So often people tell me that they’re jealous when I ‘get to’ have two weeks off after a surgery. Like I just get to chill out and relax, have a little me time, you know? Incorrect.
Let me share with you my last experience with surgery, which was in December last year for the latest occurrence of Endometriosis.
I’ll start in the recovery room. I wake up in excruciating pain, not from the incisions, but from every part of my abdominal and pelvic region that they scraped, poked, and prodded during the surgery. I’m in so much pain that I’m crying and vomiting, until they give me just enough morphine to dull the pain (along with a happy button that allows me to access pain killers as I need through the night through the IV.)
The night in hospital isn’t so bad thanks to the extra strong pain killers. But I can never sleep properly after surgery. I lie awake watching TV, while lightly sleeping now and then. Luckily (and unluckily) for me, I have a catheter in so I don’t have to move from bed. Uncomfortable – but convenient!
The next day the real struggle starts. They’ve switched me from morphine to Nurofen (until I can get home and actually use the good pain killers that the doctor left me,) so the pain is starting to get real again. That along with the fact I now have to pee a certain amount before they let me go home, makes life slightly annoying.
Then I get home to my boyfriend’s house, and the stairs… They kill me on even my best days, let alone after surgery! But it’s all okay once I’m tucked in bed binge watching Netflix with my Husky and boyfriend by my side.
Or so you’d think…
It doesn’t sound so bad when you put it like that. But the reality is, a few hours after I arrived home from hospital, not only was I in pain but I was also struck with feeling incredibly ill. In the spirit of honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to throw up, pass out or shit myself… Not a great combination.
So here I am, begging my boyfriend to help me get to the bathroom. Very very slowly (after sitting down a couple of times because I’m going to pass out,) we made it there. Once there, all I can do is lie down on the floor. I tell my boyfriend to get out and then yell at him to come back. This happens several times. Poor guy didn’t know which way he was going!
As I lie there on the bathroom floor, I contemplate two things. One – when was the last time this floor was cleaned, and two – maybe I should just let myself pass out so I don’t have to suffer the humiliation of shitting myself on my boyfriends bathroom floor.
However, it was the panic after I realised I would never live it down if he found me lying unconscious in my own poop and/or vomit, that gave me the strength to drag myself off the floor, quickly use the toilet and then lie back down on the floor again, awaiting rescue from Aiden to take my back to bed. Phew! Nothing like a little humiliation to get your ass into gear (no pun intended.)
Things didn’t improve from there at all for about a week. I was in constant pain, forever lethargic and still feeling incredibly ill. There were many nights on the bathroom floor almost exactly as described above. But after a week, as my body started to recover from the ordeal, I noticed something else troubling.
Anxiety. Anxiety that turned into panic attacks. Daily, undeniable, debilitating panic attacks.
That’s the thing about something as traumatic as surgery, it doesn’t just affect your body. It also affects your mind. More often than not, people suffer mood changes, depression, and anxiety in the weeks or months after a big surgery. The impact is huge in EVERY way.
So the next time you start to think someone is ‘lucky’ for getting time off to recover after surgery… Catch yourself and remember the truth.