Yup, you heard it here first, folks. Surgery #3 in year #4, in 2 weeks, with no nursing for 1-2 days. Riii–ght. Here’s how this all goes…
2005, July, a Friday, I get sick, feel awful and can’t figure out why I’m in pain. Monday, I hit the doctor’s office, my new as-to-yet unseen doctor is on vacation, so I see random lady doctor. She says it’s my appendix, sends me in for CT scans. I am relieved that I have insurance. Tuesday: 2 scans. Do not let me tell you about the humiliation considering I’ve been in pain for over 4 days. I do as instructed, feeling awful. The nurses feel really bad for me, I can tell. Scans turn up ‘nothing’. Bloodwork ‘nothing’. Fever ‘nonexistent’. They claim it must be an ovarian cyst and send me back to work, nearest time I can get in is 2 weeks, despite my frantic calls to both doctors offices for help. It’s kind of hazy, somewhere in there, I think Wednesday, they tell me to come in for a sono. scan to check for cysts and I have to drink 40 oz of water and not pee an hour before I come in. Then they keep me waiting an hour. If you have met me, you know I never enter a place without figuring out where the bathroom is, if there’s not a bathroom, I’m not interested in being there for more than 20 minutes. I am ‘allowed’ to empty my waddling bladder, get back on the table to finish the abdominal sonogram and the technician tells me my bladder is filling back up. You think? On all the scans all that is seen is ‘fluid’. Meanwhile on the advice of a friendly phone-nurse I am popping tylenol and expired ibuprofin every 2 hours. I lie awake at night, in pain and half dreams, half psychotic imaginations of being the first person to invent root beer from sassafras in huge barrels. I finally get some exhausted sleep by folding myself in half and sleeping sitting upright, holding my festering appendix tight to my body. Thursday and Friday I drag through work. Everyone knows something is wrong. Saturday I muster the courage to ask Matthew to get me a Subway sandwich, it’s the only thing that sounds good. By noon on Sunday I’d managed to swallow part of a pudding cup. That and jello was about all I’d eaten that week. By 12:30 my teeth are chattering. In July. I shiver uncontrollably under blankets in sweats. I check my temperature for the 15 millionth time. I’d been told, if I get a temp over 1o1, call and ask for the Ob-gyn to come in. Why him, I don’t know, I guess he was on call. Anyway, It’s 101.4. I tell my husband to shower and take me to the emergency room. By the time we get there 20 minutes later, my temp is almost 105 and the 5 minute trip almost made me pass out in pain. I cool my heels for several hours, recounting all the stuff I’d been through. The colace the ob gyn’s nurse told me to take, because obviously I was constipated shreds my intestine, so that the ER nurse actually believes that all that’s in the basin is urine (gee, or it was that I hadn’t eaten in a week so the sub sandwich was totally juiced with one pill), negative scans, the ‘fluid’ on the scans is the ‘soup’ the surgeon found that was left of my appendix. The ER tech asks if I’m going to fight him to get an IV in. To this day I don’t know if he was kidding, but he was easily 6′ and 250 lbs and he’d had a hamburger with onions recently, I wanted to hurt him. Maybe he could sense it. The OB GYN gets there and more humiliation, let’s just say I would take every opportunity to kick him in the face and the nads for what he put me through. Then he finally calls the surgeon, who does the same test the original doctor did and I look in his face and say, ‘how did they miss the appendix?’ I was in surgery for 20 minutes and lucky to be alive, 10 days from start to finish. That was surgery #1.
Surgery #2 was also emergency, following 24 hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing. Baby wasn’t coming out, C-Section was ordered. I could barely give consent I was so exhausted and remember only waking to hear them sell, tell her what we have dad, hearing my baby cry, and see Matthew hold her, teary eyes, before passing her to me. Everything else is a blank. October, 2008.
Both surgeries were emergencies. I had no choice in the matter, I was exhausted and my life (and baby’s in case #2) were in danger. It was cut and run, or die. Now I face surgery #3. Now I have a baby. My life is technically not in danger. Right now. I have a small hernia (which my doctor said twice was under some tummy fat, yeah, thanks, not able to do sit ups because of the hernia!) to the right and above my belly button. It’s been there for quite a few months. Every time I cough or strain (lifting a 20 lb weight from floor to hip height) I make it a little worse.
Now I have time to think, and worry, and I’ll have to pump milk ahead of time for Keeley, and pump and dump to make sure my supply stays good for 24-48 hours. I have 2 weeks. Every surgery has risks. The doctor seemed totally nonchalant. My husband thinks it will be okay. It will be on a Friday, I’ll be in ‘okay’ shape for him to go back to work on Monday. A week later I should be back to normal. But I have a baby, it worries me that something could happen to me. Granted, it’s not an elective surgery. I eventually have to have it. I pointed out that it was bad luck, the doctor told me no, that cancer would be bad luck. I had to admit that, but he hasn’t read my story. Now you have. I am worried. I woke up at 5 am this morning and got out of bed so my husband wouldn’t hear me sobbing. I cried in the shower, I keep getting teary eyed at random moments. My sweet baby smiling, laughing. What if I never get to see it again? What if my third chance is my last chance? What if I’m out of time? I’m sure other people face this, with worse things going on in their lives than me. Maybe I’m over thinking it, maybe not. I have faith, but the body is weak, literally. Can I hold out through anesthesia another time? What will I miss? What if my baby takes to liking a sippy cup to get her breast milk and decides to wean early? Will 10 1/2 months be enough? I don’t think it is. Mentally, I just have totally lost my $hit. Completely. I know I have to go through with it or have it be worse in a couple of months, and for my own health I have to, but as a mother, it’s pure torture. It won’t be over until I wake up and see that sweet smiling baby again, feel her latch on and drink her fill, patting her diaper so I don’t forget to change it (as if that would happen), and getting her burped and ready for some play. I’ll be glad when it’s over, but it will be mental torture until then. Friday, Sept. 18th.