Independence Weekend

My surgery on May 26th was more than I thought, and harder to recover from than I anticipated.  A hysterectomy, removal of multiple inclusions of endometrosis, & work on my bladder, all meant that I didn’t recover as fast as I wanted, or as quickly & thoroughly as some others expected.  It’s been a long, tired road, but I’m nearing the end if it.

My 6-week recheck appointment is fast approaching (Tuesday), and I’m fairly sure he’ll tell me I can go back to my normal life.  I haven’t had anymore unexpected pain, or bleeding, even if I do still get tired quicker, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it was.  And, I’ve learned to take it easy when I get home, no heavy lifting on my own, and to rest , at least for short periods, in between more demanding tasks.

Yes, I’m doing my own yard work again.

Yes, I’m digging holes, trimming hedges, mowing, pruning, weeding flowerbeds, moving furniture, all of it.

No, I’m not going to fall down, because, as I said, I’m being cautious. If it feels like too much, I stop, or ask for help, or wait till I’m rested to try again. I need my independence back.

I hate relying on others for things I know I’m perfectly capable of doing on my own. I hate asking for help. I hate being a burden at all, whether the help is willingly given, or done out of familial obligation. 

I’d rather just do it myself, & not worry that I’m imposing on someone else’s time.

OnlySon is home this weekend for the holiday.  We have a standing date for the 4th, having done this for years, as his father always had to work, & worked nights. Now, it’s special to me, because it’s our tradition, something he & I do together, when there’s so very little that we do in this way. When the time rolls around, we get fries & drinks from McD’s, & head out north of town, to watch the fireworks stores put on their nightly show, & to watch all the surrounding neighbor farms put on their shows.

One of the good things about North Dakota? When you leave town, you can see the horizon in 360 degrees, leaving a stunning vista for fireworks, stars, meteor showers, and Aurora Borealis, when the seasons change.

It’s a small thing, this tradition of ours, fries & fireworks, but it’s something he & I came up with together, and I cherish it, because it’s not just the holiday that’s special…it’s who you spend it with.

And all too soon, next year, in fact, he’ll be all grown up, & probably too old to hang with his ol’ ma for French fries and fireworks.

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Reminders of Recovery

Dammit.

All I did today was some light housework!
Vacuumed a couple rugs, dishes, laundry, cleaned the vacuum out & washed the filters on same.

And yet, my body seems to have turns against me.

I started bleeding again.

Just a little, but enough to tell me that I phucked something up.

I have my 6 week checkup on the 5th, & I have to be fully healed by then!

I will accept nothing less.

Dammit.

2 Graphic

To continue my surgery story.
Again, if you don’t like reading about surgery- in detail- move along. This ain’t fer you.

When the day of my surgery arrived, my Mom drove me down to the hospital. It was a 2 hour drive, as I trust the local hospital about as far as I can throw the building.
We had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, about 4:30, due to Mom forgetting her medication at home the night before. So we drove there first, then headed if for Bismarck from the old hometown, taking the back roads & struggling to stay awake.  It was…interesting,  exhilarating terrifying, as Mom almost put us in the ditch a couple times (sleepy driving, not a good thing), but we made it with a few minutes to spare.

Check in, pre-surgery labs, & a walk halfway across the hospital later, I was sitting in the pre-op area waiting when my doc came in to see me.  He briefly went over what they’d be doing, & left, only to be followed by the anesthetician,  who asked about the normal stuff, allergies, reactions to meds, blah, blah.

And then it was time.

Gathering my lovely designer patient gown around me, I followed the nurse into the operating room & got up on the table, scooched myself into place, & listened as the techs/nurses told me what would be happening.

Then the anesthetician told me it was time for the oxygen & put the tubes in my nose.

I laid my head down.

And woke up as they were pushing me into my hospital room.

The nurse was amused when I asked her if she wanted me to move to the bed, or if they were supposed to move me, but I surprised her when I slid myself onto the bed without any help.

It wasn’t the last time I surprised the nurses, but then in my family, the women aren’t much for being helpless or dependent. (I can hear snorting in the background as my daughters laugh at that)

Mom & Schnicklefritz  (the grandson) came and went, they brought me flowers & a little plaque the midget had picked out for me.

image

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Both chosen by my grandson – he’s got good taste for a 4-year old!

Mom told me some of what the doc had told her, that the endometriosis was pretty advanced & wide-spread,  & that my uterus was so enlarged that they had to take it out in 2 pieces, but that there hadn’t been any major complications.

I looked down, once I was alone, to realize that I only had a small, 1-inch incision right at the base of my belly button, glued shut, and a catheter still in place.

Yeah, kinda gross & uncomfortable,  but necessary, since I couldn’t move much, & certainly couldn’t get myself to the bathroom.

Pain meds every 2 hours intravenously meant I spent quite a bit of time loopy or sleeping, so when supper rolled around, I settled for oatmeal & a chocolate shake.

And then I asked to go for a walk.

They do want you to get up & walk as soon as you feel able, but the nurses hadn’t quite expected me up so soon. But the nurse on my watch helped me up, & we shuffled slowly down the hall, further than she thought I’d go the first time around, but, I felt alright about it.

