"This is it, then," Roland says. "You’re putting me under?" Although he can’t see her mouth beneath her surgical mask, he can see the smile in her eyes.
"Not at all," she says. "By law, we’re required to keep you conscious through the entire procedure." The nurse takes his hand. "You have a right to know everything that’s happening to you, every step of the way."
"What if I don’t want to?"
"You will," says one of the surgical assistants, wiping Roland’s legs down with brown surgical scrub. "Everybody does."
"We’ve just inserted catheters into your carotid artery and jugular vein," says the nurse. "Right now your blood is being replaced with a synthetic oxygen-rich solution."
"We send the real stuff straight to the blood bank," says the assistant at his feet. "Not a bit gets wasted. You can bet, you’ll be saving lives!"
"The oxygen solution also contains an anaesthetic that deadens pain receptors." The nurse pats his hand. "You’ll be fully conscious, but you won’t feel a thing." Already Roland feels his limbs starting to go numb. He swallows hard.
"I hate this. I hate you. I hate all of you."