Treun and I have the weekend to ourselves since the kids are with Bubba. We decided to take advantage of this and have his best friend, Neil, and Neil’s girlfriend, June, over for a cook-out.
We got up Saturday morning and Treun took me home. We’d just left his truck at my house Friday night because it was so late when we got back from taking the kids to Bubba that we were too tired to drive the extra 20 minutes it would take to pick his truck up. He ran to the grocery store first for peaches so I could bake a pie, then he dropped me off. He had chores to do so this worked out nicely. I got the kitchen cleaned up, baked the pie, cleaned the kitchen again, took a shower, and headed back to Treun’s house.
We once again went to the grocery store to get the rest of the stuff needed for the cook-out. I decided to make some pasta salad and we thought that grilling chicken would be a good idea. I made the pasta salad at his house. I am truly getting very comfortable in his house. I really enjoyed cooking and puttering around his kitchen. I just feel like I belong here. It rather blows my mind away that I’ve come to feel so at home here so quickly.
Neil and June arrived around 5:00. Eventually, we fired up the grill and got the chicken cooked. We sat inside and ate and just enjoyed the wonderful conversation. Somehow, at one point, the conversation turned to mothers. June talks to her mother every day, Neil has a good relationship with his mother, and Treun speaks to his step-mother often (his mom passed away a few years ago). Neil asked if my mother was still alive and thankfully, June was talking at the same time, so I was able to avoid the question. I didn’t want to go into the “whys” of Celia. I just didn’t want to talk about my mother, a woman who threw her own child under the bus, when they were all talking about how close they were to their mothers.
When the subject of exes came up, I simply said that mine was a “special kind of special.” I didn’t go into much of it at all but to say that he is really not a nice man.
Well, when one doesn’t discuss things, one tends to process them later – in dreams. Neil and June left around 10:30 and Treun and I were so exhausted that we simply went to bed and fell asleep. It was around 3:00 that I poked Treun and asked him to roll over because he was snoring. I slept fitfully after that. I don’t know what time it was, but I had a bad dream about Celia, Bubba, and the rest of the Family of Origin (FOO).
In the dream, Treun and I were living together and they came to invade my space. Celia walked in my front door and hugged me. I was stunned. We started talking about the fact that I didn’t want her to touch me and she told me that I didn’t get a say in it. I asked Celia what she would do if a man told her he didn’t want to be hugged and she said she wouldn’t hug him. I asked all of my FOO and they all said the same thing; women can’t say no, but men can. I started screaming at them that women have an absolute right to their bodies and they CAN say no and have it respected. I knew the futility of what I was saying but I couldn’t stop trying to convince them that they were W.R.O.N.G!
I awoke with a start. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to wake Treun up again, so I grabbed a blanket, wrapped up in it, and headed to the living room. I curled up on the chair and sobbed. I hate bad dreams. I hate that they can reopen those old wounds; the wounds I thought had healed. Grief in strange in its cyclical nature. I don’t know that wounds are ever truly healed. Either that or it is just too easy to reopen them because old wounds always come back around. Maybe it is just another aspect of the topic that I haven’t dealt with. I know it feels like something I’ve already worked through but maybe there is something new there that I haven’t considered that my subconscious needs to work through. I just know that it feels horrible to be experiencing these bad dreams.
Treun came out when he woke up to find me curled into a ball on his chair. I told him about the dream and that I didn’t want to wake him up. He hugged me. I talked to him and he listened. He said that he knows that what I’ve gone through left me with PTSD. I told him that I’ve gotten really good at working through these episodes and they are coming fewer and farther between.
Maybe someday the bad dreams will go away permanently. I can hope.
Treun and I stopped in to visit Arcadia and Elrick today. It was just a nice afternoon to stop in to visit friends. We took the back way back to his place and as we were talking, he mentioned how differently my divorce would’ve gone had my parents supported me. I told him that even had they supported me, they still wouldn’t be able to handle Shane when the ODD kicks in. I told him that the summer I was at my parents’ house last – the summer I escaped – Shane had a melt-down. We were in the back yard and Shane was angry and tipping chairs over because he tends to get destructive when he is angry. Butch looked at me dead in the eye and said, “There is something wrong with that boy.” No shit. Really? I hadn’t noticed.
I haven’t thought of that day in so long. Yes, there was clearly something wrong with Shane, there always has been. I’ve been fighting to get him help for more years than I care to count. I’d been telling my parents for years what I was up against with Shane. To have Butch say that to me in the heat of the moment was just devastating to me. I got Shane calmed down then I went into the bedroom and cried for a few minutes. I remember the sobs wracking my body. I remember convulsing with the strength of the emotions. Not only was I crying for what had happened with Shane but I was crying for the fact that my father said those words in such a damning tone.