I got up & walked 3 more times throughout the night, once at 2am, since the pain meds threw my sleeping schedule  all to hell. But I was determined I was going to recover as fast as possible & get out.

The next day, it was time to prepare me for going home, & after they took out the catheter, I figured I was done. Wrong. They insisted I had to “self-cath” for a while to completely empty my bladder, or I’d end up with an infection. So, the nurse brought in the tools, & told me what to do.

She said that she’d give me 2 tries before she’d help me insert the catheter, that no one got it perfectly right away.

So, when I got it right on the first try, she asked if she could take me to the other patient rooms to show me off.

Um, no thanks.

Finally, the doctor came to see me, & told me that besides my uterus being enlarged, I’d had 13 inclusions of endometriosis (kind of a lot), & that he could understand totally why I’d been in so much pain prior to the surgery.  (Actually, he said he couldn’t believe I’d been standing upright when I got there)  They took my uterus, the fallopian tubes, & my cervix, but left the ovaries, to help hormonally. He also said that the cyst I’d had on my ovary hadn’t been the cause of my pain,  but the endometriosis that had been attached all over, especially around the pelvic region.

And then… blessedly, they let me come home.

It was a very long drive home.

2 Graphic

To continue my surgery story.
Again, if you don’t like reading about surgery- in detail- move along. This ain’t fer you.

When the day of my surgery arrived, my Mom drove me down to the hospital. It was a 2 hour drive, as I trust the local hospital about as far as I can throw the building.
We had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, about 4:30, due to Mom forgetting her medication at home the night before. So we drove there, first, then headed if for Bismarck from the old hometown, taking the back roads & struggling to stay awake.  It was…interesting,  exhilarating terrifying, as Mom almost put us in the ditch a couple times (sleepy driving, not a good thing), but we made it with a few minutes to spare.

Check in, pre-surgery labs, & a walk halfway across the hospital later, I was sitting in the pre-op area waiting when my doc came in to see me.  He briefly went over what they’d be doing, & left, only to be followed by the anesthetician,  who asked about the normal stuff, allergies, reactions to meds, blah, blah.

And then it was time.

Gathering my lovely designer patient gown around me, I followed the nurse into the operating room & got up on the table, scooched myself into place, & listened as the techs/nurses told me what would be happening.

Then the anesthetician told me it was time for the oxygen & put the tubes in my nose.

I laid my head down.

And woke up as they were pushing me into my hospital room.

The nurse was amused when I asked her if she wanted me to move to the bed, or if they were supposed to move me, but I surprised her when I slid myself onto the bed without any help.

It wasn’t the last time I surprised the nurses, but then in my family, the women aren’t much for being helpless or dependent. (I can hear snorting in the background as my daughters laugh at that)

Mom & Schnicklefritz  (the grandson) came and went, they brought me flowers & a little plaque the midget had picked out for me.

image

image

Both chosen by my grandson – he’s got good taste for a 4-year old!

Mom told me some of what the doc had told her, that the endometriosis was pretty advanced & wide-spread,  & that my uterus was so enlarged that they had to take it out in 2 pieces, but that there hadn’t been any major complications.

I looked down, once I was alone, to realize that I only had a small, 1-inch incision right at the base of my belly button, glued shut, and a catheter still in place.

Yeah, kinda gross & uncomfortable,  but necessary, since I couldn’t move much, & certainly couldn’t get myself to the bathroom.

Pain meds every 2 hours intravenously meant I spent quite a bit of time loopy or sleeping, so when supper rolled around, I settled for oatmeal & a chocolate shake.

And then I asked to go for a walk.

They do want you to get up & walk as soon as you feel able, but the nurses hadn’t quite expected me up so soon. But the nurse on my watch helped me up, & we shuffled slowly down the hall, further than she thought I’d go the first time around, but, I felt alright about it.

I got up & walked 3 more times throughout the night, once at 2am, since the pain meds threw my sleeping schedule  all to hell. But I was determined I was going to recover as fast as possible & get out.

The next day, it was time to prepare me for going home, & after they took out the catheter, I figured I was done. Wrong. They insisted I had to “self-cath” for a while to completely empty my bladder, or I’d end up with an infection. So, the nurse brought in the tools, & told me what to do.

She said that she’d give me 2 tries before she’d help me insert the catheter, that no one got it perfectly right away.

So, when I got it right on the first try, she asked if she could take me to the other patient rooms to show me off.

Um, no thanks.

Finally, the doctor came to see me, & told me that besides my uterus being enlarged, I’d had 13 inclusions of endometriosis (kind of alot), & that he could understand totally why I’d been in so much pain prior to the surgery.  (Actually, he said he couldn’t believe I’d been standing upright when I got there)  They took my uterus, the fallopian tubes, & my cervix, but left the ovaries, to help hormonally. He also said that the cyst I’d had on my ovary hadn’t been the cause of my pain,  but the endometriosis that had been attached all over, especially around the pelvic region.

And then… blessedly, they let me come home.

It was a very long drive home.

Beginning week 2 of “Recuperation”

Most nights I can’t sleep for shit.

