Post-op Cocktail

(Photo by Oscar Rosas)

My mom’s breast cancer was detected at a very early stage. It was August 2016 when she got the call from her Oncologist. Surgery was scheduled for 11 o’clock on my birthday.

She’s got a goofy personality especially when she is hopped up on medicine. She admitted that the day I was born, she caught herself unintentionally flirting with the janitor in her recovery room. She said that was the fastest sweep and mop she’s ever seen anyone do.

I never saw her in the state of mind before. We spent the whole day in the hospital. We traveled from the Radiology Department to the Pre-Op area where we gave our best to the medical team. At 3:30 p.m. she woke up from her anesthesia with a big smile on her face. That smile washed away all the stress I held in me going back to the moment she was first diagnosed.

“Did Trump win?” she asked. The whole recovery area went silent for a moment. That’s when the nurse walked in.

“No mom, it’s not over just yet, it’s still September,” I said shaking my head.

“Oh gosh, I will be glad when this election is over with. Would you like something to drink?” the nurse asked.

“Yes, iced tea, make sure it’s sweet…. and put some tequila in it.” I was surprised she actually said that out loud. I couldn’t hold back my laugh. She was definitely back to her goofy self.

The nurse frowned and walked away. Usually my mom will joke around about putting a little something in her drink but she never actually does it. Yet, on this day, she was ready to celebrate.

The nurse came back with a drink. My mom took the first sip and made a bitter face. “What is this?”

“Apple juice,” the nurse said with a grin.

My mom was about to protest when her post-op cocktail wasn’t delivered to her.

“Mom, she’s not a bartender,” I whispered.

“Oh, if I wrote down all the requests I’ve been given in my twenty years of being a nurse I could write a book,” the nurse said with a chuckle.

My mom suddenly raised her sheet and as she looked down she proudly announced, “Oh, I still got both!” Then she bowed her head and fell asleep for a moment. My dad and I sat there patiently waiting for her to wake up again. As the nurse came back to check on her my mom woke up and asked the nurse, “Do you wanna go to Hawaii?”

“Yeah!” the nurse said with a big smile.

“Good, bring me a real drink and I’ll take you tomorrow… we’ll celebrate my daughter’s birthday,” my mom said.

It was like watching Finding Dory; except in my mom’s case the repetitive thoughts and behavior came from specialty cocktail of the day, anesthesia: drink requests, bribery, and quick bosom checks.

Thanks to Dr. Basa, Mom is now six months cancer-free.


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