There is something wrong with my boy. There is something not right about him. He is wrong; he is defective. Seven words held the condemnation of the ages in them. They didn’t want him around as he was a reminder that all was not right and perfect in their world. They were helpless to fix it, I was helpless to fix it. He didn’t fit their image of what children acted like and just were. Neither did I. Ever.
Now that I think back on it, I can see that I took it one step further. There was always something wrong with me too. I was never the perfect child that I should’ve been. I was the one who didn’t fit their mold and now here was Shane, not fitting any mold ever made. I felt my parents’ attitude toward me and my “wrongness.” I pray that Shane never feels like he is wrong. I pray that I never convey that to him. I pray that I do better raising him than my parents did with me. They simply didn’t know what to do with me so they used shame, guilt, and fear to somehow “fix” me. It didn’t work, it just left me scarred.
“There is something wrong with that boy.” No, there is nothing wrong with Shane. He is not wrong or bad. He is a hurt, little boy whose brain does not work as other people’s brains work. That doesn’t make him wrong. That makes him different.
How I wish I could tell Butch that. He is different but I love him dearly. I will continue to fight for his mental health. I will help him turn his difference into a strength rather than the out-of-control rage that manifests now. He is different but he is loved.
Now, how do I purge Butch’s voice from my brain? It is in an endless loop right now. Usually writing helps but it isn’t silencing his voice this time. “There is something wrong with that boy. There is something wrong with that boy. There is something wrong with that boy.” Over and over it plays in my brain. Go away, Butch, and leave me and my son alone. You have no place in our lives anymore. You chose Bubba. You have no right to be in my head space ever again.
I guess I just keep telling myself that until Butch’s voice fades. Into yesterday. Into the mist. Into oblivion.
Three little words. Three simple little words. But they are trapped. They are in my head, swirling around every time Treun and I are together. They stand between us, neither of us saying them. Me definitely feeling them, him I think feeling them.
Why can’t I say the words. Simply look at him and say, “I love you.” How hard is this? Apparently it is the hardest thing in the world.
Or I’m a coward.
I’m not sure which.
Ok, I’m pretty sure that I’m a coward. How will those three words change our relationship? Will it put big old brakes on it? Will it move it to the next level? I’m not sure so I’m in this weird holding pattern where I think it and feel it yet do not give utterance to the truth. The words are locked away.
Bubba is being abusive again. He wants the kids for the weekend and I want to get them back earlier than we normally exchange them because it is too late for the kids. They have school the next day and it is just too late to get them home and get them dinner and have them in bed on time. Shane will be going to bed late and that is never a good thing.
Because I had the audacity to tell him that it would be to his children’s benefit to meet earlier, he attacked me. I know that is why; he hates me telling him anything. He especially hates for me to tell him what is in the children’s best interest. It is still about power and control in Bubba’s world. He doesn’t understand that I don’t care about his power plays anymore.
I told Treun about the latest email. He is boggled by how Bubba can be so nasty when it comes to his children. Treun doesn’t understand how a father can be so unreasonable about something that would be good for his kids. Yeah, I’ve been trying to understand it for two years now and I still don’t get it.
Treun and I took a drive today. It is something we like to do, just drive around and look at houses and the countryside and talk. He said something today that really has me clamping my mouth shut about love. He said, “I think our arrangement works good. I have my space and you have your space. With all the things you have going on, I think it is good that we each have our own space.” I know he’s concerned about being lumped in with the friends/boyfriends that Bubba has proclaimed has sexually molested the kids. It is utterly baseless and one of his much-used sentences since I left him. He has repeatedly accused my friends/boyfriends of hurting the kids. He never does anything about it so I know it is just about power. I’m afraid that Treun is worried about being caught in the cross-fire. It is a valid concern but I hate that it is stopping conversations from happening.
I won’t bring up love or the future or that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I did tell him that I’m not about to let Bubba put my life on hold for another decade until Shane is of legal age. Treun has a glowing record at work. He’s been in the work force for 30 years and has a ton of character witnesses if he’d ever need them. We have nothing to worry about in this instance, but the fear is there. For both of us.
I know that once Bubba has some concrete information on Treun, he will try to hurt me with his knowledge. I have to toe the line, follow the parenting plan to the letter. I still feel like I’m on trial, still being judged by the family court. Everything I do or say is suspect. Bubba has threatened to take me back to court. While I don’t welcome it, I’m also not afraid of it like I once was.
I know the people at Shane’s school will stand up for me and how I parent and the fact that I am an engaged, caring parent who is fighting for her son. I know my boss would stand up for me and verify that I’m an amazing employee. I have people on my side.
