Recovery Road


I’m back from my surgery and finally back to work. This is day 10 post op, and everything went well. Here’s a recap of what happened:

The Sunday before my surgery I had some roommate drama where I was very specifically excluded from a birthday party that they knew I wouldn’t have been able to attend anyway. This made me feel super shitty for many reasons, most importantly that this is a signal to me that any potential friendship is now off the table. Our partners are best friends, so it’s painful to see that we have no way to even be civil to one another. I broke down in tears Sunday night as I arrive home to find several cars and a text from my beau that he’s having a great time at the party (I’m not welcome at). Nice.

Perhaps it was the impending surgery, perhaps it was just the feeling that every time my beau hangs out with his best friends I won’t be welcome. Either way, it was shitty and is shitty, and it challenged me to dive inside to see if there was anything more I had to give to the situation.

Turns out I can’t find any places I could have changed my behavior to make it better. It just is what it is. So until my beau finds a permanent job and we can move it looks like I’m stuck in a home situation where this person and I passive aggressively pretend the other doesn’t exist. I’m done trying. She clearly doesn’t care. Things are actually feeling better this way. If neither of us attempt eye contact we don’t have that need for awkward and obligatory small talk.

Ok, so one problem down. That still left me in an emotionally raw place Sunday night, and after coming to the conclusion that the roommate situation is at a stalemate I was able to turn my attention to my immediate future.

This surgery was the first time in my adult life that I had to consider my mortality in a real way. While the chances of something going horribly wrong are very small for laparoscopy there is a much higher chance that I could die from this event than any other chosen event when I consider that life is a series of chances most of which I cannot take into account the actual odds of dying from. This felt like a big deal. Sunday night after crying about my roommate and future relationship challenges I began to realize that a lot of my emotional grief stemmed from the idea of choosing an activity where mortality was on the table (see what I did there, ba-da-bum).

Knowing in my logical mind that this would turn out fine does nothing to tame the beast in my emotional mind. So more tears, more self-inflicted trauma. Oh man, I sure know how to beat myself up sometimes.

Luckily though, all that crying (which if you know me at all is something I rarely do) really helped create a sense of calm about it. I had basically already experienced my emotional limit of abuse for this situation, and by the time we got to the hospital on Wed morning (5:30am) I was calm.

My only instructions were to wear/bring comfy clothes to go home in and no eating/drinking after midnight (because apparently surgery is a lot like being a Gremlin). Ben drove me to the hospital and stayed with me until I was headed into surgery. They took his number to call him when I woke up (which they didn’t actually do btw).

The nurse was pleasant enough, minus the IV insertion. She had told me earlier that she has been a nurse for 17 years, and the 6 minutes it took her to fish a needle around under my skin in 2 spots left me with the thought “you’ve been doing this to people for 17 years???” I ended up with a bruise that covered the entire back of my hand, and that was a type of discomfort I hope to not have to repeat anytime soon.

The anesthesiologist came in and I asked “how do you know how much to give people?” and his reply “don’t you worry about it sweetie.” only made me worry much more. I mean say math or science or education or maybe, I don’t know, actually give me a general version of how it works? Well, whatever he did, it worked quite well.

As they wheeled me down the hall to the surgery room I put up my arms like I was on a roller coaster. You might think I was already loopy, but more likely that’s just what I would do in that situation.

We got to the center of the sun, I mean the operating room, and I was completely coherent and able to move myself onto this squishy memory foam table that looked like the only thing in the room that was purchased from Walmart, and within seconds of lying back down I looked up to notice a clock that said it was 9:03am, a little under 2 hours from when I blinked. Slowly I notice there’s an angel singing to me, and oh yeah, I’m in a different room, and oh yeah, I’m not in the center of the sun anymore (this room had regular lighting). The nurse who’s singing tells me her name and reminds me I just had surgery which I thought was a little strange because I sort of expected the 3rd degree on all the “What day is it? Where are you? Who’s the pres-” (let’s not think about that one actually).  So it sort of felt like I got cheated out of proving I was sane, but I suppose when I’m not driving myself home they don’t have any fucks to give on this topic haha.

At some point of my waving in and out of coherence I end up back in the room I started in, but with a different nurse. This one has ice chips and I’m pretty sure I love them for this. I was dying of thirst at this point (almost 12 hours without water is an eternity in my world). Ice chips were so nice. I had to prove I could pee before they would let me go, and oh yeah, they had to deliver my drugs too. How convenient. I sort of wish all drugs were legal so I could have all the ones I want brought to my house whenever I don’t feel good. Don’t worry, however legal heroine is, I don’t want it.

Meandering back to the story…

They bring me 800 mg ibuprofen (60 fucking pills worth), and hydrocodone (or whatever the generic version of vicodin is) this one I get 5 mg doses of and 30 pills. I had been reluctant to take a prescription at all, and I asked for the smallest and lowest number of pills I could reasonably get away with. I can see a bit more now why there’s an opioid crisis. Thanks Doc for giving me more than 10 times what was actually needed.

By 10:30am that morning they let Ben take me home, and the next few days are pretty much a fuzzy drug induced blur. Whatever they gave me at the hospital lasted almost 12  hours, so the first day was pretty cake. I sat in bed and watched Chef & My Fridge (which is amazing and you should watch it) and played my monkey game on my tablet (super poorly) to pass the time. By 7pm I realized “Oh, that’s what it feels like now. That really hurts.” (did anyone else just read that in Charlie’s voice?)

I ended up taking half of a vicodin and a full ibuprofen that night, and over the next 4 days I took three more half doses of vicodin (a total of 2 full pills/10 mg) and six of the ibuprofen. The rest was pot edibles and my homemade pot salve that helped SO much. Thank goodness I made time to finish that project.

By Monday I stopped all outside help except the pot salve so I would be clear headed and able to drive on Tuesday (day 6) for my recovery party at work. It was nice to see people and have time to chill in the studio.

Wednesday I wound up babysitting for 2 hours, and Thursday I wasn’t quite ready for sessions. Kira took over mine (she’s the best!), and I spent half the day catching up on stuff and the other half randomly having to stop and rest because everything is exhausting still. Friday I was back to work and had my first session back. It went fine (mostly because I wore my batman onesie due to pain on my belly). Today I have two sessions and while my belly isn’t quite back to normal it does seem that I can be comfortable enough to start my regular hours next week again. Good news there.

I’ve got my follow up appointment on Monday which I’ll post about on FB. Other than that I’m just working through this exhaustion, lack of good sleep until my wounds no longer pull when I straighten my legs, and trying to get back into the swing of things in a way that allows balance and forgiveness to me for not being my standard overachiever self.

So for now I’ll sign off saying thank you for all the kind support and caring well wishes. I am so grateful for all of you, and I am happy to have this in my rear view mirror. I’ll see you soon to share some of the projects I’m working on. Lots of new things in the pipeline!

Peace, Love, and Cuddles,

Samantha Hess