Last month my appendix decided it no longer wanted in on our relationship and it was decided that it should be removed. It was a terrifying experience and one that I was entirely unprepared for. I had driven myself to the emergency room thinking this was going to be an expensive way for a doctor to tell me it was nothing or that I just needed to fart. Instead, they told me they would be removing an organ from my body and they were prepping the OR immediately. It was overwhelming and scary and lonely and I couldn’t help but cry. Maybe a lot. I assured the nurse that I was being brave, even though there were tears on my face. She told me that I was definitely brave. That made me cry more.
A friend of mine showed up to hold my hand and tell me that everything was going to be all right. I’m not sure what I would have done if he hadn’t been there. For sure it would have involved many more tears than there already were. But even he couldn’t be there for all of it. At some point, they make the kind friend go to a waiting room and then wheel me down a long, scary, fluorescent-lit hall way to an operating room.
I assume that everyone channels someone or something when they are scared and being forced into bravery. Maybe it’s a person or a mantra. Mine was Coraline Jones. Spunky, blue-haired literary character who faces evil “other mother’s” while wearing yellow rain boots. That entire ride down the hall and up the elevator and down another hall, I kept thinking, I’m going to be brave like Coraline. I’m going to be brave like Coraline. I’m going to be brave like Coraline. And I was. Or at least I felt braver. When I got onto the operating table, they were plugging me in and getting everything ready and I told all the doctors and nurses, I’m totally being brave like Coraline right now! The nurse laughed and agreed.
And then they gave me the drugs.
I have decided to dress as Coraline at this year’s Comic Con. It is my homage to the literary gem who helped me be brave, even when I was afraid.
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