Donation: one slightly used gallbladder

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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9 thoughts on “Donation: one slightly used gallbladder

  1. I’ll keep you in my thoughts. I would tell you all of the good and how rare the bad is, but you know that already and it wouldn’t help. You had severe trauma long ago, me holding your hand now and saying, ‘It’s okay,’ really will not make you feel any better.

    But in spite of everything I just said – it will be okay.


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  4. Wow, that’s some seriously powerful stuff right there. Reading this now, I have to ask, have they ever put anything back? You’ve seen more stitches than most articles of clothing ever do! Sorry, just trying to make you laugh. You can skip the rest if I made you sad.

    You really are a trooper. An amazing woman to behold. I’m so happy you got through all of this. And I’m so glad that you lived that day on the Brooklyn Bridge. Because you’re here today, being a constant inspiration to me.

  5. You are so kind, Lulu. I can’t thank you enough for your support. I re-read this post too and it hit me hard. Maybe even harder than my New Year’s Eve post. It is a difficult memory, but necessary I think. It reminds me not to be stupid about things like driving. There are times when I am stupid, like any other driver, but overall I think I’m a little more cautious. I have a great respect for emergency vehicles and hospitals. I still despise incompetence, but the really good doctors can and will save your life. What you chose to do with that gift is up to you. Sadly, I suffer from survivor’s guilt – but that’s a whole other post.

    • I can only imagine. That sounds like one of the most horrific things a person could go through. And you were very young. Please remember to handle yourself with care. You’re a tough cookie, but tender. Accidents are called accidents because they were unintentional. And I know if you could have done something within the realm of reason, you would’ve. If you ever want to talk about it at any length, you know how to get to me. I’m always an open ear and heart for you.

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