Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color


Mum was trimming my hair. “Oops.”It was no longer a trim, but a full blown… haircut? She hasn’t cut my hair since.
It’s one thing to hear a hairdresser saying “oops” but quite another to hear a brain surgeon say it. Nor would you want to hear a brain surgeon say, “Can I see that diagram again?”
When I scheduled the surgeries, I phoned Cindy. After I shared my news with her and there was nothing more to say, I broke the heavy silence. “I should be okay as long as the surgeon doesn’t say oops.”
Cindy laughed “Perhaps you can get a special deal—buy one get one free or two for the price of one. They could mess with both hemispheres instead of just the one.”
“Hmmm… there’s a thought. I wish they could do it as outpatient surgery, or even better, a drive thru service.”
We spent the next couple of weeks coming up with one quip after the other.
“I would be somewhat concerned if I saw Brain Surgery for Dummies on his book shelves.”
Cindy came up with, “That was cool, now can you make her leg twitch?”
My older brother, Jonathan, added to the collection. He was the one who came up with the comment on the diagram, and, “It looked so easy on that episode of Grey’s Anatomy.”
One of Cindy’s coworkers went online and Googled “Things that you don’t want to hear a surgeon say” and came up with a whole bunch, such as, “Can you hand me that uh… um… uh… that thingy” and, “Don’t worry—I think it’s sharp enough. What’s a little rust anyway?”
They kept coming, by phone, by email “Wait… is it my left or her left?” and, “Do you think we need a bigger drill?”
Once I was within days of my trip out to Phoenix, the jokes started running dry. Instead, whenever I thought about the impending surgeries, my heart would start pounding, drowning out every other thought. Cindy and I tried, but our efforts became more and more feeble, and mine sounded more desperate than funny.
We arrived at the hotel in Phoenix a couple of days before the first surgery. When we checked in, there were a couple of packages waiting for me at the front desk. One was a portable DVD player and some DVDs that my cousin, Chantal, had sent to help pass the time in hospital when I was over the worst of it.
The other box was from Cindy. It contained a sleeveless button down shirt. I chuckled over the picture above the front pocket. It was a cartoon of an anxious looking woman on the phone, reminiscent of my numerous fear ridden phone calls to Cindy.
I shook it out to show Mum, and I burst out laughing. On the back was a list “Things you don’t want to hear your surgeon say.”
The first item on the list was, “Oops!”