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Just Breathe (Prologue)
They wheeled me down the hall, past the nurse’s station and into an elevator. The escort pressed the button that indicated level number 2.
It felt strange riding an elevator lying down. I didn’t feel the usual swoop in my stomach. I guess it didn’t matter though; the swoop was replaced with a rampage of butterflies.
Once the doors slid open the escort led my father and me through two sets of double doors.
We were brought into a bright room. Curtains divided the room into sections. The escort wheeled me off to an unoccupied space on the far right.
“Here we are, Pre-op.” He announced. He smiled down at me and said, “Good luck,” then disappeared back through the doors.
My dad kept hold of my hand, averting his gaze.
Doctor Daniels came in and smiled reassuringly. “Okay, Fran. Are you ready?”
Even though I wasn’t I said yes.
“Okay, we’ll just get you situated here and then head off to the operating room.”
“Mr. Barnes you can get settled in the waiting room.” She said.
He nodded, with tight lips. Then he finally locked eyes with me and tried a smile. It looked like he’d just swallowed sour milk.
“I’ll be okay, Dad.”
“I know.” He leaned down and kissed me on the forehead. “You’re a brave girl.”
“I’ll be here when you wake up.”
“I love you, Kid.”
I fought against the lump in my throat. “I love you, too, Daddy.”
Then he left through the same doors that the escort had gone through.
Doctor Daniels sat next to my bed on a stool. “Before we head in, an anesthesiologist is going to come in and give you a shot to relax you. His name is Dave; he’s very good, very nice.” She reassured me. “Then when we’re in the operating room Dave will give you the anesthetic, and we’ll go from there.”
“Don’t be nervous, it will go by fast.”
I looked up and saw a man coming toward the bed. He had short, dark curly hair. He was easily over six foot.
I tried not to cringe at me real name. “Yes.”
“Hi, my name’s Dave. How are you doing?”
How do you think? “Fine.”
“That’s good.” He reached over the top of my bed to a glove dispenser. He snapped them in place and said, “I’ll be right back.”
He returned with a syringe. “This will relax your muscles.”
He fed the shot through my IV. I felt the effect instantly. The muscles in my back unknotted and I even felt my butterflies ease up. I can’t say if I was fully alert any more or not.
“We’re going to take you to the operating room now, Fran.”
I seemed to float through the halls as they wheeled me into a white, sterile room.
Dave leaned over me, now wearing a surgical mask and cap.
“I’m going to give you the anesthetic now.” He held up a rubber mask that seemed to be emanating and odorless steam. “Once I put this over your mouth and nose, I want you to count backwards from one hundred.”
He placed it over my face. I breathed it in. I suddenly felt so tired and heavy.
“Francesca? One hundred…” Dave reminded me.
“One hundred –” My voice sounded slow and thick. My eyelids were closing. “Ninety-nine, ninety….”