Last night I had my first surgery-anxiety dream. I am an avid dreamer. My external environment seeps into my subconscious, conjuring dreamscapes ranging from nonsensically whimsical to startlingly real. They are almost always so vivid that I continue to experience them for minutes to hours after I wake, and in select cases, years. I had more stressful wedding dreams than I can count starting before I was even engaged, and then I had them on behalf of my sister before her nuptials this spring. I have recurring dreams about fleeing natural disasters, getting stuck upside down on rickety carnival rides, driving cars without brakes, and realizing I missed entire college courses the day of the final exam or graduation. So I’m surprised it took my dreamself this long to find her way into an operating room.
In my dream I wasn’t even the patient. I was a medical student bumbling around mucking things up. (I broke the sterile field more than once, and for those not familiar with OR culture, that is basically the dumbest thing you can do and it immediately infuriates everyone around you.) The surgical procedure on the agenda: a nose transplant. Dream-me was horrified by this. Thankfully, before it got too gory, I was jolted awake by my husband knocking over a water glass on my nightstand (as he sweetly brought me a fresh, steaming cup of coffee first thing in the morning). WHEW. Occasionally, in a dream, I have a huge forkful of the perfect chocolate cake and wake up just before it hits my tongue. It is genuinely, real-life disappointing! I love a good cake! But I do not love craniofacial surgery, or any surgery for that matter, so it was a relief to phase back into real life this morning.
The parallels were not lost on me however. In a yet undetermined amount of time, I will be having part of me removed in an operating room. A defining part of me. Maybe not a nose (things could always be worse), but defining nonetheless. I shudder when I imagine bits of me sitting in a cold, metal bowl awaiting extensive scrutiny by a pathologist whilst I saw logs in the oblivion of medical dreamland. But Bob will be in that bowl too. And my new plastic surgeon will be there to lay the groundwork for Kate’s chest 2.0, free from the grips of cancer. And gravity.
Until that happens, I’d appreciate it if my psyche could muster a few large helpings of delightfully calorie-free dreamcake thankyouverymuch.