Waking Up Alive

 I was hoping to stay awake during the arthroscopy on my torn meniscus-- it's a breeze, they said-- although I was a little surprised that the pre-op involved an EKG, and an IV and questions like "are you an organ donor?" and "do you have a living will?" (Yes to the first, no to the second... and the EKG was fine, except that my low heart rate-- 45 beats a minute or so, --set off the alarm.) Like I said, I was hoping to watch, but with the nerve damage from getting run over by the truck a few years back they decided a good sleep was better than a spinal nerve block. I said okay-- and then before I could think about the operation, it was all over and I was being wheeled back into my day surgery curtained coop. I had no idea when it began or ended. It was all done before I could ask how long it might take. An hour (or two? I still don't know) was gone, just like the time I hit my head ice skating. This made me wonder, if I had died, would I know it? Do we wake up in the fog of anesthesia in time to say goodbye? Or, do we, like my friend Nora said when her friend Boyson died in his easy chair, "wake up dead?" (What she said when she called to tell me I had an obituary to write, was, "Boyson woke up dead this morning. He went to sleep fine, but he woke up dead in his chair." )This is all a moot point, right now, for me, since I woke up very much alive after my surgery, and am still kicking (okay, limping a little) today, and very happy to be home with a knee that works. (I did read Thomas Lynch's Undertaking while I was waiting to be admitted, which may have prompted these thoughts. It is an enlightening-- weird but interesting-- read, from a poet-undertaker who casts a cold Irish eye on death, and a warm heart on life.)

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