Did you know that Propofol burns? I didn’t. I had never had any type of anesthesia before Saturday. The anesthesiologist explained that I might feel a bit of discomfort. As soon as I felt the searing in my veins, I began to whimper. He said, “It will only burn for a few seconds.” Then he began to count. He got to six, and I woke up in another room, shivering, with my sister sitting next to me.
She asked, “How are you feeling?”
I replied, “I’m cold.”
She nodded. “It is cold in here.” There was a blanket draped over my lap and she tugged it up to my chin.
The assistant came in, gave me a super sanitary napkin and told me to take my time, that the doctor would come in shortly.
I asked my sister, “Am I bleeding? I feel like I’m bleeding.”
She shook her head. “You’re not bleeding. Can you sit up? You should get dressed.” She held my leggings in her lap.
I sat up and wiggled my fingers. The IV was still attached to my hand, and it tingled. “My hand feels weird,” I said. “Whatever they gave me burned like hell.”
She laughed. “Was it white? It was probably Propofol.”
“Propofol? You mean the shit that killed Michael Jackson?”
“Yes, Keisha, the shit that killed Michael Jackson. It works fast.”
“Well it hurts.”
She smiled. “Can you stand up?”
I nodded and she helped me slide down from the elevated seat. The paper underneath me was stained brown. “That looks like blood,” I said.
“It’s just the betadine,” she replied. “I promise you’re not bleeding.”
She helped me get dressed. The anesthesiologist came back in and gave me some Percocet. The heaviness I’d been feeling in my pelvis dulled. My doctor told me he’d see me in two weeks. I paid my fifteen dollar co-pay and stumbled out of the office.
My sister’s car was only two full blocks away, but it seemed like a mile.
I am on the phone with Lesley. I am explaining to her that my doctor seemed alarmed at how much my fibroid had grown since my last visit in July. I explain what a hysteroscopy is, and I describe the curette I had seen waiting for me, glinting under the fluorescent lights. I tell her about the Propofol burning all the way up to my elbow, about the way my hand was sore for two days, about how I felt okay until the Percocet finally wore off and then I couldn’t move, about how I had to wear these giant, uncomfortable pads because my period arrived early. She is quiet, and then my phone lets me know I have another call. It’s my doctor. It is nearly nine o’clock at night.
“I just wanted to give you some good news,” he says. “I got your test results back from the lab. You’re fine. We’ll discuss more when you come in for your post-op, but I don’t think we need to do anything about it right now.”
I thank him and click back over. I tell Lesley what my doctor has just told me. She cries.
“You told me they were testing your tissue and I was like please God no, not my best friend.”
When I lie on my stomach, I can feel my fibroid pressing into my skin. It is 8 cm by 7 1/2 cm, roughly the size of a baseball. It is in the wall of my uterus and leans on my bladder. I drink a lot of water, usually two liters a day, and I’ve become an expert at discerning when I actually have to use the bathroom. Three months ago I switched from super tampons to super plus. I remember my mother’s soiled pants hanging in the laundry room every month and I am just grateful my bleeding isn’t that bad, yet.