Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Incredibly, Hope

I don't know if I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I had an appointment at a Wound Care Center in the next town over, people whose job is (in my not-so-humble opinion) cleaning up after other doctors' messes. Actually, they deal with severe wounds that just won't close.

I was sitting at the table, trying to force down a soft-boiled egg, when one of the visiting nurses showed up to change my dressing, despite my having told everybody and his uncle from day one that my dressing wouldn't have to be changed today, since that would be done at the Wound Care Center. My husband went outside to try to chase her off -- we get billed by the visit, and our insurance will only cover 25 visits per year -- while I attended to various personal chores. When I came out, she was standing in the kitchen, talking to my husband. Sigh.

And for some reason -- I found out later that she and dh had discussed this outside -- she mentioned that in a circumstance like this, the body takes a terrific hit. Dealing with the emotional trauma takes all the body's reserves, but after surgery and then a complication, there are no more reserves.

Do you know how incredibly helpful it is to hear someone say this?! That that awful helpless feeling of not being able to cope with even life simplest tasks is physiological?! I can't describe the lift I got from hearing it put that way. No "Stop feeling sorry for yourself," no "It'll be fine, you'll see," none of that phenomenally brainless optimism that leaves you feeling as if you have to Get Into the Spirit of the Thing, rah rah!! Just, "This is how it is, and it takes time to get off Point A, let alone actually making it to Point B."

I kept this in mind all day, and had proof of it later in the day, when I went to make a medication log in my planner, just something that would help me keep track of how much of what I had had -- I wrote it out for today, then what I'd had for breakfast and lunch, and I was absolutely exhausted. How can you get wiped from making a list?!

Oh, yeah, the Wound Care Center. Apparently they have this vacuum thing that sucks up healthy cells from other parts of the body and deposits them in the cavity of the wound. I asked for a worst-case scenario, since I can't function with Optimistic Prognostications, and was told, "Worst case? Two months."

Two months?! I was sure I was looking at 6-8 months!! Of course, I'll be hooked up to "Ginny" 24/7 for those two months, but hey, it beats 8 months. ("Ginny": wound vac = WV = West Virginia = Ginny. I need to do at least one weird thing per day to stay on keel.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Setback :-(

Well -- I survived, as most of you know by now. The surgery actually went very well (I'm told), and I came home last Monday, slept for half the week, and was all set to move on to recuperation.

Yeah, right.

On Friday, I went to my gynecologist's office to have the stitches taken out, something they used to do in the hospital back when I was having kids. And back then, the stitches were in for 8-9 days, and those puppies HELD. Not this time, they didn't. So now I'm walking around with a 5" slit in my gut, which needs to be dressed twice a day by Visiting Nurses (and our insurance will only pay for 25 visits).

To top it all off -- my doctor is on vacation. I really liked this doctor, and I can't get over the fact that she scheduled someone for major surgery the week before she went on vacation. And I can't get past wondering if she wasn't in such a big honking rush to get the stitches out so she could go on vacation -- and now I have to live with the consequences of her being in such a rush.

Honestly, if I had known? I don't know if I would have gone through with it, I just don't know. But what I do know is that my life is now what I swore it would never be: I have no life. It's taken up by medical procedures and consults and pills, 24/7. And this is what it will be, now that I've chosen this semi-"life" instead of letting nature take its course: As you age, you become more and more of an income for the Medical Establishment.

70 is a good age. 80 can be a good age. 90? I have people in my family in their 90s. 90 is not a good age. Nor do I want to do that to my kids ("When the heck is the old bat finally gonna give in?!"). No one in his 60s should have a living parent.

I can only hope now that God takes me before then. Now that I've chosen "life."