Wednesday, September 01, 2004

where have all the cowboys gone?

Some things force me to realize that I have bigger fish to fry than the fish I've been frying so far (pun entirely intended - if it does not appear to be a pun, bear with me, i'm heavily medicated at the moment).

Today I stepped outside for the first time since Saturday night - save getting in or out of a vehicle. I hobbled across the lawn to get the mail and felt a mite dizzy in the noon day sun, but it was nice to get outside just the same. I had to sneak out because Lord knows my brother would have shot me if he knew I was walking around outside. He's been awfully protective these days.
It was him who was with me in the emergency room at 5:30 Sunday morning, holding my hand as my body writhed in absolute paralyzing pain. He was the one who yelled at the nurse when she left me in the hallway for over an hour waiting for an ultrasound. And now he's staying home from work to be with me all day while I lay around like a vegetable, tuning in and out of deep sleep (God bless percocet).

I do love my brother dearly. He's been an absolute gem.
And I'm glad that he was around Saturday night when I arrived home late, barely able to walk and I sat down and told him my concerns. We decided to sleep on it for one night. I'm stubborn and I hate doctors and hospitals. There was no way I was going in unless this was really serious. He knows me enough that he recognized this when I called him at 5 in the morning to tell him that he should call an ambulence. I couldn't even roll over in bed. I couldn't move my legs. Another experience. Another removal from my day to day element. Another opportunity for me to understand a certain experience a little better.

I spent 8 hours at the emergency room Sunday - from 5:30 AM until 1:30 PM. They were going to discharge me. I had been poked, prodded, probed, and every other thing imaginable. I was too heavily medicated to care though. I just wanted to go home and go to bed. The spasms of pain were still coming every 30 minutes or so and lasting about 4 or 5 minutes a piece. They would wave over me and pull my entire body into a tight little ball of contracted muscles. I could literally feel every single organ in my torso quiver with pain. My lungs were not able to expand hence making each breath so short and so labored that it was as though I wasn't breathing at all. My oxygen levels were dropping and the ER knew that. Why they were discharging me, I will always wonder.

Kelly arrived to pick me up and said that I looked pale. Too pale to be going home. She was concerned. She had me wheeled back inside to get out of the muggy air. I was feeling quite nauseated but was nervous to eat anything because of the all the medication that they had pumped into me. Kelly insisted that I be admitted to the hospital and it was so (oh the power of an obstinate woman's words)!

I had been admitted absolutely no more than 20 minutes when the Gynocologist came up and introduced himself. Kelly, Cecilia and JC had just left 10 minutes earlier to run home, shower, pick up some stuff for me and eat. The Dr. was older, kind, but had a definite sense of urgency. I had just been given another two doses of something or other and the room was spinning a bit.
He started talking, slow at first, but it took off from there into a million different directions at a mach speed that I couldn't keep up with.
He just looked through my test results and ultrasound images. He can't believe the ER was going to discharge me. I am suffering a great deal of internal bleeding - it's starting to flood into my chest cavity which is why I am having difficulty breathing. He is hellbent on operating immediately. Will I sign this release form? Have I had anything to eat? Do I know how serious my condition is? Oh, by the way, there is a large possibility that infection has spread to my ovaries and if that is the case, he will have to remove my reproductive organs making it impossible for me to ever have children. But, it's all in the release form. Just sign on the dotted line please.

I started to tear up and the tension in my muscles began the worst pain spasm of the day. I dropped the pen he had handed me and grabbed hold of the bedside rails. My body curled up and I tried to speak through my labored, short breaths. I needed to call my parents. I needed to call someone. Cut me up, do what you have to do, I don't care - but that last part, the part about never having children really threw me for a loop. I didn't want to sign ANYTHING until I spoke to someone first.

The doctor seemed irritated all of a sudden. He leaned in and grabbed my hand. He was right in my tear-stained face.
"Look at yourself. You NEED this surgery Monica. I can't wait for you to sign this release form. What if you pass out in the next few moments? If you don't have this surgery now, you won't have the option to have it later. You won't be here tomorrow."
OK - so he wasn't really helping matters. I was spasing out because he had upset me and he certainly wasn't making me feel all warm and fuzzy with that comment.
So behind door number one was a surgery where I had a fairly large chance that I would lose any shred of hope to have children in the future. Or behind door number two was the loss of any shred of hope to do anything in the future at all.
Yeah, I chose door number one.

It's funny, even in these sorts of instances, I'm hard at work, plugging my candidate. The last thing I remember before going under in the OR (Oh... are they?) was talking to the anaesthesiologist about what a pickle Jim McGreevey is in, that he should step down now, and yes - you should vote Republican come election day.
Waking up from surgery is exactly how they show it in the movies. Sort of blacking in and out, bright lights and fuzzy faces in your line of vision. That's probably the only thing hollywood has ever captured accurately.
I've spent the past few days at home, holed up in my bedroom. I watched TV for the first time this morning (it's no wonder I never really watched it before - the options are so meager and frankly, unappealing). The swelling in my belly has gone down noticeably since last night also. I was sporting a pregnant belly since Sunday night and I was beginning to worry that it was going to stay that way.

I have three tiny incisions - one in my bellybutton and two on the left and right hand sides of my lower abdomen. There won't be any real noticeable scars at all. And even if there were, I would sport them with pride. Scars are, afterall, only tattoos with better stories.
And I'm doing all sorts of cool things on my own now, like walking and showering. Woo hoo! It's been kind of fun to sit around all day reading and popping percocet like M&M's. I have to admit, it's not all that bad. Apparently there are a slew of pictures and video footage that was taken during the surgery which my entire family has seen but I have not. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on that and selling it to Discovery Health. Might as well make a buck or two off this, eh?

Oh, and I can still have kids. :) Imagine that - little monkeys running around all over the place. Sort of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it??

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