Back amongst the living
Never have I felt so introverted and withdrawn from my old life, from day-to-day society even. It’s not a good feeling. When this is allowed to continue for a few weeks, a person can start feeling less than whole. What feels like a month or more to me actually has been, as all the pre-op jitters I had beforehand had really started to get to me. For at least a week and a half before surgery I could barely eat. I skipped breakfast and lunch at work, and the few bites I ate for dinner were forced in a subconscious effort to keep myself going. I go back to work on Monday. What seems to have lasted a month has actually been a record two weeks. I’m eager to get back to work, which in essence is a huge part of my ‘normal life’. So for now I’m back… at least in written form. As of today I have 264 unread emails. I’ve really missed reading everyone’s thoughts and posting every now and then.
Of course me being me, the surgery couldn’t go off without a hitch or two. The night and day afterwards my blood pressure dropped to an alarming rate. Each time a ‘team’ of about 8-10 people rushed in, which can totally make a person forget how bound up their bowels are. In all seriousness, it brought back memories of my late grandmother and uncle, who had that same type of team rush in as their own BP plummeted. There was a concern of fluid on my lungs and/or a heart problem, so various tests were ordered including x-rays, labwork and an EKG (I was actually grateful to get the EKG since it’s been about ten years since my last one). With the exception of a high white cell count, the tests came out fine. Come to find out later, either the buildup of medicines I’m on for high blood pressure, the administration of morphine, or possibly a combination of the two was the culprit for the BP nosedives. For the duration of the next week I was kept off my BP meds. Two days after I was released, the nausea set in – of course this came after I bragged about being one of the women who didn’t get sick. Along with the post-surgery pain, I knew my fluid buildup was becoming a serious issue. My ankles looked like thighs and my feet resembled pillows – it was literally cracking my skin on the top of my feet I was so swelled. I couldn’t breathe well or even take in more than a shallow breath. On my second trip back to the doctor that week, I was told ‘Oh yes! You need to resume taking your BP meds immediately!’. I provided a gentle reminder that on Monday I’d been told to hold off on all BP meds until further instructed – Keith was sitting beside me in the exam room and remembers this very well. Bottom line, I was off the meds I urgently needed for nearly a damn week. Pardon my uber-long, exasperated sigh.
That Saturday, one day after I started back on my normal BP med regimen, almost all of the fluid was gone and I could breathe easily again. I don’t even want to even consider what being off of them for another day or two might’ve done to me (the word stroke does come to mind). If I’d ever doubted before how important those medicines are to me I never will again. They are literally my lifeline, and it’s scary to contemplate any natural disaster or other happening mandating my existence without them. Millions of people with different healthcare scenarios are in the same situation, having to depend on prescription medicines for their very existence. It’s yet another stark reminder of the healthcare crisis we’re dealing with in America, as so many individuals are having to do without or not getting the care or medicines they need in order to survive. Just thinking about it boggles my mind. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones, for now at least.