I want to protect Treun. I don’t want him touched by Bubba in any way, shape, or form. This man, this amazing man, does not deserve to be in the cross hairs. I think he is beginning to understand that a relationship with me puts him there. It makes him a target just by association.
How do I begin a new life with a wonderful man when Bubba is just standing there, waiting to pull the trigger of his imaginary gun. I know he can’t truly hurt us because there is nothing we’ve done wrong. I also know how manipulative he is. He can make our lives a living hell if he chooses to. I have no doubt that he will choose to. That is who Bubba is.
Once again, my life is reduced to fear. I’m afraid to tell Treun that I love him. I don’t know how to get past this fear. I want him in my life for the rest of my life. But I have an understanding of what loving me entails. It encompasses dealing with a psychotic ex-husband and very wounded children. That is not something to enter into lightly. Treun is a good man. I know this. For now, I guess I live in the status quo and don’t say anything.
I play the coward. It is a role I both despise and embrace. Until I can say the words, this is the role I play.
I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon yesterday. I was standing at the receptionist desk, filling out paperwork when he came out between clients. He put his arm around me and said, “You look much better than the last time you were in my office, hunched over my toilet. You actually look amazing!” He gave me a squeeze and told me he’d be with me in a few minutes.
I sat down in the waiting room and proceeded to doze off. I’d gone through a long meeting that morning at Shane’s school, making more behavioral plans for him with his team, so by afternoon, I was just wiped out. I think I dozed for about 20 minutes when I heard the doctor say, “Come on, Sleepy.” It was my turn to see him.
He is a very nice man! He explained that he’s been doing surgeries since 1985 and this is the first time he’s seen what I had – that extra duct where it shouldn’t have been. He felt my belly and asked how I was doing. I asked when I could return to work and he said whenever I felt up to it as medically, I’m fine to go back.
He told me there was no more reason for him to need to see me (which made him sad because I was one of his favorite patients – the old flatterer!), but that I needed to make an appointment with the GI who put the stent in to have it removed. I told him that I was really afraid of having it taken out and he admitted that he was too but that it had to be done. For some reason, knowing he’s nervous about me having this procedure done was comforting to me. He isn’t dismissing that I’m an anomaly and that there is the very real possibility that this routine procedure will go wrong just like my routine gallbladder surgery went wrong. He wasn’t dismissive and that helped immensely. I guess I’ll have to keep him posted after I have the stent removed.
As I was leaving, I got the medical release from the receptionist so I can return to work. I’ll be going back next week. I’m a bit nervous. I’m worried about my energy level. I have an office job but it takes a lot out of me. It is strenuous mental work plus the running back and forth to the printer and all the offices I have to visit during the day. I will be moving slower than normal and worry that I won’t be able to keep up with what I need to do. I also worry that it will take forever to catch up on the amount of work that will have piled up in the three weeks I’ve been off. How long will it take me to catch up?
I need to get in the head space now that it takes as long as it takes. I need to tell myself that I didn’t just miss one or two days, I missed three weeks. It is ok to take my time getting caught up. My customers will understand. I know this. I have great customers. Even the couple that are more demanding than anyone else will be understanding. I just have to pace myself and I will get caught up eventually.
All in all, it was a good follow-up appointment. I’m healing and getting stronger each day. I’ll be back to myself soon, although it isn’t as soon as I’d like. In a few weeks, this will all have been a bad memory and I’ll be me again. I’m praying that the stent removal is just a small blip on my radar and that nothing weird happens. But, this time, I’m ready just in case it does. I won’t be surprised. My body is just odd and for the most part, I’ve accepted that. I’m just going to hope it cooperates this next time and I’m just down for a weekend.
Hope springs eternal.
In the past, with Bubba, it was all about sex….well, sex for him. If I was sick, recovering from childbirth, recovering from surgery, or if I had a headache, it simply didn’t matter to Bubba. He wanted to know when I would have sex with him again and if I couldn’t or wouldn’t, all hell would break loose. I would be made to pay, even if I’d just had a baby.
He let me wait all of four weeks after Serenity’s birth before he wore me down. That was the first time I remember that he raped me. He badgered, he cajoled, he belittled, he wore me down until I gave in. There was no respect for me or my healing. There was only the fact that Bubba wanted sex and I was to provide it. After that and the horrible pain I had for well over a year after Serenity’s birth, I made sure to schedule post-partum or post-op checks eight weeks out so that I could say that I wanted to see the doctor first so that I didn’t have that kind of pain again. Yes, it was a valid reason, but yes, I paid for it.
