If you’re a good patient at Kaiser in San Francisco, the nurses will let you escape from your floor and go up to the top of the hospital where you can check out the panoramic view of the city. It doesn’t look like much in this photo, but it was quite lovely considering I spent eight days in the same room without a view. The good thing about my room was that it was private and quiet, AND the TV channel package included AMC so I got to watch the season premiere of Mad Men, even though I had to really focus and squint at the TV to keep the picture in focus and I didn’t remember any of it later on thanks to the button on the dilaudid pump I was pushing every ten minutes plus.
My mom stayed all day long and then slept in the room with me the first few nights, but I don’t think she actually slept much. Scuba came up every day, too, and even brought the kids a couple days after the surgery. I don’t remember falling asleep mid-sentence while talking to them, but Nathan thought that was pretty funny, the little shit.
I’ve had a ton of help since I’ve been home. Scuba stayed with us for the last ten days and made meals and shopped and took care of me. I needed it. Badly. This has been much more difficult than I expected. By the two-week mark I was getting really cranky that I was still feeling so tired and having pain. It’s only been two and a half weeks now, and I had to spend nearly all day in bed after going to visit with an ostomy nurse this morning. It’s horribly frustrating, and I’m using up all my willpower by staying just this side of not being depressed and freaked out. I can see how it would be so very easy to be resistant, to get pissed off and depressed and focus on how unfair it is to have to deal with this. To look at myself in the mirror and feel mutilated and freakish and broken and disgusting. But I also see how little that would help me in anything other than the occasional small doses, so I’m all Ms Silver Lining (And Shit) (excuse the pun, please) over here as much as I possibly can be. When all else fails, I take comfort in the fact that my old jeans fit, I magically have a waist again, and I have left over dilaudid.
I hurt. I’m exhausted. I’m going to feel better eventually, though, and the thing is that in some ways I’m already better off than I was before the surgery. I’m learning how to take care of myself, what I can eat, that it’s BAD to forget to take the massive dose of Pepcid I’m on twice a day, and it’s even worse to eat too much at once. One thing I’m encouraged to eat is marshmallows, so I am stealing the kids’ Easter Peeps without apology. As it turns out, for me, dealing with my own flipped inside-out small intestine sticking out of my abdomen isn’t as icky as I thought it would be. The skin around it is pretty sore, but I can handle looking at it, touching it, and caring for my unhappy skin and all that. There have even been some points of humor, but unfortunately they’re too gross to share (though poor Jenny has heard a thing or two).
My mom’s taking me back to see the surgeon in San Francisco this Friday, and I’m hoping we can talk about the date for my second surgery. It may be further away than I’d like it to be, but it’s coming, probably just about the time when I’m actually feeling good again. I’ll spend this week resting and reading and hanging out with my kiddos who are on spring break, and then next Monday they’re back to school and I’m back to work. I’ll have to wean off the naps by this weekend, but I’m really ready to jump back in. I’m not cut out for all this lounging.
Been thinking about you and wondering how you are doing, so I was glad to see an update.
Lounging is good only for short periods, so I hope you heal quickly so you can get back to being too busy and only wishing you could lounge more.
Hey there! I’m glad to see that you’re back. You’re very brave. It’s not easy having health challenges, but having health challenges and four kids is beyond the beyond. Be kind to yourself. You’re going to make it to the second surgery and this will be a distant dream. You don’t have to be perfect… just muddle through. In this case, muddling through is heroic enough!
Wow, what an ordeal! So glad to hear you’re feeling positive. And to think you’ll be feeling well is such a wonderful concept. Be gentle with yourself.
hey jen! thank you for posting this update. you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. i’m sorry to read you hurt but you’ve come a long way, lady. sending you good thoughts and energy for a quick, as-painless-as-possible recovery.
i’ve been a longtime reader but also a never commenter. i am so very happy to hear that you have come through this far so well. you are in my thoughts and i wish you a speedy recovery.
Thanks, everyone! You wouldn’t believe how much better your comments have made me feel. xo
Thinking of you. You are such an awesome woman for taking care of yourself! xxoox