My small hospital procedure and why I kept family out of it

Woman in hospital pix

I had a small procedure at the hospital last Friday. You would choose to call it surgery but I’d choose not to: let’s run with the procedure. I had grown a ‘stubborn mole’ that needed to be removed.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

I had a small procedure at the hospital last Friday. You would choose to call it surgery but I’d choose not to: let’s run with the procedure. I had grown a ‘stubborn mole’ that needed to be removed.

The procedure was so small I didn’t even tell my family about it; the only people who knew about it were GB, my husband, and Terry, my best friend who doesn’t even live in the country.

I didn’t want to tell anybody else in my family because I know my family, they’d have made a mountain out of this stubborn molehill. Granted, this mountain would be built from a sincere intention to express care and concern – ‘That’s what family is for’ – but it would be unnecessary and out of proportion to the small procedure.

First, they’d have turned it into a charismatic prayer item for the days running up to it. Then they’d have called me incessantly in the hours before and hours after asking for updates and video clips and voice notes.

Someone would have wanted to be present when I wake up, they’d have insisted on visiting and I’d have pleaded with them not to, ‘I’m in the day surgery unit, there’re no visiting hours here. Look, I’ll be home by dinner time, GB dropped me, and he’ll pick me up. No need to come.’

They’d have gone out of their way to visit me at home the next day and they’d be compelled to nip into the supermarket for a basket of milk and bread and booze (for themselves, not me) because the visit would certainly have morphed into a house party and sleepover.

And hours past midnight, when they should’ve been at their own homes letting the convalescent rest, they’d still be in our living room jamming to YouTube and kicking up a racket about Lord-knows-what.

So no, I didn’t want any fuss to accompany the removal of this ‘stubborn mole’.

Sometimes it’s OK to keep some things to yourself, you don’t have to pull your family into all your business. It’s not secrecy, it’s privacy – there’s a difference. No one ought to get offended when you exercise your right to your privacy.

I’m in excellent health now, thanks for asking. I’ve been working from home and it’s been a fantastic excuse to not leave the house: this El-Niño weather is cosy indoor weather, sweatpants-socks-and-fleece weather.

Before the procedure

But that’s not my story – it’s what happened before the procedure that’s my story.

The procedure was scheduled for 11 am. I wanted to get there just in time to be admitted into the day surgery unit but not too much time that I’d have to linger.

No sooner had I finished with the admission desk and the nurses settled me into my waiting room than the coin dropped, ‘Madam, your procedure is for 5 pm.’

Argh, that wasn’t my plan! I had nothing on me besides a silly toilet bag. I didn’t have my phone charger yet my battery was already flashing an angry orange, I get anxious when my phone doesn’t have charge.

I hadn’t carried a book to read or even my Kindle. I didn’t have my stationery and my journal, my earphones or my laptop. My room had a TV but the signal was out.

At least there was Wi-Fi – thank heavens – but what was I to do for the next six hours?!

I’m a millennial, an urban millennial. My generation is accustomed to being busy all the time, sometimes we’re busy doing nothing, doesn’t matter, what matters is that you’re busy with a task at hand.

We’re all about boosting our productivity and enhancing our efficiency, we have to-do lists that we never quite finish ticking off, and different versions for family/friends/work exist in our notebooks and our phones, on our email drafts, dangling from a magnetic travel souvenir on our fridge doors.

We’re all about time blocking and the priority matrix, eating that frog. What sort of millennial are you if you haven’t tried the Pomodoro technique?

There are about a thousand apps you can download that will leverage the ancient secrets, of how to master yourself to become the best version of yourself. We subscribe to such newsletters, we listen to such audiobooks and podcasts.

Wi-Fi connects you to social media which connects you to the rest of the world. Scroll and tap, scroll and tap… it’s what we do, hunched over, never missing a beat.

It was now 11.40 am. I adjusted my state of mind then I did something I haven’t done in a long long while: I did nothing. I turned off my Wi-Fi and put my phone on silent, I pulled aside the curtains, lay in bed and watched the rain falling outside.

I woke to the gentle shakes of the nurse, ‘They’re ready for you now.’ I stretched like a hibernated bear and asked, ‘Can my phone charge in the theatre?’

@_craftit; [email protected]