When I had surgery a few years ago, he was complaining before I even had the surgery that we wouldn’t be able to have sex for so many weeks after. Again, I purposely scheduled my post-op check eight weeks out. When I went for my post-op check I asked the doctor to write a note instructing me to wait two additional weeks because he felt I wasn’t healed enough. It was one of the few times I outright lied to Bubba, but I didn’t feel ready to have sex yet. The doctor was good enough to understand that and provide the letter for me. Today, I am stunned that I had to have a doctor write me a get-out-of-sex-free card so that my husband would allow me the time to heal that I needed. What was that all about? I often wonder if the doctor would’ve said or done more had he and Bubba not had a relationship outside of him being my doctor (they knew each other through Bubba’s job). The doctor remained silent, even after being told by the nurse at the hospital that she had to ask me if I’d like Bubba to be removed from my room then reading Bubba the riot act because of his behavior.
Now, here I am recovering from a different surgery and not once has Treun brought up sex. Not once has he asked about it, hinted that he misses it, wants it, or needs it. When I was so sick, my mind was not in the gutter at all and it’s usually firmly in place there. I was picking up a prescription a few days after I got out of the hospital the first time and was standing in the condom aisle, waiting to pick up my meds. I didn’t have one thought about them at all. That alone showed me how horrible I was feeling. I texted that to Treun and he said that I’d feel better someday and be back to myself. Huh? No innuendo? No rush to get back to myself for him? Weird.
During all that time in the hospital, Treun was there with nary a complaint about what he was going through to help me. At one point, I vaguely remember him asking to switch positions when we were “dancing” because his foot was getting sore, but it was not a complaint so much as a request so that he could continue supporting me. He gave of himself tirelessly. It wasn’t about him at all. It was all about me and comforting me as much as he could. Endellion tells me now that they spoke on the phone a few times so Treun could keep her updated. She said the pain in his voice was apparent when he spoke of how powerless he felt to help me. She almost slipped and said, “That’s normal to feel like that about those we love.” At the last minute she substituted “love” with “care about.” Treun and I haven’t said the L word to each other yet. We’re both still waiting.
Since I’ve been recovering, I’ve been thinking more and more about sex and how much I miss it. My brain is fully on board with our reunion even though my body is still far from ready to do anything about it. When we were snuggling at his house the other evening, I told him I was eager to get all better so that we could enjoy each other again and he agreed with me. He had waited for me to say something. I know that he wouldn’t have mentioned it had I not started the conversation.
This is surreal. A man not even mentioning sex? A man understanding that I am SICK? Huh? I don’t get it. This has never happened for me. Bubba made it all about him and his “needs.” It was never about me and what my body could physically handle. Now here is this man who won’t even mention sex because he understands that it isn’t appropriate at this time. It really set my world into a tail spin. How does one process health like this when all one has known was abuse?
It all comes down to the fact that Treun is a good man. He doesn’t have to be Super Man or anything over the top special. He is simply a good man. And that is something that Bubba never was or will be.
Truen and I will resume our physical relationship when my body is ready. It will be entirely up to me and I have no doubts that he will treat me as the finest of crystal when we do have our reunion. I know he will be careful with my body and he will watch himself and his position. He will take care not to hurt me. I know this about him. I have no doubts. I am safe in Treun’s hands.
I am cherished.
I’m a feeler. There’s just nothing more to it. Whereas I used to stuff everything, now I stuff nothing. I feeeeeeeeeel everything and I feel it keenly.
Two days after my release from the hospital, I decided to walk Shane out to his bus stop. I threw my hair up, put on a pair of sweat pants and an old t-shirt, and moseyed on over across the street.
Sean’s sister came out with her son to get him on the bus and we were casually talking. She told me I could head on home and she’d make sure Shane got on the bus. I told her that the walk over had taken so much out of me that I was just trying to work up the energy to walk back over. Oh, how I wish I had just gone because two minutes later she said, “Oh, it’s my brother.”
What in all that is good and holy is Sean doing back at his mom’s house at 8 in the morning? I look like hell, feel worse, and was just not up for this. Not even a little bit. It took him forever to get out of the car and that forever was more stressful for me than I care to admit. Finally, he got out of the car and walked past me. He said, “Feeling better?” I said, “I’m feeling somewhat human again.” and he walked in the house. That was it. That was the extent of our interaction but it was a like a knife through the heart. Really, I didn’t feel anything but a deep regret. I don’t know him anymore, maybe I never did.
I headed home and started fixing myself something for breakfast. I looked out the window and saw Sean sitting on the front porch talking on the phone. I sat down at my kitchen table and sobbed. How many times in the past had I looked out to see that same sight and felt comforted and happy that he was there? Now I felt only regret and sadness of what we’d lost. I found no comfort in his presence and in fact starting praying, asking God why he was back and to just make him go home and get out of my world. I don’t want him in my world at all, not even a little bit.
