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Abs of Steel

26 August 2014
So, I survived surgery.  It's quite the story.

I woke up at 8 a.m. last Wednesday and immediately started work on my house.  I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  I wanted my house to look nice while I was recovering, mostly because I knew that people would be visiting and bringing over meals and I didn't want them to see how we normally live.  And also with the added bonus that if I died on the table, no one could judge my inferior housekeepery.  So I scrubbed as hard as I could; I mowed the lawn and weeded and at 2:00 I took my last bubble bath.  At 2:45 we dropped Sparrow at a friend's house and headed to the hospital.

I was supposed to be operated on around 5 p.m.  At 5:15, I was still hanging out in pre-op, bored out of my mind.  Luckily all my cleaning wore me out, so I was able to take a little nap while Hawk did some work on his laptop.  At 6 the doctors finally came in to consult with me.  The surgery was supposed to take around 45 minutes, with another 1.5 hours spent in recovery before I could go home.  Sparrow's first day of school was the following day, so Hawk and I were anxious to get going so that we could pick Sparrow up from my mom's and put him to bed at a reasonable hour.

Hawk and I said adieu and the anesthesiologist wheeled me to the OR.  He gave me some anxiety medicine and after a minute asked if I had felt anything yet.  "Um, no," I said.  So he gave me the rest of the syringe.  I still didn't feel it.  Sometimes when I go under anesthesia I can feel it kicking in, but this time was one of those times where it just went black.

The next thing I knew was pain.  Serious pain.  I entered the hospital at a pain level of 5/10 and I woke up from anesthesia at a 9.  The anesthesiologist gave me fentanyl before I had woken up all the way, but it didn't help.  The recovery room nurse gave me another amp of fentanyl, plus TWO amps of Dilaudid.  Then they gave me 2 oral Percocet, but I never got below a 7 on the pain scale.

While this was going on, I learned that the surgery had taken twice as long as it was supposed to and I started freaking out because Sparrow was at my mom's, and it was getting late.  Then I learned that the surgery hadn't even happened properly.

Apparently, there was so much scar tissue that the surgeon wasn't able to get through at all.  He tried to make a wider incision than normal through the belly button and that didn't work, so then he tried he to make a new incision through the right side and he still couldn't get through.  The poor guy tried for an hour and a half to make the surgery work and he couldn't do it.  I felt really bad (I still feel bad.)  The doctor said that in 28 years, he's never seen anything like this.  He said he's never not been able to do a laparoscopy.   What can I say?  I'm an anomaly.

Luckily, while I was under, Hawk called my mom and was able to let her know what was going on. She brought Sparrow to our house and put him to bed and then just sat around bored for a few hours.  We didn't get home from the hospital until almost midnight, so we were really grateful that she was able to do that for us.

It's been 6 days and the pain level is still unreal.  Especially for them not being able to do anything!  I had to go to the ER on Friday and they gave me 4 syringes of Dilaudid and it still didn't touch it.  I don't understand why I hurt this much.  I haven't dropped lower than a 7 throughout the entire recovery.

So I have abs of steel.  Or titanium.  Or there's a baby dragon in there.  Or maybe I'm part turtle shell. I don't know.

People keep asking me what's next.  I don't know what's next.  We've talked with the doctor briefly.  He wants me to get some gastrointestinal tests and rule everything out that way.  Then, once we've confirmed that it's not my bowel or stomach or anything else, he's thinking he will do another surgery where he opens me up and removes the scar tissue and checks for endometriosis.  This one will not be laparoscopic, so the recovery time will be longer.  Whiiiiich means that I can't even consider this surgery until the semester ends in December.

Realistically, it's not too bad.  I've lived with the same pain every day for 2.5 years.  I can handle 4 more months.  But I wanted this whole saga to be over.  I wanted it solved and I want the pain gone.  So the thought of hurting for the next few months is, well, painful.  Yes, there is a painkiller I can take to keep me sane through the whole thing.  But I just quit that medication and it was hard and I want to be done with it.

So that's the story.  I'm a medical anomaly with abs of steel.  And I'm not sure where we go from here.

But on the positive side, Sparrow has been doing well in first grade and he's coming home every day with new nonsensical German words to teach us.  Seriously, this kid is amazing.  I'm excited that he's learning a new language, but German sounds ... very pretend.  At least if he's faking it, he's doing it convincingly.  Ja, sehr güt.

Things from the heart.

19 August 2014
Tomorrow I am having surgery.  It's just a laparoscopic exploratory surgery, so nothing major.  But this will be the 9th surgery I have had, and the 4th I have had while in my 20s.  This is kind of routine for me, so I'm not technically afraid, but I am nervous.

Watching Sparrow has broken my heart.  He is terrified for me.  He is so scared and I don't know how to fix it.  I have explained that it will be okay, that the doctor is trying to help me.  I tell him that the doctor is going to fix the owie in my tummy, and that once he fixes it I will be able to play with him more and not be so tired and hurting.

I am afraid that I am lying.  I am afraid that I will always be broken; that I will always be in pain.  I am afraid that the surgery won't help, or that it will help but I will have to have it again in a few years.  I am afraid that the doctor will take my ovary out and I will only have one left.  I hate this ovary that seems to cause me pain, but I don't want it to be taken out.

Sparrow asked me today why he doesn't have any brothers.  My heart stopped for a moment.  I explained that my body couldn't have any more babies and that Hawk and I had prayed about it and decided that Sparrow was our family.  But then today I talked to Hawk... and both of us want another baby.  And I still have ovaries, so...

Sparrow starts first grade (!!!!!) on Thursday.  I will be out of commission for his first day of real school.  I am terrified for him.  He is brilliant, but he is innocent.  He is going to a real school, not a developmental school anymore.  There will be kids that are mean and kids that teach him bad things.  How do I counteract those things?  How do I protect his so innocent heart?  I look at him and I can't believe how sweet and innocent he is.  He doesn't understand normal kid behavior.  The other day a kid called him a name and Sparrow retaliated only because he thought the other kid was playing with him.  And when the kids exclude him on purpose, he is so confused and sad.  I want to protect his innocence, but I don't know how.

I'm confused lately.  I'm starting school on 2 September, and I don't know what I want to major in and I don't know what my classes are (I'm registered but the only class I remember is German 101.)  Why am I going to school?  I may never be able to hold down a real job, with all the health issues I have.  My degree is a dream I have always had... but will it be useless once I get it?

Hawk gave me a blessing tonight.  He blessed me that if I follow the directions of my doctors and follow the Word of Wisdom, I will have a body that is clean, clear, and full of light.

That is my dream.  I want that body.  I want a body that is clear and clean and can function.  I want to be able to play with Sparrow without getting tired.  I want to spend days cleaning, working, playing.  Not lying on the couch and trying to sleep so I can escape from the pain for a few hours.  I hate who I have become because of this pain.  I hate that Sparrow has learned to play by himself because he knows I will say no if he asks me to play with him.  I hate that we have completed almost nothing on my Summer Plans list.

I dream of that body - the one that is pain free, strong, and clean.  I will do all I can to receive that body.  But in the meantime, this pain is ruining me.  It is ruining who I am and who I want to become.

I am not afraid, but I am nervous.  My heart is aching for so many things.

I just want Sparrow to be okay, and I want Hawk to be okay, and I want me to be okay.  I just want to be okay.


I'm prone to wander, Lord; I feel it.  Take my heart - O, take and seal it - seal it for Thy courts above.