In 2009 I had my second spinal surgery. It was twelve hours long, very complicated, and absolutely excruciating. I was in a great deal of pain prior to the surgery and heavily reliant upon strong pain killers to manage everyday life. But this was nothing in comparison to the post-op pain.
I don't remember this myself, but the first words I said whilst still sedated were;
" I want to die."
I was given a cocktail of medications, but the one that I am most thankful for is the high dose of Fentanyl I had hooked up to an electric pump. Every five minutes I would get a dose until I was alert enough to manage my own control button. The dose I was given was eighty times stronger than morphine and induces a form of amnesia.
I don't remember much at all of the first week after my surgery. I think that's for the best. I do remember feeling as though I was at the bottom of a deep swimming pool and even though in the distance I could hear muffled sound and voices, they felt so far away and I couldn't make out anything they were saying.
There was one voice I could pick out though. It managed to pierce it's way through the haze of pain and drugs. It was my Anthony.
Months down the track, I had an appointment with my surgeon. Whilst waiting to see him, a nurse who looked after me regularly told me they would ask me to squeeze their hand or wiggle my toes but I was unresponsive. They found that by asking Anthony to speak to me, I would respond. She said he would lean close to me and whisper into my ear what they needed me to do and after a short delay, my toes would wiggle slightly.
Sometimes we grate against each other. Sometimes we even butt heads. But no matter what, his is the voice I cling to. The opinion that matters most to me. The smile I look forward to after a day apart.