- Evan Smith, ’11
As the nurse stepped forward, holding out the long sinister needle, my palms began to sweat.
Already my arms were strapped down to my sides, strange pads were stuck to my chest and an evil-looking gas mask was pressed around my mouth. The nurse bent over my shoulder, held the icy needle out in the air and jabbed it into my arm.
“OK now,” the nurse said. “Count down from 100.”
I started counting: 99… 98… 97… And by the time I reached 96 my eyes closed and I was out cold, ready for surgery.
Granted, I was only there to get my wisdom teeth removed, but still, it was the first time I had ever gone under anesthetics. I had no idea what to expect and was a little nervous.
The procedure, however, went fine, and about one hour later I woke up, yawning. I was still groggy and did not quite know where I was, and I saw that, to my surprise, the room was empty. The straps on my arms and the heart monitor pads on my chest had been removed, so I figured I was free to go. I stood up, walked out of the room and started off down the hall.
Apparently, as the nurses would later tell me and my parents, I had been left alone for about 30 seconds while the nurses were putting away supplies, and within that short amount of time I was able to slip out of my room and walk through the halls of the hospital.
My memory of the following minutes are somewhat blurry, but I recall that there were birds singing from the ceiling, the floor tile kept molding and changing shape right before my eyes and I felt that with every step I took my shoes were sinking into a giant layer of strawberry jello.
It took the nurses about five minutes to find me; they grabbed me by the arms and pulled me to the side of the hall.
“Evan,” one nurse said to me. “What are you doing?”
I didn’t know what to say; I hardly knew where I was. My mouth opened and I managed to say five words, “God, I love Pink Floyd.”
While I do not think my five-minute escapade through the hospital halls is representative of everyone’s experience when going in for surgery, I do feel that I’ve learned a valuable lesson: One should not be afraid when preparing to have his or her wisdom teeth removed. It’s just something that many of us will have to go through. And as I write these words now, lying propped up on the couch, wearing soft fuzzy bunny slippers, having not showered in two days, ordering my mom to get me another milkshake and prop up the pillow that is supporting my head, I realize that each person must simply face the situation as I did, with strength and courage.