Why, after all this time, am I breaking down, sobbing hysterically over someone I was over quite awhile ago? I’m in love with Treun, for crying out loud, why am I once again mourning Sean? Here, let me bang my head into the wall and see if that helps any.
I called Endellion and told her about this. I also told her that Luke had posted on Facebook that his new relationship started in 2000. They’d dated for eight years and broke up for a few years, but he’s now taking it back to 2000? What about last summer? Did that not happen? I sat and cried about that and the fact that he’d posted her picture. WTF? I’m quite happy with Treun yet I’m sitting at my kitchen table crying over Sean and Luke? Am I insane?
Endellion thinks it is a case of me being in a real relationship now and the fact that I can see the possibilities with Treun that bring into stark contrast what I could never have with either Sean or Luke. Luke was a fairy tale. It wasn’t real. Sure, we could’ve had something possibly, if we were at different points in our lives or lived anywhere near each other. We had our moment together and it could’ve been great but it wasn’t meant to be. Sean was just bad for me in every way. Having such a great guy in my life now really spotlights how crappily Sean treated me. Had I been with Sean and gone through this, I know that he would not have been there, been reliable, like Treun was. Sean just can’t be that man. This was just another level of understanding where my relationships with both Sean and Luke were and could never be. It was just another level of mourning.
Also, I needed to get some emotion out about everything that happened to me. I still hate to say that I could’ve died, I hate to admit that, but there it is. I had some massive complications from my surgery and had they not found the bile leak when they did, my organs could’ve been permanently damaged and it could’ve killed me. I don’t like to admit it and I don’t like to face it. I have to live for roughly ten more years, long enough to get Shane to 18 so Bubba never gets custody of him. Yes, there are some really big emotions that I need to deal with and seeing Sean and Luke’s Facebook stuff was a good catalyst to release some emotions.
I’m a feeler and I wasn’t allowing myself to feel anything. To be honest, I’m still not. I’m still weepy and I try to push it down. I don’t want to deal with the emotions of it because then it will be real. If I acknowledge what happened to me, I can no longer believe in my own invincibility. I will have to accept that I could be taken away from my children at any moment. I will have to accept that I prayed for death over the pain that I felt last week.
There, I said it. I prayed for death. Knowing what it would mean for my children, the repercussions of them having to live with Bubba had I died, I prayed that God would just take me because the pain was so very unbearable. There is guilt there, lurking in me about that. I don’t want to deal with it. I don’t want to face it. I don’t want to look my kids in the eyes and tell them that the pain was more important than they were.
Life really does suck sometimes. For now, I’m just going to bury the emotions and try to keep them contained. I’ll find another convenient outlet to release some, so for now I’m back to mourning “what if” even though I know the answer. It is easier to revisit “what if” with both Sean and Luke than to face the fact that I wanted to die and didn’t care that that would mean consigning my kids to live with Bubba.
I pick my battles and I’m not strong enough to fight that particular one yet.
I still can’t believe how long this road is. I’ve been home for five days now and I’m still so tired. Healing is hard work! I look back over the course of the past two weeks and simply can’t believe what my poor body has endured.
*A gallbladder attack at work
*Another gallbladder attack that evening and a trip to the ER
*Gallbladder removal surgery
*Another trip to the ER with a CT scan
*Re-admission to the hospital due to severe pain
*Another CT scan and a HIDA scan
*Eighteen (at least that is the number I can remember) sticks with needles
Yeah, I was one sick puppy for a long time. My body has been put through the wringer. I’m healing very slowly because my body is still fighting off this infection.
And yet….I just want to be better already! I want to be fully me again! I want to be running at 100% yet know I’m up to about 20%. I get exhausted just getting a shower. Fixing myself something to eat for a meal (pulling it out of the fridge, putting it on a plate, and pushing some buttons on the microwave) make me glad I can sit and take 30 minutes to eat it because the fork is just so damn heavy!
I’m finding that I am not a good patient. I’m not a good invalid. I still have the drive to want to do all the things but I don’t have the physical ability right now. Sitting around healing is making my mind go nuts. Now, more than ever, I’m thankful for my blog because it gives my brain something to do. I’ve been writing so much the past few days, trying to remember things that are just a haze of pain and morphine.
Why can’t I just be out of this chair and better already? Oh, that’s right. Because of all of the above. No matter how much I want to think it, I am not Super Woman. I do not have extraordinary abilities to heal faster than a human should. I am not invincible. My body will heal at my body’s pace. I want to be up and moving and the fastest way to do that is to slow down and rest. Yeah, right! How does a naturally hyper personality like me slow down? Obviously, with lots of kicking and screaming and protesting.
