Time for me to admit it: I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you, and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me. I’m a week and a day out of surgery – according to the NP who removed my stitches earlier, most women take four to six weeks off of work. And here I was hoping to max it out at one (so far it’ll be two).
The infection is under control, for the most part. My stomach still hurts, but the abscess is going down (or at least I think it is). Don’t get me started on what using the commode is like in terms of pain. I can do simple things around the house, like making sure that the dishes get to the dishwasher. Vacuuming is still a little out of my reach though.
I thought I’d be back on the scene by now – groovin’ down the collegiate hallways, helping my students figure out the complexities of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (hey, startin’ ’em out on Mozart!) and cheering my friends on in their shows. But no. I am still on my couch, still playing videogames when I’m awake, and still hurting enough to validate the heavy-duty prescriptions. I think my cats are at least happy to have me around.
It’s been a week and no regrets (yet). I still have no doubt I made the right choice and the pain I’m going through right now is so much less than the pain from the endo was. But this pain is different too, just like stepping on a lego feels different than stubbing a toe. Both hurt, but differently.
Usually, with endo pain, I could grit my teeth and push through it. Movement was only hindered by the amount of pain I was in rather than from making the pain worse. Endo isn’t just pain, but I’d been living with it for over a decade – I could make it work, but I was miserable.
Hysterectomy pain isn’t bad. I have yet to experience levels of pain comparable to my worst flares (and I’m pretty sure I have morphine to thank for that). Every time the pain gets to a point where anyone with decent sense would reach for a percocet, I have to lecture myself into taking it. “I just had a whole organ removed. It’s been a week. Lots of women take four to six weeks off from work, it’s okay to still be hurting.” And yet, every time I so much as pop a Motrin, I’m feeling guilty, weak because I can’t just “push through it.” It’s not a pill thing, either. I have no qualms about taking the antibiotic they prescribed me because that doesn’t make me weak.
But the pain, it’s so different from pain I’ve felt before. It’s an ache that’s always there, even with the medication. It’s my body getting used to there being a little more space inside it. Every thing I do, my abdomen had to readjust to the new sensation. It’s incredibly tiring. Endo was exhausting; I’d get home and be good for nothing else because I’d used all my energy getting through the day without curling up in fetal position on the classroom floor (I don’t know why, but cold felt better than heat – heat made me nauseous).
The hysterectomy – I can’t just push through it. It’s like the pain is slowly sapping each of the spoons that I had put aside for the day. I don’t get a choice on sleeping – I’m out when my body tells me to be out. With endo flares, I’d be giving two spoons where I’d normally only have to give one (multiple chronic illnesses – yay.). This time, it’s as if my spoon-bag has sprung a leak and I can’t fix it. Every time I reach in, there are less there than should be. I can’t gauge how many spoons each task will take since I’m not used to this pain, so I can’t mentally plan my days ahead in accordance with my number of spoons.
Through all of this, I mostly feel like I’ve just been a whiny little brat. I fought for this surgery – I should be able to “handle” the side effects with a smile, right? Yes, I know that logic is screwed up on a lot of levels.
What’s really getting me through, though, is the fact that if I don’t rest, don’t take a painkiller, don’t used the temporary handicap permit when appropriate (my walk to my classes is about a mile), that’s when I’m actually a burden. If I don’t take care of myself, then I really am being a whiny little brat. And on that note, I’m going to go take a painkiller and get some more sleep.