As if through a fog, a haze, a cloud, my consciousness returned. When it reached a certain threshold, the first thing I did was make sure my four limbs worked. They sure did. Next I checked my cognitive function. How? By thinking of the years of Collingwood premierships in my lifetime. (For the benefit of infidels: 1953, 1958, 1990 and 2010.) Thus I’d escaped the known heart surgery complication of stroke. Great news. I also quickly noticed my endotracheal tube had been removed from my throat. This buoyed me further: the literature and films I’d seen pre-operatively were unanimous that waking up with a tube down the throat – causing gagging and preventing talking – was the most lingering post-operative memory. I could tell I was in the Intensive Care Unit. (The previous evening I’d visited the ICU for a brief familiarisation tour.) There was a big round clock on the wall in front of me. It read 4 o’clock. I didn’t know which day it was let alone if it was 4 a.m. or 4 p.m. My nurse told me it was 4 a.m. on Tuesday 10 May. (This was about 16 hours after when I thought the surgery began.) I lay there content. Or at least inert. In no pain. And then I discovered my wedding ring wasn’t on my left ring finger.
2 days ago