Endellion is making me take my Percocet at night, no matter how much I fight needing it. The fact of the matter is that I sleep better with it because laying horizontal is still uncomfortable. She’s working on getting me to admit that it hurts. But it really doesn’t HURT. It is uncomfortable. But I sleep better with the Percocet, so for the next few nights, I’ll continue to take it at bedtime, no matter how unhappy I am about it. I will pout. I will moan. I will whine. Then I’ll pop the stupid pill and get some much needed rest.
I’m trying to remind myself that my physical body is as worthy of healing as my emotions are. I’ve taken a long time to heal after I left Bubba; I’m still working on it in fact. Why is my body so different? I know it stems from Celia. I know that giving in to our illness or physical limitations is weakness in her eyes. I need to shut her voice up. I need to exorcise it from my brain. I need to give my body time to heal because it is going to take time, no matter how much I don’t like that.
Treun and I are going out tomorrow. OK, maybe that isn’t exactly accurate. He’s picking me up and taking me to his house to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. But it will feel normal. It will be a tiny reprieve in sitting around my house feeling worthless. I can snuggle up to Treun and not feel like I’m wasting time for some reason. Just being with him is enough. I haven’t seen him in three days and it is about killing me.
Life is slowly returning to normal. It is too slowly for me, but I have to learn to deal with it. Life has to slow down right now. It just has to or I’ll never get back to 100%.
Easier said than done.
I’d seen the Physician’s Assistant twice the day after my stent was put in. Both times he did rounds, I was still in no shape to go home. I was still relying on the morphine to manage the post-op and left-over bile in the abdomen pain. I was as weak as a newborn kitten and now had a lovely gut infection to contend with. That evening during rounds he told us he’d be back in tomorrow, late morning, and would most likely discharge me. I was elated!
My night nurse was wonderful that last night. She changed my IV and she chatted and was just generally a very nice woman. After Treun left for the night she told me how wonderful my husband was. This was not new. I’d had quite a few of the nurses tell me this. They seemed to be in awe of how he took care of me and advocated for me when I needed something. I told her that he wasn’t my husband but that I hoped he’d be someday. She asked how long we’d been dating and when I told her less than four months, I think she was in even more awe. I told her how he’d been with me from the first ER trip through all the pain and agony and how he rarely left my side. I greatly enjoyed gushing about Treun.
The next morning, a new doctor came in. He introduced himself and told me that I was free to go home! He said there was nothing more they could do for me at the hospital that I couldn’t do at home to recover. He went over my discharge instructions and answered my questions. He said he’d go out and get the discharge orders done right now and that I could go home as soon as my nurse came in.
I had the same nurse I’d had the day before so I knew I wasn’t going to go home any time soon. I got dressed and gathered all of my stuff together. I was ready to go home in about fifteen minutes since I was moving slowly. I went out and saw my nurse sitting at the nurse’s station. I signaled to her and told her I was ready to leave. She told me she’d be in in a moment. Another 30 minutes passed when I went back out. She was still sitting in the same place. I again got her attention and told her I wanted to go home. Now.
Another fifteen minutes passed when she finally came in and told me that she’d passed off my discharge to the charge nurse and that my paperwork would be ready in a few minutes. Thankfully, she finally realized that she needed help and asked for it.
I got all my paperwork signed and then once again had to wait for my nurse to get a wheelchair so she could take me out. This woman was moving too slowly for me and I was moving at a snail’s pace. By the time she wheeled me out, it was almost two hours past the time I’d talked to the doctor about going home. I was beyond done with the hospital and just wanted to get home.
Treun drove as carefully as he could as bumps and bends still hurt. The children were happy to see me and I’m pretty sure they thought all would go right back to being normal again. I know they don’t understand how very sick I was or how long recovery would take. That is both a blessing and a curse. No child should have to understand that about a parent yet if they did, they may have been a bit more sympathetic toward the fact that I was operating at about 5% of my normal.
I was home and had responsibilities. The first order of business was to get to the grocery store. Thankfully, I had Serenity drive and go in while I sat in the car. She is old enough that she could purchase the few things we’d need for the next few days. It wore me out just riding in the car.
Having secured ready-to-eat meals for the next two days, I could return home and start the hard job of healing. It was going to be a long, slow road, but I was eager to start. I was eager to be me again.
It just takes more time than I like to actually get there.
