“Cheery” has been in short supply around these parts in the past few months. We haven’t exactly been miserable, but “cheery” has been more of an effort than it really should be. It wasn’t so much because things are bad, but rather because some aspects of what should be ordinary and commonplace had been slightly (ok, more than slightly) “out of whack.”
Behold, ladies and gentlemen, one of the unspoken miseries of aging: the failing-in-some-way-other-than-the-one-it’s-supposed-to uterus. The saying goes that “old soldiers never die, they just fade away”. In the case of my uterus, that old soldier wasn’t dying…it was rallying to a reveille that wasn’t being played for it at all. Just when I thought it was finally following the plan laid out for it by nature, the darned thing would go all Jack Torrance on me…
Yes, I’ve reached the conclusion (as have the doctors) that my uterus (that most defining of all female body parts) had the obstreperous nature and characteristics of an annoying, relentless, mean man. While other women were being visited by Aunt Flo, I was being assailed by Uncle Jack and his bloody ax. Months of misery had turned into years, and those years were draining everyone’s patience and my well-being.
Long story short: the damn thing (yes…damn…no darned for it…DAMN) is out and good riddance. I’ve been home for a whole week now, and have several more weeks of recovery (slow and patient…not my forte, but there you have it) ahead of me.
As you might imagine, caring for J and doing all that was required of me in that particular area of endeavor had become increasingly difficult. Needless to say, the erratic pattern of Jack Torrance’s outbursts was making it difficult to keep my cool and maintain a certain degree of equanimity.
J was suffering by association. His anxiety, when it peaked, was crashing into a wall of hormonal and emotional stress that didn’t bode well for either one of us. He cannot always properly process what’s bothering him, and I sure wasn’t in the mood to do so…so we were at loggerheads (rather loud loggerheads, at that) at random moments.
Earlier this month I visited my doctor and the options were laid on the table: either we cleaned the thing out and waited out the onset of natural menopause or we went in there and, Entebbe-like, released me from my misery.
I will grant you that, perhaps, I was a little eager to evict Jack Torrance and that colored the lens through which I looked at the situation. I said “get him out” and out he came. It was the right decision. A certain medical condition -known as adenomyosis- had overtaken and angered my uterus to the point of downright unbearable cantankerousness. Even a cleansing and stern talking-to wouldn’t have solved the issue to satisfaction.
The decision to have the surgery was made seventeen days ahead of the scheduled date. Between then and the actual day, we told no one about it. That is: we sat on the news and shared with two neighbors (one who is a Surgical Assistant at the hospital and the other who is a nurse). The odds that we would run into them there were pretty high…as it turned out, the Surgical Assistant was working and her sister, in fact, was working for my surgery. The kids weren’t told. We wanted to keep things on the down-low, and to maintain a certain degree of calm for J while we prepared the house and ourselves for the procedure and the convalescence.
The morning of, J woke up to find the bags packed and -after a brief moment of confusion- he got in line with our schedule. This hospital was new to him, and he was going to spend the day with Dada rather than with me. Of course, this had weighed heavily on my mind; always I am the one who waits with him, and now he and Dada would be the ones waiting. We were a little worried, but I prepared things as best I could.
J and Dada came in to see me at pre-op, and then they sat in the waiting area. I made sure to tell all the nurses, doctors, etc. to please address J as they explained everything that was going on. They did a beautiful job. J was calm and happy in spite of the obvious stress that would be built into such a situation. By the time I was out of surgery (it took over four hours), he and Dada were tired but relieved. I told them to go home and rest, eat and come back in the morning to take me home.
I spent the night in a small room with my own bathroom. I experienced no pain. I was sore (I’d only had five holes poked into my abdomen and other such tinkering), but I wasn’t clamoring for meds. I managed to sleep a bit. I ate a meal of potatoes, meat, and vegetables, I read, I walked around (gingerly, carefully)…I worked on meeting all the criteria for release, and -come morning- I was deemed fit to come home.
We’ve been low-key since. I can do a bit here and there, but I do rest a lot. I sleep better with every passing night. My appetite is slowly coming back to me. J is happy and relaxed, and he has accepted that Dada is working from home and will be until he returns to his office on Monday. I’m letting thing slide because I want to make sure I recover properly. By the time I go back to the doctor near the end of April, I want to hear “good job…you’re healing as you should” rather than “you crazy woman…you don’t need to do everything and you’ve botched this…tut-tut, tsk-tsk.”
Each day J and I sit and do something: fold shopping bags for reusing as trash bags, fold socks, work on vocabulary, do a craft. He is being proactive about helping Dada with things he usually waits for us to do. Even the dog is cooperating (she is gentle and sweet rather than her usual bowl-you-over-with-love self) with this period of convalescence.
My cheery disposition is returning. I am tired from time to time but comforted by the empty space where Jack Torrance used to be. That the biopsies came back announcing that, other than being obstreperous and aggressive, Jack Torrance was harmless (just a big ol’ bully, really) is even better news.
Always talk to your doctors. Always ask questions. Always think of what is best for you and yours…
I’m glad I did. My health was affecting J and, while this is an inevitable factor in the symbiosis of parenting a disabled individual, it doesn’t need to be prolonged more than necessary IF there is a solution for it. In putting the kid’s well-being first, I also put mine and Dada’s at the top of the list.