My 8th grade Biology partner was an equally squeamish sort. As our teacher merrily dolled out dead baby pigs for dissection, we both turned an instant shade of green and were sent to the library for the week to write papers on farm animals. In high school, I carefully selected the sole serial killer in the entire place who delighted in chopping up dead worms and frogs. Even in college, I always managed to find someone to handle my dirty work. If my lab partners agreed to the slicing, I would agree to the diagramming and paper-writing. I probably know more about the phases of meiosis than most doctors. It was a win-win.
It seems like I should have gotten better at handling all this by now given I've had three c-sections, gall bladder surgery, and constant exposure to 1,000 Ways to Die courtesy of my husband's bedtime television viewing habits. No such luck. If anything, it's gotten worse.
So much in fact, that when my mother asked me to take her to her cataract surgery on Tuesday, I requested she not use the word "surgery." We came up with a code word for discussing the subject: "haircut." As in, "we need to leave by 7:30 am to make the haircut appointment." And then there was, "After the haircut, let's stop and pick up some coffee."
Of course the doctor refused to play along with our little game and instantly started going on about eye lenses, opacification, and incisions. I felt light-headed and ran to the bathroom.
My poor mom patiently endured my passing nausea, got stabbed with an IV that looked like it could reach the earth's core, and suffered through her "haircut" like a champ. As she was wheeled back to recovery wearing a pair of those room-darkening glasses, I lifted my head from between my knees and promised to behave better for next month's second operation on her other eye.
I'm thinking a little Valium followed by a swig of Jack Daniels will do just the trick. Better keep that cab number handy.