When I’d arrived at the hospital right after the surgeon’s office, I’d asked the nurse to put a catheter in. One of my problems is that my bladder felt full. I would squeeze a bit of urine out but I knew I wasn’t emptying my bladder. The nurse, Treun, and I talked about it and we thought that seeing a full bladder on that first CT scan might help them see what was going on, but I couldn’t stand it anymore.
She inserted the catheter and that helped a tiny bit. At least I no longer had to worry about moving to use the bathroom. My bowels had completely shut down because I’d had nothing to eat in days so I wasn’t going to the bathroom for that. Over the next few days, as I consumed countless ice chips, the catheter came in handy.
The evening after my stent was put in, I was able to move around more, with considerably less pain. I had good bowel sounds and we knew that things were going to start happening soon. I asked the nurse to remove my catheter because I was eager to start healing and getting back to normal. At least I could start using the toilet again like a normal person.
Tania was once again my nurse. I had her for three nights in a row and I was so thankful. She really is an amazing nurse. Around 11:30 that night, I finally passed gas. I was so excited that I hit the call button. I had to share my news! (This is a good thing considering she needed to document this and needed to know any way.) When she walked in the room, I proclaimed, “I farted!!!” She threw her hands up and whooped! This made me laugh. Here we were, bonding over flatulence. I told her that I wasn’t sure that gas was going to be the only thing that came out and asked her for a pad just in case. I didn’t want them to have more to clean up than necessary in case something yucky happened. She actually thought that was very considerate of me.
I laid there for the next few hours and happily farted. I would waddle into the bathroom to pee and hope that more than just gas would come out. The ER doctor had said there was stool in there yet I hadn’t had a bowel movement in over a week. Now it was just a waiting game, waiting for all those stool softeners and laxatives to finally be able to work now that the stent was in place and my body could start functioning again.
When the shift changed in the morning, the new nurse told me that the doctor wanted a stool sample when it happened. Oh yippee! She put a “hat” in the toilet and I had the job of walking around to get my bowels working again. Treun and I walked the halls that morning. It was exhausting but I know it was necessary. We’d walk a few laps, then I’d rest.
I finally had a bowel movement mid-morning. The nurse came in to collect her sample. Treun and I continued to take our shorts walks and to talk and watch t.v. He had to leave to go run some things to his daughter. He planned to leave around 11:30 am and be gone around an hour. Right before he left, the nurse came back and told me she had bad news. The stool sample showed that I’d contracted c. diff. It’s a nasty little gut bug. I’d been on some heavy-duty antibiotics for my original gallbladder surgery and my stent. I was in a hospital setting so it isn’t surprising that I contracted it. Funny thing is that the treatment for this is another round of antibiotics – one specifically meant to kill c. diff. For ten days, I’d be taking three pills a day to knock this out.
On the positive side, it causes diarrhea so I didn’t have to worry about constipation as I recovered! I sometimes amaze myself with my ability to find the weirdest positive side to some situations.
Treun left to go spend time with his daughter and I decided to take a nap. The nurse said that she would contact the doctor with my results and they’d get a new antibiotic started to wipe out this nasty little bug. Of all the nurses I’d had up until now, they’d been wonderful, knowledgeable, caring people. This new nurse was just plain flaky. I think that is the nicest thing I can say about her.
I’d call and ask for pain meds and then wait an hour for her to show up. I would not have survived with her as my nurse in the days prior to having my stent put in. She seemed overwhelmed and way in over her head. She would ask me what I needed, then disappear for an hour only to come back in and ask what she was supposed to be doing for me. I was beyond frustrated by the time the shift changed that evening. It was seven hours later and I was still waiting for my antibiotic. I kept asking her about it and she kept telling me she was waiting for the pharmacy to bring it to me.
Treun was gone for a few hours and I napped while he was gone. I’m glad he got to spend some quality time with his daughter because all I did was nap. He was shocked when he came back and found that I’d been waiting an hour for pain meds and that my antibiotics still weren’t there. He went out to talk to the nurse and came back to tell me that he wasn’t mean to her but he did get firm in that waiting an hour for pain meds was completely not okay with him. He took such good care of me.
When the shift changed, the nurse came in with my antibiotics. She apologized for being late but had walked down to the pharmacy herself to get my antibiotics. When she’d come on shift and seen my chart, she decided to take matters into her own hands so that I could still get two doses in before midnight. I asked her about my IV, which had been hurting my hand for two days. I told her that I’d asked the nurse the day before to change it and she’d tried but had failed to find a new vein. I told her I was afraid of getting poked again to not have it work.
