And now... the continuing saga...
Day Three continued (hospital to home): While my nurse, Laurie, was wheeling me out of the door of the hospital, I ran into a male colleague from the Lifelong Wellness Division. He was very sweet. He helped me into my car, at Crystal’s urging, but I was horribly embarrassed by how weak I was and how giant my belly was. I looked, at this point, like I was about eight months pregnant – just because of the inflammation from the surgery. I had been concerned since the first day about this inflammation and swelling. It was very disconcerting to suddenly look and feel so pregnant after looking and feeling normal. Until this moment though, I was focused on how crappy it felt and not how crappy it looked. I realized then that the blow to my ego and vanity was going to be almost as hard to deal with as the physical pain.
And in the middle of thinking about all of this, I completely forgot to call or text my husband to tell him I was on my way home. I had told him earlier that the doctor would let me go that day but then never updated him after that. I caught him very much by surprise and still in the middle of cleaning and readying the house when I got home.
By the time I settled myself into my bed (which I did almost immediately), my pain had finally gotten to the point that I really needed to do something about it. My doctor already had me pick up a prescription of another milder narcotic before I even left for surgery so they were sitting right by my bed with a glass of water, just waiting for me. Hesitant to get all jacked up in the head again, I split one in half and took it, then, once again, entered hazy buzzy dream(ish)land.
Twice during that druggy afternoon, I broke down into tears. Once, when Tim was helping me get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t stand that he was seeing me look like this. Of course, he said something ridiculously amazing like, “it’s an honor to be here to help you through this” or something… and it didn’t matter. I still felt so damn ugly for a minute there. Then, I cried again when I got back into bed and all I kept thinking was, “I want my mom. I want my mom. I want my mom.” I felt the kind of physical depression moving into my head that has been there before when I’m not exercising regularly and I’m treating my body badly but this time I wasn’t overeating, I was just on my third day of taking a whole bunch of downers.
That afternoon was the last time I took a narcotic for the pain. Since that afternoon, just three days after surgery, I have only taken Tylenol to help ease my pain from time to time. I’m not trying to say there is anything wrong with taking pain meds. For other people, there isn’t. If I could be one of those people, I would take them too. But I’m not. So, for me not taking pain meds after that third day has been a huge victory. Huge. A victory that has left me clear-headed enough to do the things I need to do to consciously heal myself right now.
After a longish nap, Tim had to take the kids out of the house for something and he was going to have to leave me alone but just about that moment, Crystal called to check on me and I asked if she had the time to stop by and hang out. She did. I was relieved. I was feeling a little nervous about being left alone. We hung out on the couch, waiting for Tim and kids to return and she offered to take not only our kids for the evening but also our dog! Wow! When Tim returned he was pleasantly surprised to see our kids and dog whisked off for a night and day of fun on Sanford Lake (where Crystal lives) and we were left with a quiet, peaceful house.
And after taking several deep breaths and talking for a little while about the weeks and months ahead, we spent our evening watching last season’s episodes of Californication, in bed, until I fell asleep. We didn’t get out of bed the next day until 11:30am. I haven’t slept in that long since before my son was born, 11 years ago. Thanks and Praise to Crystal for the best night and morning home from surgery I could possibly have imagined!
Day Four: I began taking only Tylenol for pain. The swelling in my belly was already down to what looked like about four months pregnant at this point. I walked five times for 5 minutes at a time, up and down the sidewalk in front of the house. I moved about as fast as a real-life tortoise and that’s no metaphor. Tim and I enjoyed a very quiet day at home. I left the house for almost an entire hour while accompanying Tim on some errands. The kids and dog came back. Lucy sang me to sleep while holding my hand. Possibly the sweetest thing that has ever happened to me.
Day Five: Swelling in belly seemed almost non-existent this morning. I could look down and see all the way to my incision – instead of having to look up and over my belly to see it. And…Chocolate Chip pancake breakfast!!! Outside on the picnic table!!! Apparently this gave me just the strength I needed to blow dry and brush my hair after my shower! Huge milestone. I had to do it sitting down but I still got it done and felt half-pretty for the first time in five days. I continued to do my walking drills. A friend messaged me out of the blue and offered to take kids to the pool for a few hours! Whoo-hoooooo! By the end of the day, tummy was inflamed again but still not nearly as bad as it was.
Day Seven: I ventured out of the house alone. That is, hubby dropped me off at the café then I got to sit and visit with a friend in the beautiful sun and fresh air. Another recovery milestone. And I continued to move more and more quickly – but still slow as hell. I ran out of Tylenol so I thought that was a good sign that I should try not taking it anymore either.
Day Nine: Took a 10 minute walk as soon as I got up!!! Feeling strong today. Though I’ve written once in these last nine days when I had gotten a great night’s sleep and my computer was close at hand in the morning before everyone else woke, today is my first official “writing time.” Sitter and all. Our new sitter came to stay with Lucy (Estlin is at a full-day camp this week) while Tim and I are working outside at the café – and, finally! It’s summer in Michigan! My goal for today (though I’m still trying hard to not make goals) was to write – and it really happened!
Hope you’re cooking and eating with love, everyone!
Namaste & Vaya Con Dios!