Funny Pre-Op Conversations

So I love talking to people. I find them interesting. What some people love about me is that I’ll laugh at their corny jokes. I sometimes like corny jokes. I think what I like even more than corny jokes is the relentless nature in which some people go about them. It’s like a schtick. I’m easily entertained. I try to find the humor in a lot of things, otherwise we’d be doing a lot of crying, folks.

For obvious reasons, a lot of questions that you’re asked pre-op are repetitive. They want to make sure they have everything correct. Chief was my ride home. I was asked a couple of different times, but the tone of that changed as we talked. I was also asked if I “worked.”

I told my anesthesiologist, “Well, I write.”

He said, “Well, you wrote your name.”

I looked down at the paper I had just signed and said, “Why, yes, I did.” I smiled back at him.

“What do you write?”

“Historical western fiction, with romantic and suspense elements.” (That’s a story for another time)

The nurse who was reviewing the same papers as well as another set was introduced to me. I can’t remember what the Dr. said, but she smiled at me. She stood straighter and said, “Howdy!”

I laughed. She said, “I didn’t even mean that as a pun. I say that all the time.” It was the broad kind of smile like when you’re caught in the cookie jar but trying to be nonchalant. She also made her body board-stiff only moving her mouth which added to the slapstick nature.

Then the Doctor went back to the issue of the ride. “Is your husband in the waiting room?”

“No, he’s about 20 minutes out.”

“Well, you could’ve made him up, being a writer and all.”

His comment made me think about the time in graduate school when my friend Sarah and I used to commiserate that people were going to start thinking that we made up being married because our husbands both had odd jobs that frequently kept them away from parties and late hours because they were always working. Our imaginary husbands.

I said, “You’re right, at that.” Smiling, thinking about this alleged “imaginary” husband.

He said, “Well, you’ll be in post-op for about 45 minutes so that’ll give him plenty of time to finish washing the dishes and tidying up before he comes back to pick you up.” I think he added something else to the list, but I can’t remember.

“Yes, you really do have an imaginary husband on your mind, don’t you?”

“Well, if your ‘imaginary’ husband doesn’t return to pick you up do you know what happens?”


“We wheel you out into the parking lot and leave you there. Eventually, patients like you make it over to the Circle K. They’ve reserved a special room for you.”

I can’t tell you why I thought this was so inappropriately hilarious, but I did. “Like you” is funny–really I’m looking for those like me. I’m here, if you’re looking! It’s also because a very clear picture of what he was saying came to my mind. Who hasn’t been to a Circle K, 7-11, or QuickTrip where there’s been at least one person who seems to have wandered there and is either unsure how they got there or perhaps what they are doing? There are some locations where that’s the norm. What he described is the “Zombie” QuickTrip not too far from our house. All sorts of people, even a man dressed as a clown with a wheelchair that he doesn’t need, are wandering around there. They’re aimless. What’s it also close to? The freeway and the light rail. Just saying. I’m not making light of this collection of people, but I do think it’s interesting that they congregate in these locations. Did someone drop them off? Did they make their way there? Is it next to a surgery center like I was? Who knows. 🤷🏻‍♀️

I also thought the imaginary husband was hilarious. It’s kind of a running joke. Chief is anything but imaginary. When I was telling Chief this story he told me about the strip club across the street from the VA. They’d occasionally have to call over to the VA because a vet in brown pajamas made his way over there. Apparently they served food.

I told the doctor “Do whatever you have to do. I’ll be fine with it.” (Being left at the Circle K)

Later the nurse came by for something and I told her, “Just so we’re clear, I don’t really want to be wheeled over to the Circle K. Don’t let him go getting any ideas.” I gave her the hand flap with that.

I don’t even like Circle K, just for the record. Maybe on a road trip…

She just laughed. “Gotcha.” “Shooting gun finger” and all. I can’t remember if she liked westerns or just liked saying “howdy.”

This was all funnier when I was recounting it after I got home. However, someone asked later why anesthesiologists are so funny. I said I think it’s because they have a little more free time on their hands. Don’t get angry, doctors! You have an important job but as you’re monitoring the patients you have time to tell a tale and entertain. You really are at the head of the table, so to speak. I also think that it’s nice to have someone put you at ease before you have to go night-night. Not that I was worried, but it is nice to be entertained. Oh, and the warm blanket the nurse gives you is also a bonus.

The conversations I had with all the nurses, techs, and the doctor made me think of the book, Consequential Strangers by Blau and Fingerman, Phd. Not that I will necessarily see these people again, but they sure brightened my day and entertained me. How can that be a bad thing?

Give me a shoutout! 🤠

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