I want to tell you guys about the only time I have ever been in love. I have dated a lot of people. I have slept with a lot of people. I cared about a few of them. I loved a few of them. But I have only ever been IN love with one person.
That might sound bad considering how many people I have dated. But I think after this story and this story, you guys might have started to realize I haven’t really dated anyone worth falling in love with. And none of you have even heard the worst of it.
This was during my heart surgery phase. I love that expression. It sounds like my heart surgeries were just a phase I was going through; like wearing glittery eye shadow or side ponytails.
As soon as the anaesthesiologist pumped me full of magical knock out drugs, I was out. I could have been dead for all I knew. The last thing I’d see was some random forest scene on the ceiling of the operating room. Then I would suddenly be riding out of the operating room on a stretcher and into the recovery room with no memory of the passage of time.
It was in the recovery room that I fell in love.
There was a perianesthesia nurse there in that room. He was the same person every time. And this may partially be the drugs talking, but he was the loveliest human being I have ever met.
Waking up from anesthesia is traumatic. I would be wheeled in with IV lines in my arm or neck (or both) and heart catheters still hanging out of my groin. I also had very bad reactions to anesthesia every time.
But that nurse would talk to me with a voice that washed over me like a soothing balm. He was calm and soft spoken. I knew he would keep me as safe as he could.
He never put his hands on me without warning me first. He never lied to me. He told me it was going to hurt for a few minutes while he pulled my caths out. And it did. A lot.He told me it was going to hurt while he put pressure on my groin to keep me from bleeding to death with all the blood thinners I was on. And it did.
While he was hurting me and helping me, he was also talking to me. He would joke with me. He actually made me laugh in my miserable state. He made sure I felt okay, he would check in with me every few minutes. He didn’t try to rush me out of the room. He treated me like I was the only person in the world. Like I mattered. And he gave me some amazing drugs.
He told me I was brave and strong and good. And when he said those words I believed him. He made me feel brave and strong and good. He told me I was going to be okay. And I believed that too.
I think it is hard to not fall a little bit in love with someone when they are so good at their job and that pride and skill shows in their work. I think it is hard to not fall a little bit in love with someone that helps you through one of the worst experiences of your life.
I think we all want to be with someone that makes us feel brave and strong and good. Someone that makes us believe we are going to be okay. I never wanted to leave that recovery room. Each time I would stay literally for hours, just listening to his voice.
He never told me his name. I never saw his face. All I know is that he was a man and, judging by the ring on his finger, he was married.
I don’t want to find him. I don’t wish I knew who he was (though I do hope he knows how much I appreciated him). What I wish is that I could meet someone that made me feel as brave, and strong, and good, and safe, as he made me feel. But preferably without all the drugs and hospitals and surgeries.