Anesthesia and the Incredible Likeness of Your Being

I just brought Paige home from the dentist where she had all four of her wisdom teeth extracted. I’ve been through this enough — with Mark and the boys and myself — to know what to expect.

Paige, always thinking, rarely speaking, has yet to say a word, but we’re communicating. That includes her throwing a hand signal to make sure I didn’t forget about the construction detour on the way home. (I almost did.)

Michael, always questioning, came out of anesthesia with a 10-second loop of memory. He looked at me and asked, “Is it over? That wasn’t too bad. How do I look?” Before I could answer the second question, he came again. “Is it over? That wasn’t too bad. How do I look?” I squeezed his arm and tried to get to that second question again when he looked up at me the same way for the third time. “Is it over? That wasn’t too bad. How do I look?”

The nurse said, “That’s pretty common. He’ll get his memory back.”

Mark had a tougher time of it. Like most of his life, everything came with complications. When I’ve been under, all I do is sleep and puke. I have to purge before I can get on with my life. But when I do, it’s a brand new day.

Sam becomes his essential self, too. When he wakes up from anesthesia, his big brown eyes turn into holes of the universe, just like when he was a baby, and if you let yourself fall in, it’s love and terror all in one.

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