Either Way You’ll Be Flying.

Wear a surgical gown the next time you fly. It'll make getting through security easier.

Wear a surgical gown the next time you fly. It’ll make getting through security easier.

My recent experience made me realize how little difference there is between flying and surgery. The distinctions are subtle:

Flying-It’s recommended that you arrive at least two hours early so you have time to get through security.

Surgery-It’s recommended that you arrive at least two hours early so the receptionists have time to sit around and argue about where to have lunch.

Flying-You have to go to three different desks to check in. Your luggage will get a plastic identification band.

Surgery-You have to go to twenty-seven different desks to check in. Eventually your wrist will get a plastic identification band.

Flying-You’ll spend a lot of time sitting in uncomfortable chairs around strangers staring out the windows.

Surgery-You’ll spend a lot of time sitting in uncomfortable chairs around strangers staring at the elevators.

Flying-The waiting areas will have a large variety of overpriced junk food.

Surgery-The waiting area will have a cart with a small variety of overpriced junk food reminding you that you haven’t been allowed to eat or drink anything for more than twelve hours.

Flying-Delays are likely.

Surgery-Delays are inevitable.

Flying-The waiting area will have places where you can buy overpriced current magazines.

Surgery-The waiting area will have lots of free old magazines.

Flying-Everyone in the waiting area is getting on a plane.

Surgery-Half the people actually going into surgery brought three hundred and fifty-nine relatives to sit with them.

Flying-There are occasional garbled announcements over the intercom.

Surgery-You can’t hear the garbled announcements over the mass of relatives fighting over the free magazines.

Flying-Lots of people in the waiting area are using laptops to write email.

Surgery-Lots of people in the waiting area are using laptops to update their wills.

Flying-People come and go on motorized carts.

Surgery-People come and go in wheelchairs.

Flying-An X-ray device will scan your entire body.

Surgery-The surgeon’s going to cut your body open and have a look around inside.

Flying-You get complimentary nuts.

Surgery-You get complimentary morphine.

Flying-The plane may leave without you.

Surgery-If the surgeon starts before you get there get another surgeon.

Flying-In the event of an emergency you may have to stick a rubber mask over your face.

Surgery-As soon as you go in someone’s going to stick a rubber mask over your face.

Flying-You hope the plane doesn’t crash.

Surgery-You hope you don’t crash.

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8 Comments

  1. Ann Koplow

    I just wanted to tell you, Chris, that this was the PERFECT post for me to read while I am waiting at the Edinburgh Airport for our flight home. Thanks for being there for me, as usual.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad to have been there for you right as you were about to fly. It must be a sad thing to leave Edinburgh behind, but I hope the flight, like my surgery, is uneventful.

      Reply
  2. kdcol

    Years ago when I went in for a simple procedure, I had someone just drop me off at an ungodly early hour. The plan was for Gerald to come later to pick me up. I didn’t think it was a big deal to not have anyone there, at least not for all the tedious and time consuming check-in process. The hospital didn’t like my aloneness at all so I had to call Gerald to get there earlier (so he could wait around doing nothing longer). But I thought it was funny how the staff kept asking me if I was an abused wife and that I could tell them and I’d be safe. Umm… no? But thanks so much for continuously asking. I guess since Gerald wasn’t there it looked suspicious to them or something? Who knows?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s pretty weird. I think it would be a relief to the staff to have you there by yourself. And at an ungodly early hour it would kind of make sense too. Although they did keep asking me if I had someone to take care of me and a way home, so I guess that’s a regular concern. They didn’t want me driving myself home.

      Reply
  3. Gina W.

    I had never before made the airline/hospital connection. Your forgot to mention all the prayers being sent out– all saying, “God, please don’t let me die”.

    Did the hospital pick out the largest and most unflattering gown to put on you? Why is all puffed out in weird places? It looks like you’re wearing a deflated hot air balloon. Did they let you keep the hair-net on those days you might want to help out in a school cafeteria somewhere? Could I possibly ask any more annoying questions?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m sure if you think about it you could come up with some more annoying questions. They did give me the largest and most unflattering gown, and it was made of paper, but at least that made it easy for the doctor and the intern and the anesthesiologist who all wanted to reach up under it. It would have been easier if they’d just draped a towel over me. I have no idea what happened to the hairnet. I put it on before I went into surgery but when I woke up it was gone.
      Also what I really left out was the funniest part: I wrote most of this in the waiting room, but then the anesthesiologist came in to tell me there was a small chance I’d die. But, she said, it was safer than driving a car. I hear the same thing about flying all the time.

      Reply
  4. Shawna

    Mmmmmm… morphine… OOh! Song suggestion! Jolie Holland- Good Ol’ Fashioned Morphine. Love this post!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The name “morphine” just slides off the tongue. I prefer my sedatives from a glass rather than a needle, though.

      Reply

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