Yes, I’m having surgery. Yes, I’m freaked out. I’ve been riding the adrenaline (panic) wave all day. Trying to hold out until I can take my double dose of Klonipin. Which really ought to be now. Or an hour ago.
No, really Doc, my gallbladder is fine right where it is. It’s the nausea I could do without.
DH says it’s too late to reschedule. Shit.
Why am I so panicked? Medical trauma my therapist calls it. Near fatal car accident, I call it. Same diff.
I was in a car accident twenty years ago. I was young and beautiful, full of life one minute. Spitting blood, screaming and cursing the next. Waking up in a cat scan and I can’t feel anything below my neck. The excruciating pain of having your hip put back in its socket without anesthesia. Regaining consciousness only to discover you are strapped to a board and literally CAN NOT MOVE. Passing out – over and over again. Each time waking up to some new and horrible torment. Someone has drilled holes in my head and put screws in them. Four posts connecting my skull to a body cast. Someone feeding ice chips to me, telling me to hold on. The priest who never left my side in case I needed last rites. My parents showing up. My mother saying, “Oh my God, my baby won’t be pretty anymore.”
No one told me I wasn’t supposed to live. No one told me I wasn’t supposed to walk again. Damn, I’m stubborn.
Six weeks in the hospital. A guinea pig for intern rotations. People talking above you, around you, as if you are an object on display. Every day its the same questions, every day the same answers. By the end of it, I was going to punch the next person who asked if I could wiggle my toes.
I lost teeth, shattered bones, bruised kidneys and my heart, but I never broke a fingernail.
When I walk into a hospital, I get nauseous. I see a gurney and I have to turn away before I start to shake. If I visit someone, I perch on the edge of a chair, ready to flee. Scrunched into a ball or as near to it as dignity allows. Barely controlling my nerves long enough to show them support. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Once I had to take my husband to the hospital. They didn’t know who to treat – me or him?
I’ve been able to avoid hospitals for the most part. My mom had open heart surgery ten years ago. I could barely walk into the room before she had the surgery – I certainly couldn’t afterwards. Enter immersion therapy with Daycare for Psychos, doctor’s offices, various blood work and tests over time. And still I want to run.
My last encounter was when I had a hysterectomy. It took everything I could muster just to get to the hospital. Fortunately, I had the nicest doctor ever but then I woke up screaming in recovery. The nurse bitching at me to calm down or the morphine won’t work. What’s your pain on a scale of 1 to 10? 12!
Can’t sit up, can’t lie down. There’s not enough painkiller to go around. Six weeks recovery. But I survived that too.
So now you want my gallbladder. It’s an easy surgery. Laparoscopic. In and out. You’ll be fine. Oh and if something goes wrong and we can’t do it laparoscopically, we’ll just cut you open. No problem. By the way, permanent side effects range from none to can’t eat fatty foods (goodbye steak) to continual nausea and constant diarrhea. This is supposed to make me feel better?
Oh well, I’m not sure writing this has made me feel any better. Maybe I should have told you about my new psychiatrist. She is really cool and she isn’t asking me to go into a hospital.
DH says to focus on a positive outcome. My new mantra: I will be happy if there is a positive outcome.
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