I woke up in the recovery room at 8:15 a.m. I was not groggy. Had a little cough from being tubed, needed to blow my nose from having my head lower than my toes, probably. But I was alert and awake the whole time. I had to wait until 9:45 until somebody had time to take me back to my private recovery room, but I was awake every minute.
There seems to have been a rush in the recovery room. Somebody went home early, and my nurse, Mary, was kept hopping. She had a bit of time to talk every time she sat down to type in my vitals.
"Oh, so you're a science teacher? Biology? I always loved animals. I had to take a lot of biology to get my BSN. But even as a kid, I loved animals. We used to go on vacation to Florida. One time I caught a shark, and I wanted to bring it home, but it died, so we had to get formaldehyde from a funeral home."
Off she went. Left me hanging. I was dying to hear more about that shark. Mary tended to a basketball player having her third knee surgery. "You have such pretty eyes. How many guys are chasing you?" The girl was way groggier than me, but she replied, "Not as many as you think. They're all shorter than me. I'm six feet tall."
Mary came back, much to my inquisitive enjoyment. "So, how big was that shark?"
"About a foot-and-a-half long."
"I can't believe a funeral home just gave you formaldehyde."
"Well, times were different back in 1964. How old are you? We're about the same age. You know how it was."
"Yes. I remember riding down the interstate highway at 70 miles an hour, on the tailgate of my dad's truck, swinging my bare feet over the pavement."
"Uh huh! And those seats? Nobody ever rode in one of those baby seats."
"I know! Now they have to be in one until they're 8 years old!"
"In Florida, we had a babysitter. She was an older woman. She pretty much let me do what I wanted. My mom used to get mad because she found animals under my bed that shouldn't have been there. And one time, we got ready to sit down for supper, and my sister screamed that she was NOT going to eat off the table. My mom asked why, and she said, 'Because Sissy dissected her snake there!' Really. I HAD it on newspaper!"
"How did you catch that shark? With your bare hands? Or on a pole with fishing line?"
"Oh, I caught it with a pole. I found a stray cat, and that was what I used for bait."
Yeah. I was perfectly lucid. But was starting to wish I wasn't.