No matter how prepared you think you are….. you are not prepared for everything.
No one can explain to you that several days later you will be exhausted from the act of folding two pairs of pants and hanging up two t shirts, to the point where you need to lay down before you fall down.
No one mentions that the general anaesthetic is designed to literally freeze your bowels on the operating table, and that combined with the power of the pain meds to do the exact same thing, everything is working against your bodies natural elimination process. And hooeee that hurts. It hurts your stomach, your stitches, your arms and legs ache and your back feels like you suddenly aged 67 years overnight. (and spent each one of those years stooped over in a coal mine chipping away at a bloody rock)
So you’re stooped over, but trying to keep moving, one hand on your back, the other on your abdomen (gotta protect those stitches!) shuffling round the house, feeling older than your days, monitoring the pain, making sure you keep on top of the timing of the meds/ keeping the pain at 1-3/10, battling the breakthrough pain that you know will make you cry like a baby, slowly rifling through every pair of casual pants you own, assessing their waist height and the strength of the elastic to try and predict the potential level of torture, debating over the nana slippers versus the funky sneakers (because how far are you willing to lower your standard of dress…?) and despite this, despite ALL this, all you can think is: soon, I can get my life back.
I won’t be in agony every single month for 10-15 days, I won’t have to cancel social events and struggle at work, I won’t lose so much blood my haemoglobin will drop to critical levels and require a life saving transfusion or two, I won’t have cervical shock and my body begin to shut down, I can function like a normal person again.
I will be able to walk 100 metres without palpitations and the threat of passing out. I’ll be able to go to meetings without needing to rush to the bathroom. I’ll be able to wear the clothes I want. Go out to dinner with my partner. Have weekends where I can safely and comfortably leave the house.
The hardest thing about chronic illness is that you’re forced to make it look like everything is fine.
I’m officially a week into a minimum four week recovery period. Today was a bad day for pain and discomfort. But tomorrow may be a good day. We’ll see. ….just for now, I will maintain my mantra: “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay”……….