I Deserve a Pat on the Head

Last month I sent myself to the emergency room on purpose to begin the process to remove my gallbladder.

Two weeks ago a complete stranger cut me open, yanked the little malfunctioning asshole out, and glued my wounds shut.

I did this horrifically terrifying and Very Adult thing more or less by myself.

Save the three friends who gave me rides to/from the hospital–one to the ER, one dropped me off for surgery, and the last took my loopy self home after–I handled everything about this little health scare. This is the first time I’ve had to rely on myself to get through anything with doctors, hospitals, etc. without my mother pulling the strings. Hell, aside from a few visits to friends/family recovering from their ills, I’ve never had a reason to go into the ER, let alone go under the knife. No broken bones. No major health problems. *knock on wood* Not even a stupid childhood accident like a marble up my nose.

Up until now, it was a blessing. I was, and still am, terrified of hospitals. To be honest, I’m not one-hundred percent sure how I saw it through to the endgame–the actual surgery. Somehow every time I needed to make a gut-check, I rolled a natural twenty. Yeah, that might go over some heads…. Basically, anytime I though for sure I’d yank out the IV and bolt out the door, hospital gown baring my ass to the world, I managed to talk myself off the ledge–in the ER and the pre-op waiting area. It’s nothing short of a miracle.

A miracle which left me with itchy incisions, but a clean bill of health as of yesterday morning’s post-op check-up.

The check-up was hilarious. Dr. T–not my surgeon, but the head in the department–walked in. “How are you feeli–” He spotted the soy latte clutched in my hands. “Felling better, apparently.” “Yes, Doctor. Coffee means I’m myself again.” We laughed. The rest of the appointment took a whopping five minutes. Any nausea? No. How’s the pain? Not bad if I don’t do dumb things. Dr. T checked my itchy souvenirs, prodded my stomach, and sent me on my way.

It took me three fucking years to get my gallbladder removed and the Big Scary Things I anticipated never happened. It’s such a Minor Thing, I talked to people who hack into others for a living for maybe thirty minutes total. That’s including the ER, pre-op appointment, pre-op call, meeting the surgeon day-of, and yesterday’s blink-and-miss-it check-up.

Being on the other side of the ordeal, I’m laughing at Past R.C. who hyperventilated at the mere thought of an operation. She had her reasons. Dad’s never-ending string of Serious And Scary surgeries set a bad tone for my life. He died on the table a few times, but they always brought him back. During one spinal surgery, his heart stopped. They had to flip him over to bring him back. Ta-da! Staph infection. Every other surgery after, they couldn’t close the incision(s). We lived in the middle of nowhere. Nurses couldn’t make it every time he needed to change bandages. Guess who got to learn how to flush, clean, and pack deep wounds? Yup. This chick. Or rather, her twelve year old counterpart.

Once you’ve packed sterile gauze into a four-inch deep abdominal incision the length of your forearm, the mere thought of allowing someone to cut into you is terrifying.

Didn’t you guys ever wonder why I know so much about what the insides of a person look like? My Google-fu is strong, but nothing can compare to childhood lessons like the ones I received.

I’ve got a couple more weeks ahead on the recovery road. Mostly just keeping myself busy doing desk work so I don’t attempt to clean the house, which requires lifting heavy things. Yes, that’s the story I’m sticking to. It’s making the others in the house clean. I’m okay with that.

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