Took a seat. Alone.

  I do not remember anyone who used the word ‘procedure’.  Then Nurse Stephanie welcomed me
and ushered me down a long hallway lined with perfect sheets of mahogany.  Quite a spiffy
place.  What is a plastic surgeon? Attractive nurses for sure.

A door opened to a room in stark white with all kinds of mobile things attached to the ceiling.

“Take off your shoes, please, and sit on the bed”  
“How will I get the shoes back on … no shoe horn..must they be removed?”
“Yes, afraid so.”
I sat on a bed that was really a gurney.
“Will you lie on your back.”
“Is that necessary…I would rather sit.”  (How the hell would I get back up if flat on the gurney?)
“Yes, necessary to do the procedure.”
(Procedure?…that word again)
Bright lights on my head.  Closed my eyes.  Then my head was covered with a disposable sheet
with a hole for the ‘procedure’.   And another cover was over my eyes.  Any air I could get came
from under the sheets and then through the goddamn face mask.  This was no joke…this ‘procedure’
business.  My forehead was rubbed with some goop, perhaps alcohol and the doctor began some
fast cutting.  Hurt but not screaming hurt.  This was not what I expected.
“Are you OK?” asked one of the nurses.
“I am beginning to feel like Frankenstein.”  (Remember his head with the wires and cuts?)
Someone may have laughed.  Nor sure anyone was listening to me.  They…I counted four voices…were
chit chatting and talking about the incision…the scarring.
“Will this raise or lower my I.Q?”
“How does that feel?”
“How does a kick in the arse feel?” I responded honestly if a little impolitely.
(How long was this going to take…what if I throw a panic attack? No one
said anything about stitching up my head.  No one needed to. I felt the needles
work.  No big pain though.  Best not to think about it.  I thought of my brother
getting his throat cut to have his  thyroid  removed. Far worse.  Of course he was not
awake like I was.  Also thought of my high school friend Kaye Donovan who just
spent two months in a hospital  bed.  I would be off the gurney soon..and out of here
in the outdoor air with no need for the mask.
 Then some tape was applied and a bandage of some kind. Gently.
“And now for your chest, Alan.”
(God. no!  Damn close to my heart.  Had the little red spot for 30 years  Why did I tell
Dr. Maharchand about it?  Stupid.)
“More cutting and stitching?” I asked. careful not to stutter or use bad words.
No answer.  They probably feared I would use the F word.
“There, all done…and look what I found?”
Don’t tell they took out my heart.
And nurse Stephanie held up a shoe horn and proceeded to put my shoes back on.
“Thank you.  Don’t know how I would have managed.”
“Anything for a patient, Alan.”
“Can I go now?”
“Yes, follow me.   Now remember only take showers.”
“I like my bath tub.””
“Only showers for the next three weeks.  And no strenuous activity.”
“My business involves physical activity…need to work.”
“What business?”
“Movies.  We provide sets and props.  People need to be entertained.”
“How interesting.”
“This place would make a good movie.  Lots of tension.”
( I did not say horror movie but thought about the time Dad took me
to the Doric theatre way back in 1949 where evil doctors were selling
corpses…that movie terrified me so much that I could not go to the
Doric for ages.)
“Thank you Stephanie, were you the person who stitched me up?”
“One of the persons…there were two of us doing that.”
Somehow a ,mental image of Scarface took form.
Then “Click!”  I was out the door.  Different door than I came in … just
like the doors in the 1949 horror flick.

Later the nurse  phoned and got Marjorie.
“Alan had no idea he was to be operated on today.  You know
he is deaf…hard of hearing.   He probably never heard you say
the word procedure and just nodded.”

“Marjorie, I heard the word ‘procedure”…I just did not know what it meant.
Now I know.”

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