She was up to the challenge and assured me that she would find a good vein somewhere because I shouldn’t have to live with it hurting so badly and she could see how swollen my hand was. She searched my left arm and didn’t find anything. She searched my right arm and found a good vein underneath, right at the edge of the hairline. It was an awkward angle and hard to hold my arm still while she put it in, but she got it right away and took the IV on my hand out. The relief was overwhelming. She encouraged me to keep my hand elevated and to use the hand as much as possible to work out the swelling. The new IV was in place and I couldn’t even feel it. It was a welcome reprieve.
Finally, I felt like I was on the road to recovery.
Since I was once again going back into surgery, I was not allowed to have anything by mouth after midnight. By this point, ice chips were my best friend. Treun kept up a steady stream of ice chips to my mouth when he was there during the days. He’d taken the entire week off for me, to be with me, to care for me. He was with me from around 8:00 am until 5ish, when he would leave to get my kids some dinner each evening. He was tireless in trying to ease my pain, comforting me, just talking to me. I don’t remember what we talked about as the pain was mostly the only thing that existed for me in those days, but he talked. His voice kept me in this world for the most part. Those ice chips were small, cold relief when they hit my tongue.
Tania was my nurse again. She was wonderful to keep that morphine coming. She woke me when she came in to give me my midnight dose. I asked her what time it was and it was five till. I asked her for a couple of ice chips since I could sneak in a few last ones right before midnight. She chuckled and fed me some before she dosed me with more pain killers. She was an angel to me. She was cheerful and empathetic. When you think of a nurse, she is what you would hope for.
She took my vitals one last time and told me she’d be back in two hours for more meds but she was going to try really hard not to wake me if I was sleeping. I woke up around 6:00 in pain. I hit the button and she walked in immediately. She told me that she was just on her way in when my room buzzed. The nurse at the desk didn’t even have time to respond because Tania was on top of it. She said she’d been in twice to give me my pain meds and I hadn’t moved during either of her visits. Thanks to her, I had about five solid hours of sleep (it took me a bit of time to fall asleep after she left at midnight).
The pain was once again intensifying. The morphine had been able to lessen it but never stop it completely. Now, the morphine wasn’t touching it nearly as much as it had been. Each hour was becoming harder and harder to get through and my procedure wasn’t scheduled until 11:30. I still had quite a few hours to get through.
Treun got there and we watched t.v. and talked. He told me of his plans for the next few days. His daughter was coming to town for her 18th birthday so he’d have to leave me to spend some time with her. Well, of course, he would! Even as I understood, my insides cried out for him to stay with me. Thankfully, by the time she got to town, I would be done with my procedure and hopefully feeling better. She was planning to head to the lake with her friends for two days, so he’d just have to leave long enough to get her settled into her cabin at the lake and he’d be back. Just a couple of hours. I could make it without him for that long.
It was finally time to take me for my procedure. They got me into a wheelchair and we went off. When we got to pre-op, they had me move into a bed. The pain went beyond anything I’d felt thus far. I thought that I was being pulled apart from the inside. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and I told him that the pain was worse than I’d felt before. I was moaning and crying. He administered morphine but it didn’t help. The world then did cease to exist for me. I became the pain. It took over completely.
Treun had told one of the nurses that he could tell how much pain I was in my the “moanometer.” I would start moaning when the pain would start and it would get more intense as the pain got more intense. I think at this point, I was just vocalizing constantly. I found out later that the anesthesiologist gave me two doses of morphine, a dose of verced, and a dose of daulidid before the pain was bearable again. I lost all track of time. I knew I was supposed to go in at 11:30 but it was noon and I still hadn’t gone anywhere. I would drift in and out of consciousness, looking at the clock every five minutes, convinced that eternities had passed each time. It was jarring to realize that a mere five minutes had passed.
Finally they wheeled me into the OR. I begged them not to make me get onto the table. I told them I couldn’t. I told them the pain was too bad. Tears were streaming down my temples. The nurse patted my arm and told me I didn’t have to do anything but breathe deeply as someone else put an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose. She told me that soon the pain would be gone and I’d be healing. She was so kind and I thanked her for her compassion.
The surgery was a success. After I got moved back to my room, my original surgeon came to talk to us. He walked in the room, looked at me, and said, “You really need to play the lottery.” Apparently, I’m one in a million that has an extra duct leading from their gallbladder to their liver. When he’d clamped and cut the main duct, he wasn’t looking to clamp and cut any other ducts because no other ducts are actually supposed to exist. Except in me. Ugh. My body has never followed the text books. Everything my body has always done has been outside the norm for the human body so I wasn’t actually surprised by this news.
He said the pain wouldn’t go away immediately because my body still had to reabsorb the bile that had leaked into my abdomen but that each day would get better and that I wouldn’t have that horrible pain again.
I was thankful that they fixed me. Let the healing begin.
At least that was what we thought.