Oh, I have good intentions, & high ideas about how it’ll be. ..but suddenly, I look up at the clock, & 3 hours have slipped by, caught in the pages of a book in my hands, or tangled in the wires I’ve been crafting with.

Or, simply breathed away on the breeze filtering in through my living room window, while I sit in silence, reading drivel on my phone through social media & news apps.

Since OnlySon has gone to his father’s for the summer, & I’m stuck here after my surgery, recuperating & bored to tears by forced inactivity, my sleep schedule has been completely screwed.

I know I need to fix it, but between not being able to be physically active due to the surgery, & my proclivity towards night-time awakefulness (yes, it’s a word, I just made it), it’s been difficult to gather the necessary gumption to repair the timing of waking in the early morning & going to bed at what most consider a “decent hour”.

In other words, since it’s just me, & I can’t do what I want (physically demanding things, anyway), then why bother?

I have tried to stretch myself, to go do “normal” stuff… and ended up exhausting myself after half an hour’s walking through a store. I didn’t do any heavy lifting, no strenuous exercise,  just a little personal shopping, for fuckssake.  And when I got home, my body screamed at me for 2 solid hours, then shut down for the rest of the night, & through today, like a sulky brat.  Yeah, lesson learned,  there.   Today I felt as though I were swimming through smoke, with weights tied to both ankles & wrists. And I slept through a good portion of the afternoon to try to make up for abusing my body yesterday.

Let’s hope it worked, and tomorrow I’ll be able to do some light gardening, seated firmly on the ground by my flowerbed so I can pull weeds for a few minutes.

Because if this keeps up, I’ll go stark raving bug nuts inside another week.

And it’s not a far trip from where I am now….

Graphics

Fair warning: Graphic TMI on the medical stuff… if you don’t like that sort of reading, move along…

Ok, so I haven’t really gotten into the “bare bones” of my surgery.. why I had it, what happened, and the aftermath.

Here goes.

I’ve been having pains near my right hip bone for, what seems like, forever. Right after my period would stop, the pain would start, & would continue for about a week.  I figured it had to do with ovulation, or some such crap, so I didn’t pay any attention for a couple of years.

And then, this year, it changed. It started happening more & more often, at different times of my cycle, & it would get progressively worse during my period, until it was so painful I couldn’t stand it. 

So, I finally started going to the doctor.
At first, since I’ve had so many problems with my kidney over the years,  I thought it had something to do with that.  Fast forward through a bunch of pointless tests, and that was a “No”.

Instead, I found out that I had a cyst in my right ovary that wasn’t acting like a normal follicular cyst (being the kind that spits out an egg occasionally & disappears), but instead was staying, month after month, & generally aggravating me.  Oh, & I have a small cyst on my kidney, too, but the doc assures me that that’s no big deal… *sigh* (ok, so let’s just hope that’s true)

Anywhoo… by now I’d been dealing with this serious & debilitating pain for about 6 months, & had been taking pain meds (read- prescribed narcotics) for about 2 months just so I could continue to work & get through my day.  I was worn down, tired of feeling sick & hurting all the time, missing work due to the pain, & struggling just to stay sane through all the doctors who were basically telling me this was “No big deal, it couldn’t possibly hurt this much.”

FINALLY, I found an ob/gyn who listened, ran a couple tests,  & told me that I had justification for my pain. He said I was most likely suffering from- not just a cyst – but endometriosis & adenomyosis.

Now, for those who don’t know, Endometriosis is a condition which causes aberrant menstrual tissue to grow outside of the uterus, attaching itself to…pretty much anywhere it damned well pleases…but mostly on the reproductive organs, like ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outside of the uterus.

And Adenomyosis is a condition which causes aberrant menstrual tissue to grow inside the uterus, but attaching & growing into the uterine wall.

Both conditions can be very painful, & the best way to eliminate these (at least in my humble opinion) is to remove the organs affected.

In other words, a hysterectomy.

So, *clapping hands & rubbing them briskly together* this is what my doctor & I planned for me.

(To be continued, as this post is already too damned long.)

Weak 1

My mom is outside, mowing my lawn.

Weeding my flower beds.

Cleaning out the underside of my lawn mower.

Criticizing my lawn care regimen, my sidewalk cleanliness, & how my driveway is too cluttered for her taste.

Ha.  She should’ve seen it before EldestDaughter moved all her stuff out.

This is why I hate being an invalid, even for a little while.

I love my mom, but we do things in totally different ways, & she simply can’t let me be.  She’s wanted to come up & take over my flower beds for years now, until I finally told her to – LAY OFF. I have things planted in a certain order, so that they come up at different times to bloom.  And they’re all self-sufficient. No muss, no fuss.

I know, I know. Mom just wants to help, to take care of me while I can’t do some of these things.

But – don’t make me feel inadequate in the process, please.

I already feel like a lazy piece of crap. I have no energy or stamina. I’m in pain most of the day, or I’m drugged to the gills, or sleeping.

I swept part of my floors today & did some dishes.  And now I’m wiped out. 

I have no patience for the recovery process…or at least, the beginning stages.

It’s already been a week. Shouldn’t I feel better than this by now?

Damnit.