Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 3

Picture of Semi Shumshinikh Street on the way to the clinic in Novosibirsk
Semi Shumshinikh Street on the way to the clinic in Novosibirsk
Monday 16 December

"You know how people say, 'I left my heart in _____?'"  I joked with Joey Monday morning, "Well, I'll be able to say, 'I left my uterus in Novosibirsk.'"

"Are you thinking about David Livingstone?" he asked.  David Livingstone's heart was buried in Africa, and his body taken back to England.

"I was thinking more about just leaving it behind here, but that'll work."  I wouldn't exactly bury my uterus in Siberia, but it would be staying here.

I had been reading Isaiah 41:8-10.  Another favorite verse that I memorized 20 years ago.  

"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you."

Yes, Lord, it's true.  From all over this Northern Hemisphere, at least.  And my extended family feels like I'm in one of its farthest corners right now.  Far from any possibility of them getting here.  

I've left part of myself emotionally and spiritually in all the places I've been, but especially here - why shouldn't I leave a physical part of myself as well? Maybe it's even somewhat symbolic.

"I said, 'you are my servant, I have chosen you, and have not rejected you.'"

You have chose me to have a hysterectomy in Siberia.  You have chosen me for this, and You have chosen this for me.

They said I would be first Tuesday morning.  The operation would start around 8:30, but probably not really get underway until nine, and should be finished by around eleven.  Joey decided to come around ten.  They would show him to my room, where he could wait until it was over.

The preparation the day before an operation seems to be pretty much the same in Russia as America.  You want to be, you know, empty on the operating table.

Joey had to work that evening and I told him not to cancel.  I called a friend to walk with me to the clinic to check in Monday evening. 

"So do not fear..."

Lena came around 5:30 p.m. and we left to walk to the clinic about six.  The sun goes down around four here in December, so it was quite dark.  With the snow it was a very pretty night.  Everything seemed surreal.  It was good to have Lena along; it would have felt kind of lonely walking to check in by myself.  We talked, and I managed to feel fairly normal most of the time.  Maybe I even felt a little brave and courageous and adventurous.  

Picture of bahili in the clinic
Bahili in one of the clinics in Novosibirsk.
When we entered the clinic, we put on бахилы (bahili) over our boots.  These are plastic disposable over-slippers that doctors and nurses use in operating rooms, but are also commonly used in Russia to minimize the amount of dirt and snow tracked into other places such as clinics, some day cares, schools and offices.  Usually an entryway or foyer will hold bins full of clean bahili and bins for disposing of the used ones on your way out. 

The front desk was expecting me.  When I was here for an appointment,  I hung my coat in the cloakroom; but this time they gave me a white garment bag for my winter coat.  It would go to my room with me in the garment bag.  I asked about paying for the operation, but they said I would pay in the morning before it got underway.

"...for I am with you..."

 I said goodbye to Lena and went upstairs to the department of surgery.   The floor included five rooms (doubles and at least one single), the nurses station, a suite of operating/procedure rooms, and a bathroom and shower.  A nurse showed me into my room right behind the nurses station.  It was a single - I was the only occupant - and very cozy.  I recognized most of the furnishings as being from IKEA: small table, couch, wardrobe, comforters, pillowcases, and a lamp.  Not the sterile feel that I expected, which was actually kind of nice, but very clean at the same time.  My bed was not from IKEA, although the beds in some of the other rooms were.  The mirror over the small sink in the corner was identical to the mirror over my daughter's desk.  She got it from IKEA.  I felt at home.

Pictures of my room at the clinic
I hung the garment bag containing my coat in the wardrobe and changed into a t-shirt, cut-off sweats, and house slippers.  After I settled my street clothes in the wardrobe, I sat down with the nurse, Natasha, and began filling out paperwork with her.   As I signed papers, I met some of the other staff.  I had decided at some point not to let my anxiety about the operation keep me from being friendly and getting to know the people who worked there, so I asked and repeated everyone's name.  
Natasha gave me a cream like Nair to prepare the incision site, after which I needed a shower.  

At this point it was almost ten o'clock.  It seemed like I was the only patient there that evening.  One physician and one nurse remained on the floor, so it was pretty much deserted.  The physician gave me something to help me sleep.  I'm not sure it helped much. 


"Do not be afraid, for I am your God."

You are with me.  In a small room in a small hospital/clinic in December in Siberia, ready to have surgery in the morning, You are with me.  You are my God.  You do strengthen me. You do uphold me.  You always have; You do now.  You are with me.

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Related Posts

Read: My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 1
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 1
Link to My ysterectomy in Siberia Part 2
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 2
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 5
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 5

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  1. wonderful testimony, Michele.......very encouraging as a reminder that we are never alone when we walk with God our Savior...

    1. Thank you. No, we are never really alone, although we may forget that at times, but it's comforting to know He is always with us.