I started experiencing some gnarly stomach pain right behind my belly button last Tuesday. I plunged into the days activities anyways, thinking it would go away. I had a really lucid thought while running errands with H in tow, I can’t do this, so I hightailed back home. I got him down for his nap and doubled over in pain. Luckily my step-dad came home and I asked him to take me to the ER after H woke. 10 minutes later after tossing, turning, & googling my symptoms I came back down & asked him to get H up so we could go NOW.
I had appendicitis.
I was admitted roughly around an hour after arriving. The pain reminded me of contractions, although this was more of a constant knife in the belly than a gradual build up & let down. Does anyone else out there hide their pain really well? I do. I hide it so well that I have to really speak up for myself so I can get the care I need. The hospital was a constant set of waiting rooms. Waiting in the ER. Waiting in the ER holding room. Waiting in the hospital room. Just waiting. All the while the pain I had been experiencing since 6am. I finally broke down and asked for some pain relief. While the nurse was hooking up the port she started asking me those questions, date of birth, full name, on a scale of 1 to 10 how is your pain level. I burst into tears. That must have been enough of an answer for her, she began to administer the medication. I felt relief, my pain was manageable again. I could hear my son yelling out in the ER waiting room.
We arrived at 1, I was admitted around 2, and I didn’t have surgery until 11pm. A constant cycle of nurses & surgeons came to see me, most promising contradicting things. One nurse I had for a couple of hours kept promising to do or bring this or that & kept forgetting. She reminded me of my old waitressing days, 10 tables at once, all wanting condiments, napkins, the check, refills on water. I remember feeling that I didn’t have enough to give back then, and I could tell she was doing the best she could, running around just giving, giving, giving. At 10pm we asked again about surgery, whether it would be tonight or in the morning, or like, WHEN. I was mentally done, hungry, in pain, doped up, so thirsty, & it may sound silly but I am not a night person. My brain checks out at night & I was just over it. There was a poor ‘fill in’ floater type of nurse who was telling me all these things I used to say in my customer service days, I’m sorry you feel this way, unfortunately this is how things are, the surgeons are doing their best, & so on. I asked him to go away & burst into tears (again). Yes I did. I’m a pretty nice person until I know I have to stand up for myself. 10 minutes later my regular nurse was back & said surgery was on for 11pm.
Surgery is weird. A part of me looked forward to it, I wouldn’t have to do anything, I would be unconscious, & this digging hot iron in my belly, that pinky sized evolutionarily outgrown infected appendix would be gone. Another part of me didn’t relish the thought of being a sort of Frankenstein to a group of surgeons I didn’t even know. I felt completely out of control after I was moved onto the cushy slab in the operating room. They were performing a laparoscopic surgery, also known as a keyhole surgery. They go through three holes, one of them being my belly button (I know, ouch!) into the site to cut out the appendix. The man who rolled me over to surgery kept talking to me incessantly about how they keep the surgery rooms clean, on and on he went. I really wanted to tell him to shut up. As they pressed the mask against my face and told me, breathe in, I wanted to tell them, wait! Are you sure this will….
I woke in a part of the hospital no one was in except a nurse sitting behind a station and a new attendant to wheel me back. It was like a Cohen brothers movie, & it didn’t help that I had just watched The Big Lebowski for the first time a couple days before. I moved my limbs. I said, over? I said, water? I hadn’t drank anything since arriving.
It was hard to sleep. The nurses have to monitor & come to check every hour. I was walking around right away. The pain was gone, now replaced by a much lesser pain in my belly button. Even days later this is where I feel the pain, not in the the other two incisions. I was released by 10am the next day, it really is one of the easiest surgeries to come back from. My mom & I arrived home to my step-dad sitting next to a 103 temped up toddler. He had strange rashes all over his body. He has eczema, so we didn’t catch this at first. All that to say is I did my best trying to soothe him the first night after surgery but I couldn’t. He was up every half hour. I’m not supposed to lift anything over 10 lbs.
We took him to the doctor yesterday & got all loaded up with meds. His fever broke & he’s been back mostly to his normal self. I looked around yesterday at everything. My leftover birthday bags crowded on the dining room table. Camping gear arrived from Amazon. My new hiking shoes sitting in a corner. Mothers day cards & flowers dying. Everything just set in an in between stasis, like that put upon nurse, no one being able to do anymore than they could at that moment. My parents have done so much this past week. My mom didn’t even take a sick day, she stayed with me until I came out of surgery, & my step dad making meals, rocking H to sleep while I can’t.
I’ll go back to teach next week starting on Monday, but the doctors recommended (most of them at least) that I wait a full month before going full steam. I have to speak but not do. I’m not happy being told to rest. I want to put my son to sleep, I want to practice yoga. It’s going to be a daily thing for me to let go of.
One day at a time, again those words have new meaning. Pics from a hike last Saturday with an awesome groups of ladies. I went from hiking uphill for 4 miles & headstanding on a back road to sitting in a hospital in the matter of days:
Wishing/hoping much health for all of you out there. Also sending good vibes to all across the world whose lives are altered by the weather, fires, or earthquakes.