I could see where they were taking me because I had asked if I could keep my glasses on.
“Why is this hallway so long?”, I thought. “There’s no reason for this. This could have been designed better.”
I change my mind.
I do not consent.
At certain times in our lives we have to decide whether or not we’re going to trust complete strangers with our physical selves, give over to them completely. We have to agree to become helpless. The alternative is worse, but we think we might be able to cheat that inevitability… because becoming totally vulnerable by choice is a risky bargain.
Stop. I do not agree to this.
My mind was racing. How much longer did I have to speak out loud? They had gone to all this trouble and I was going to back out now?!
The gurney slowed and turned through a doorway.
No, no, no, no, no…
Inside the Operating Room, they were all masked and gloved and ready: Three residents, two surgeons, one scrub nurse, one anesthesiologist, and the OR nurse who walked beside my stretcher down that Highway to Hell.
I do not consent.
I do not want this.
Stop. Everybody just stop.
And yet I was moving from the Emergency Room gurney onto the surgical table of my own free will. “What about my glasses?”, I asked.
Her voice was calm and she spoke with purpose. It sounded like a pre-operative checklist. The OR nurse stood so close to my body that I felt embraced, shielded from the danger that was to come. She put her finger on my throat and told me she was doing so. I started to choke, to gag, but they all remained calm, as if they expected this.
Stop!! Something’s wrong! I’m choking!
But I could not speak.
In the next instant of my reckoning, I was awake in the recovery room and it was over.
I did not expect to feel so sick after surgery – worse than when I started – but it was over and I was alive and they had my glasses.
I’m glad I didn’t say “No”.