If you’ve been here awhile you know I get a urological “upkeep” surgical procedure every 5-6 months, and that I have yet to do well afterward. The whole thing is wrought with fears. I love my surgeon who has more empathy than anyone I know but sitting there in holding… it’s difficult. I think I finally pinpointed what it is. When I’m in there, I’m alone, I have no distractions, nothing, no control, nothing to do but wait. I’ve never been able to manage silence or just sitting. My anxiety amps up until it’s almost unbearable. I don’t even have anything going through my head. My body is shaking and I don’t know what to do with myself. I also feel guilty because everyone is being so nice. My favorite nurse is retiring so she distracted me by talking about her plans but as soon as she walked away, ugh. I don’t know why they take me down so early. My surgeon was still in surgery. I guess they want me available just in case they get done so they can get me right in. Okay, that makes sense but the waiting….. ohhhh, just awful.
I talked to my therapist the day before about how I feel when I go in to the surgical theater. I’m just terrified. I can hardly breathe. The anxiety meds they give me beforehand has no effect on me, none! Everyone is running around. I don’t know what’s going on, then the mask comes down, I’m trapped, than I’m out. I’m absolutely vulnerable. The actual procedure is nothing, it’s all the stuff I go through before and after that is hard.
The surgeon finally came in and I had a good talk with her about how terrifying it is for me. She’s been doing this for me since 2013 so knows me and never ever discounts anything I say. She mentioned to me, when I first met her, that she has lots of patients who are trauma survivors as well as ones who have chronic pain, my being both. She said she’d slow everyone down when I go in but I said no, that wasn’t the issue. It was the not-knowing, so if someone could give me a play by play it might help. So wow, that’s exactly what happened. I was still terrified but this one nurse stood right by my side telling me everything.
I think all that would have tipped the balance in my favor for recovery but then the anesthesiologist told the nurse (from ambulatory, where I first come through) that I had nothing. I don’t know what she meant because I was under with general anesthetic. I was supposed to go to the pac-u (post anesthesia care unit) but instead I was taken straight up to the ambulatory unit where I change to go home. Obviously I was really out of it and barely functioning which freaked them out. They wanted to send me to the ER then were pissed that they had been misinformed. All this added chaos to an already confusing situation which didn’t help one bit. When I was stable enough to get in a wheelchair to make it to the front door and into my friends truck, I left. I should have stayed for another 1/2 hour but I had enough. Un-freaking-believable!
The next day I saw my nutritionist and went to iOP which was hard. My appt hadn’t really gone well and I was so distracted by people at iOP doing their own thing when they should have been paying attention in group, I ended up in a sour mood. Plus, I was freaking out about the weekend and felt I had no support from neither my nutritionist or group. They both basically said, “just do what you know to do and you’ll be fine,” because, you know, that’s worked out so well in the past, grrrrrrrrr.
Friday I saw my therapist but that didn’t help either. She made suggestions of things to think about and such. She actually thinks some of my bad experiences post procedure might be the general anesthesia more than anything else which is something to consider. So Friday, Saturday, Sunday… all a recovery disaster. Upon reflection what would have helped more than anything else would have been a concrete step by step plan. Well, I’ll have ample opportunity to practice since I’ll be doing this all over again in April.
One of the fears I expressed to my team was that last time I did this, June, I ended up back in treatment (Aug/Sept). I most certainly don’t want that again!!
Oh, forgot to mention…. I might have managed to get back on track Saturday but the other thing I had on Friday was a holiday party. Everyone was expecting, and excited, to see me. In the afternoon I started trying on clothes to wear. My dressy ones no longer fit so I tried on my dressy casual ones – nope. I tried on passable clothes – nope. I couldn’t go in sweatpants or pajamas! This was not that kind of party. I was dashed about my size. I hadn’t realized it was that bad! Well, that was that. I was too fat for clothes so I didn’t go to the party. That’s why the rest of the weekend didn’t go well.
And yet one more thing: Saturday I had an iPhone Portrait Photography class. At the start of the class he said we’d be taking pictures of each other… great. Somehow I survived that, probably because of being numb.
Today is Monday. I’m at B&N hanging out till iOP. I see my nutritionist on Wednesday assuming the travel route isn’t buried in snow. I’m going to tell him I can only come Mondays and Thursdays to iOP because I can’t afford 3xs a week anymore. My therapist raised her rates. Besides, I don’t really want to drive 140 miles to do arts and crafts then drive home. Weds is art therapy but she’s just out of school and it’s not art therapy at all. I’ve had real art therapy. Even my therapist calls it arts and crafts. I don’t do well if I don’t go to iOP but maybe missing mid-week won’t make a difference. Who knows… that is still on the table.
P.s. One reason I haven’t been posting is that I’m ashamed of doing poorly. I was doing so well, this is all still a bit of a shock; humiliating as well. I wish everything was going better so I could write about so many more interesting things than all this crap.