Music: familiar but unidentifiable in my inebriated state. Frustration mounts. I know this damn song. The synthesizer rhythm section waxes and wanes, inaudible beneath the cacophony of science and conversation resonating in the OR room. I’m up early, again, shrugging off the anesthesia half an hour ahead of schedule. I’m cut open from thigh to cafe. A nerve block paralyzes my body from the waist down. A doctor hammers my new knee into place. I just want to name this fucking song.
A momentary lapse in the construction. Lyrics. I can hear lyrics. “Don’t look back, you can never look back.”
Boys of Summer. Got it. Friggan’ nailed it. Dad would be proud.
Somewhere in my pacified nervous system, dopamine releases, and with this tiny victory – a disproportionate amount of euphoria. I smile at the anesthesiologist, “…is this Don Henley?”, already knowing the answer. “Hey, you are alert!” Dr. Greensmith said, surprised.
I wouldn’t fall back asleep until 8 that night, taking pride in my defiance of the anesthesia. Of all the mottoes I’ve adopted in my travels and learnings, getting “little victories” has been especially pertinent. Chalk one up for today. Small, somewhat irrelevant, but victorious nonetheless – overcoming copious amounts of sedation to correctly identify an 80’s pop song playing in the operating room.
The recovery commences.