To Feel Ashamed


I lay on the operating table, shaking so hard from nerves that the monitor keeps beeping and coming loose from my leg, tears filling my eyes, while breathing so hard I think I could possibly hyperventilate. And for what? It certainly wasn’t open heart surgery, not even an overnight stay in the hospital. It was a minor surgery that took about 30 minutes in total.

As I lay there dressed in old China man pajamas with my hair smoothed into a blue cloth wrap, and watching dust particles fly through the room I thought of my son, who never once complained or cried about his surgeries. He had several heart related surgeries, granted he was only two, so he couldn’t say too much about it, but even after surgery, he got on with it. He lived trying to keep up with his twin brother. He loved playing in his sister’s room and clanging her toy pots and pans together while she was at school.

Me? I have cried, moaned, groaned, and had wished I had never gone to the Doctor, especially in China. The first time I went to the doctor here, I went in for a leg injury, and left with eye drops. This time I went in for a sore arm/elbow and left with a tumor. I must quit going to the hospital here.

Anyway, back to the hospital. I figured I would just be in a doctor’s office along with a friend who I took along for moral support, and it would be a quick removal of the tumor, which happened to be on my finger of all places. But, I was wrong!

She wasn’t allowed to go with me because I was going to the operating room. First I had to change into old man pajamas and twist my hair in a blue paper wrap in a locker room, then walked myself to the operating room. Next, I had to climb up on the table. Did I say climb?  I mean it. The table was way too high so I had to shinny up there the best I could, considering my arm still hurt and it was hard to pull myself up.

I finally made it! But then it all hit me. I remembered being escorted to the recovery room when my son had a reaction to anesthesia before one of his surgeries. He was as red as a tomato and laid on a silver, cold operating table. It was heart breaking to see him lying there, helpless, both he and I.

This is when I felt so ashamed of myself. He was so brave, and so many other people have surgeries everyday much more life threatening and painful than mine, but all I did was lay there and cry, shaking, wishing it was over, or better yet, thinking that I should have never gone in the first place.

The Chinese doctor told me to “relas” as he lifted the very long needle and began injecting it into my finger. “Is ok,” he said. Then he got another needle and did the same thing. Oh my gosh, such pain and such a baby. I can not stand pain, and I certainly hate needles and blood.

When my kids were little, I couldn’t even take them to the doctor if they had to have blood drawn, I had to go get my mom to go in with them.  I couldn’t stand to see them in such pain because it hurt me too.

“OWWWWW,” crap, he started cutting before my finger was numb!  “You feel paina?” “Uh, YES!” I tried to say, but not sure what really came out of my mouth.  “Ok, we waita, relas,” the doctor said. Ashamed of myself, I tried to lay still and take it like I knew my son did when he had his chest or back cut open, and being such a little guy, not knowing what was going on and why his mom and dad had deserted him.  Not sure whether I was crying more from the pain of the injection, the attempted cut on the finger, or the feeling of total shame. I said my prayers and hoped for it to end.

Finally, the very kind Chinese doctor said, “Finis, you feel paina?” as he wiped my tears away. I said, “Yes!” “You will feel more paina tonight, I give you pain medicine, I send pathology, tumor big.”

It was over, thank goodness. I got dressed, met my friend and we walked home. Today, one week later, I got the pathology results and he said the tumor was not “malint.” (malignant). So that is the good news and this is all I can type for now as my finger is hurting. I will learn to toughen up one day. But right now, I am going to bed, thinking of my son and wishing with all my heart I could have taken away all his pain.

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

2 responses to “To Feel Ashamed

  • Tina

    Get the finger better please, so you can blog more.Sooo glad you are ok, thanks for sharing. Please rest.love and prayers from Tulsa, OK.

  • Mark Grant

    Very touching. Like a good book, I was rivited to your story. Your son lives on through you. I know he was and is such a part of you that you are inseparable for life! I’m sorry you had to go through such a medical procedure. I’ve had something similar with 9 stitches on a finger and yes it is painful. I’m glad your allright with no lingering med. Thanks for sharing your story.

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