Hopeful Anesthetic

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A precious memory from the beginning of our journey.

A precious memory from the beginning of our journey.

The anesthesiologist let us know, in subtle ways, that he didn’t really appreciate having this emergency procedure to squeeze in amongst all the other operations scheduled for the day.

He seemed a little impatient, a little harried, and just a little unsettled that we parents were still standing by Andrew’s gurney. Of course, at this point in the journey, we didn’t have a clue where we should be standing.

We’d stood outside the chemo room while Andrew was given his first dose of cell-killing poison. We’d been outside the treatment room while they drilled for marrow and poked a giant hole in his spine to see if the cancer was there, and we’d been standing at the bedside through discussions and procedures we hadn’t even known existed.

This time we were standing beside the gurney, awaiting the installation of Andrew’s port in his chest. The anesthesiologist bustled around, doing his thing in readying Andrew for his operation. He informed us that we could stay until Andrew went to sleep. Yeah, we thought so, too.

As the drug was injected into Andrew’s IV tube, his blinks slowed way down, and he looked up at us with bewilderment. He blinked long again and began to sing softly, “Sing hallelujah to the Lord.”

The anesthesiologist looked up from the tube and impatiently probed, “What did he say? That made no sense.”

Andrew sighed dramatically and slowly, and then a little more loudly, sang the second line of the song, “Sing hallelujah to the Lord!” Then he drifted off to sleep.

We knew no matter the outcome of the operation, Andrew was going to all right.


This post is part of the Not So (Small) Stories: Fourth Edition–where we write about ‘song’.

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  • Oh wow, what an amazing story. I love the way you draw us into the setting, the actions of the anesthesiologist, the description of the events leading up to the lines of the song…I felt like I was there. Thank you for sharing!
    Courtney recently posted…Song in ProseMy Profile

  • This really touched me. I’m having the kind of day where I’m thinking of hospitals and outcomes and all this, and I loved this. Thanks for your words, and for the way you put something so meaningful into a story that we can participate in, rather than a post telling us how to feel or that we should just trust. You SHOW us. Love it.
    Kirsten Oliphant recently posted…Not So (Small) Stories: Fourth EditionMy Profile

    • Kiki, I’m sorry you have to worry about hospitals and tests and outcomes. Praying for your loved one. It’s hard to be told how to trust when each journey is so different. I’m glad we can connect through story.
      Carol Bovee recently posted…Tub Thumping (Theme Songs in the Cancer Ward)My Profile

  • I would have been a teary mess! How incredibly beautiful and God honoring!
    Becky Daye recently posted…The Best SerenadeMy Profile

  • This was really touching. And I am so mad at that anesthesiologist on your retroactive behalf.
    Larks recently posted…Comment on Harry Styles and musical snobbery. by Anita OjedaMy Profile

    • Ah! Thanks for your sympathetic indignation. I’m sure he was doing his job and probably just doing fine at it. But for us newbies to a child with cancer, it was scary and cold. We also found out later that the child that we heard about on the ward, bumping other routine surgeries and operations all off track, was actually our son. So maybe the good doctor was just impatient at the overtime!
      Carol Bovee recently posted…Tub Thumping (Theme Songs in the Cancer Ward)My Profile

  • what a perfect song to sing in that moment. how beautiful. 🙂
    roxy recently posted…Music and MemoriesMy Profile

  • Sarah

    This is a memory to treasure in the midst a bunch of unwelcome ones, I imagine. Brought a tear to my eye…