Did you know that many surgeons play music during operations? It was going so smoothly that we were humming along to “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” It was during the bridge of the song that your blood pressure suddenly dropped. The anesthesiologist called it out. I looked at the monitor and saw numbers flashing in red.
There was a lot of red, actually. Blood in the wound, blood in the suction container, blood in transfusion bags, bloody footprints on the floor. No more than with any other patient. But I think somewhere along the way I learned to take the sight of liters of blood for granted.
I was scared. I stopped watching them stitch and stared at the monitor, which suddenly seemed like my closest connection to you. They called out the medications they were giving you to raise your blood pressure.
After a few minutes, it worked. Your blood pressure slowly climbed to green numbers. I was still shaking as I silently willed the numbers to stop bouncing around.
But the numbers stubbornly drifted down. Even though they were keeping up with the fluids. Even though you were on medications that force your blood vessels to clamp down and your heart to beat harder.
The red returned and was unrelenting. Your blood pressure was too low, your heart rate too high, the tracing of your heart rhythm irregular and non-shockable.
“We can be done in ten minutes,” the surgeons said.
I’ve never seen surgeons work so fast. They’re usually so particular about their stitches, getting the perfect angle and length for each one.
I’ve also never seen so many anesthesiologists at the head of an operating table.
I’ve never seen an ICU bed booked so quickly.
I’ve never seen someone lose their carotid pulse.