I’m back. Back from being in another city, in hospital, in weird paper knickers and a hairnet. Back with bruises in my tummy and a few more scars to add to my growing collection. More permanent evidence of my chronology of medical interventions. Back to my home and my cat and my beanbag.
The surgery was, of course, the main event motivating our foray into another city. The next most momentous occasion was when we made it out to see the final Hunger Games movie. This is a pretty big deal for me at my current stage of health (getting out and doing stuff, even if it’s mostly sitting in a chair in the dark watching fictional people on a big screen play out fictional dramas) but, gotta give credit where it’s due – I was helped along by the sorts of prescription pain killers that get locked up overnight in hospital lest some opportunistic ward lurker see an opportunity for a little black market medical vending. Yay drugs!
Returning to the surgery – once attired in my attractive undies, nightie, knee-high compression socks (I haven’t worn knee-highs since high-school which made for a surreal sort of self-perceptual orientation…) and oversized dressing-gown. I rocked up to the pre-op waiting room and all my fashion misgivings swiftly disappeared when I realised I’d found my people. Like rows of escaped asylum patients they lay in recliners, watching Dr Phil pseudo-analyse the interpersonal dramas of an average American family on TV.
One woman down the front kept complaining and sighing audibly when advertisements for food came on…it was about 3pm and we’d all been fasting. I was holding a pee cup, having not been pre-warned that they wanted any of my bodily fluids upon admission, I was failing to produce the requisite sample. There aren’t many times in my life where I’ve had to pee on command, and I kinda think that’s a good thing, you know, unless you’re an athlete it probably doesn’t bode well for your life direction if that’s something you’re used to and completely comfortable with. I wasn’t, comfortable I mean. But I still felt a bit responsible. Which is ridiculous, of course, but I did. It was a childish sort of irrational fear of not peeing and I’m sure if I asked Dr Phil about it he’d have some obnoxious 5 Step pathway to deal with it, but I couldn’t and I didn’t so I just, ya know, dealt on my own. Like the proper grown-up adult person my birth certificate evidences me to be.
Happily after a few hours of daytime TV I finally delivered and there was much rejoicing. Actually there was no rejoicing except in the little voice in my head. Now I just had to distract myself from the imminent operation to come. The gods of anti-boredom heeded my prayers and the lady next to me struck up a conversation by apologising for falling asleep next to me and snoring…she went on to explain she has sleep apnoea and then deftly segued into a detailed extrapolation of her daughter’s myriad health issues. On it went. Before I fell ill this might’ve annoyed me. Ill people can seem terribly self absorbed with their distinctively narrow corporeal focus, somewhat like lonely geriatrics, conversation becomes pruned and limited to the topic of ailments and the past. But I get it – when your body doesn’t work properly it’s very hard to maintain other interests. It’s like the foundation stone of life – no health? Good luck doing much of anything else! So I listened, and just as there was an opening for me to talk about why I was hanging out in the Liminal Lounge of Surgical Imminence, my name was called.
I was whisked down a corridor escorted by a nurse to a seat where I answered some questions, then another nurse came and I answered the same questions. I was then taken to the pre-op room and laid on a trolley bed and the filipino male nurse asked me where I’m from and when I told him we proceeded to discuss the comparative quality of weather along the major cities of the east coast of Australia. Soon the anaesthetist arrived. He was pale and slender with ice-blue eyes and oddly looked just like I suppose an anaesthetist should look. This wasn’t comforting or otherwise, just an observation. He placed a cannula in my hand and asked me about Lyme Disease. He wasn’t rude about it and I was grateful for that. Then an injection and the promise that I would feel ‘woozy’ and bam! Out like a light.
I wake up, freezing cold with what looks like Princess Jasmine’s face, from Aladdin, peering at me and repeatedly calling me darling. I ask for pain meds and try to focus. It’s noisy and cold and I feel my nerves are frayed. To my left a cluster of nurses are discussing celebrity crushes and I hear one say “Oh, I used to love David Cassidy.” So the second sentence I uttered with my newly regained human consciousness was “he hasn’t aged well”. I don’t even know if she heard me. I can’t recall receiving any response – that by no means can certify that I didn’t receive one. But even at the time I sensed that my impulse to interject on that topic alone, interspersed with requests for pain killers, might have appeared odd, even comedic, to an onlooker.
I’m not sure what it says about me that my first receptive conscious impression out of anaesthesia was of a Disney character and my first proactive non-medical act of conversation was to disparage David Cassidy’s aged appearance, but I’ll add it to the list of potential questions for Dr Phil, should I ever be unfortunate enough to end up on his show.
I was wheeled quite quickly to my room which felt like being on a pretty horrendous horizontal, blanketed rollercoaster and then MB was waiting for me and I started to convulse a bit with shaking chills. A million blankets later and I looked like a Bedouin facing a Saharan sandstorm. Every appendage seemed medically entrapped like a post-op puppet. My left hand and arm had the cannula with a drip line, my right arm had a blood pressure cuff and pulse thing attached to my finger, there was a weird pressure contraption attached to each leg that inflated, alternating, and sounded like Darth Vader breathing and I had a catheter. I forgot I was a grown-up and had a teary-eyed, dopey sulk to MB about how I couldn’t get comfortable and I didn’t want to be alone. A few temazepam and pain pills later and my misery was a thing of the past.
The nursing staff were gorgeous, my room was lovely, the young woman I shared my room with was friendly and I was positioned next to a window which had a beautiful view outside for when I woke up. MB came and spent each day with me and I stayed in for two nights. My primary surgeon and another assistant surgeon both visited me and said they found the endometriosis and cut it out and it should be all gone. I developed a massive bruise on the lower left side of my abdomen that I’m quite proud of really – it’s working its way through the rainbow of bruise colours as each day passes. The hope is now that my pain-pocalypse each month will be a thing of the past. It’s been a week so far and I’m still sore but can move around much more easily.
And that, folks, is the end of my adventures in hospital for endometriosis surgery. Your regular schedule of memes, gifs and inane commentary will return shortly.
Until next time xx