February 2012 Archives

outside my front door

I have not been myself lately.  Not at all.  I am depressed(ish) and terrified (very) because in three weeks and two days I'm going to check into a hospital in San Francisco and when I leave five to seven days later, I'll be minus my colon and will have what I sincerely hope is a temporary ilestomy.  It may end up being permanent, so I'm trying to be okay with that outcome, too.  Just in case.   Luckily, a girl can still buy cute underpants and a special belt to wear while swimming (maybe hopefully surfing), so it's not like it would be the end of the world.  Right?

95% of the many, many times I think about the surgery in a day, my blood pressure starts to rise and it gets hard to breathe and my shoulder and jaw and diaphragm muscles all kick into action.  Half of that 95% of the time I start to cry.  About 5% of the time I think about how much better I'll be in the long run, not having constant GI bleeding (from my now untreatable ulcerative colitis) and no longer wanting to go to sleep in the afternoon and at dinnertime.  I will be able to go for a walk without the unbelievable amount of stress that causes me right now.  I will be able to travel.  I will leave behind a huge amount of stress and will save a freaking fortune on not buying so much toilet paper.  I can go for a bike ride with my family and enjoy all sorts of things that right now I either cannot do, or doing them is so stressful that it's nearly impossible to have a good time.  

It's so frightening, though, all of this.  The part where I'll feel good enough to go do things is pretty far off and the time until then is going to be challenging in ways that I have a hard time thinking about.  When I was little, I used to have a dream that my abdomen had been sliced open from hip to hip by some bad guy with a sword, and in the dream I'd be trying to put my spillingout intestines back in my body.  After my c-section with Willow I was sure that the stitches would break open and all my guts would fall out.  So this feels a lot like that, only this time things REALLY ARE going to fall out of me. 

I'm having a half of the 95% of the time moment here and am crying.  Awesome.

I am lucky, though, to have so much help.  My mom is going to stay in the hospital with me full time for as many days as I need her, even though she works and has a whole lot going on at home.  Scuba has been so great, taking care of the kids because I'm sick and exhausted, buying us groceries and cooking and cleaning and letting me rest and bringing me pho.  This weekend is my last kid-free weekend before the surgery, so he's taking me to Monterey.  I might sleep a lot of the time while he goes out to dive or surf, and I'm sure that the beach we hang out at will be the one near the bathrooms instead of one of the prettier, less crowded ones, but it'll be good to take a break from all this stress. 

I'm too distracted to read much other than patient blogs and stories of people who've been through this before.  That's been really helpful, as was the preop visit with my surgeon.  He's a funny guy, and very experienced and confident that I'll come through this all perfectly.  I'm not looking forward to waking up in the afternoon or evening on March 22nd in a lot of pain with a drain sticking out of my abdomen and an NG tube to keep my stomach empty so I don't throw up, and - of course - the bag, but if I can hang in there and get through this and then through the second surgery where they put me all back together again, then hopefully by this time next year I'll be looking back and wishing I hadn't waited fifteen years to make this change. 

I have a stupid sinus infection cold thing.  The kind where my heels are connected to the nerves in the sinus cavities in my cheekbones and my face gets a little electric shock with every step.  The kind where if I don't keep the Sudafed coming, I'll get an ear infection, so I spend all day feeling like I've had seven double espressos and I'm too hot and too cold all at the same time and both the too hot and too cold make me have gross clammy sweats.  My teeth hurt.
I couldn't fall asleep last night, so I watched the last scene of the last episode of Six Feet Under on YouTube and then read a stupid fight in the comments about which is better, Dexter or SFU, and how there's a difference between fact and opinion and it's OKAY to have whatever opinion you want, because that is different than facts, but it's NOT OKAY to try to make other people share your opinion like it's some sort of fact, dude.  (Plus, he was wrong.  Six Feet Under kicks Dexter ass.) 

Then I had to stay awake longer in order to spend some time feeling guilty about wasting my time reading all those stupid comments.  And then a little longer to admonish myself for letting the whole thing take up MORE of my time by feeling bad about it.  Then I watched the last episode of Mad Men on Netflix, because the new ones are coming in March and I am embarrassed to admit what a huge amount of happiness the thought of that brings to me. 

Anyway.  The girls are both in the school play this year, and came home from their first dress rehearsal last night with full makeup on.  They looked incredible and I am partly dreading and partly waiting with fascination for the day when they are grown enough to put on their own eyeliner and lipstick.  I admit that I am jealous of them, of all my kids, for having the opportunity to do things differently than I did.  When I was watching that last part of Six Feet Under where Claire drives away from everyone to start a whole new life for herself, I got wistful as hell (again) about the time that I sort of almost went to New York or rural Pennsylvania for college but didn't ever get past the fliers and applications.  Instead I got married way too young.  Would I change anything?  No.  I love my kids and I can travel when they're grown.  But why was I too chicken to hang out in that space between childhood and adulthood?  I don't want to leave anyone behind and drive off in my Prius (mostly), but wasn't the best part about being young the fact that you could?  That and the skin that still had elasticity.  And the hot body.  And the self-centeredness.  heh.
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