“Sing, Dari! Loud as you can!” Normally my four-year-old daughter loved to sing. Now she just stared, uncomprehending, at the nurse. I squeezed her hand for comfort. The nurse wanted her to sing so she would take deep breaths of anesthesia. I understood that, but how could I explain it to Dari?
The doctor had allowed me to be in the operating room until she was asleep, but I didn’t feel like I was being all that much help. There was so much for Dari to take in: the mask over her nose and mouth, the doctors and nurses in scrubs, the machines, the bright lights, the tables.
Even I must have looked strange to her. My hair was tucked up under a sterile cap and only my eyes were visible above my mask. “It’s okay, Dari. Just sing whatever song you like. The doctor’s going to give you the laughing gas to put you to sleep. Remember you picked out the flavor you wanted?”