He pressed his palm to the glass. The pane was cold, its expression sullen. The rain had stopped more than an hour ago but the sun remained hidden behind layers of ash-colored gauze. He hadn’t been outside for months and in that time the seasons had changed without so much as an acknowledgment. No one had written, rang, pinged, or visited in over a week. He’d imposed his absence without much consideration for anyone’s feelings, his own included. Even if desired how was he ever to return to his old life? He was unrecognizable even to himself, even amidst the gradations that he alone had witnessed. His beard was long and gnarled like the roots of an upended tree. Shadows gathered about his crevices. His clothes were rumpled and malodorous. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken a shower or brushed his teeth. His nails were worried to the quick, coagulated blood stuck to his cuticles. His hands looked old, his face looked old, even his skin seemed out of place on its dilapidated frame. The window’s gaze was steady and patient. He saw nothing of his reflection in the glass, only his own backyard which in neglect, had grown wild. Piles of rotten apples spilled over the lawn collecting vermin and insects alike. Inside was even worse. The air was thick and meaty, food deliquesced in the sinks, discarded and unwashed garments littered the floor. Dust and decay gathered about him and he could feel himself submitting to them by degrees. A towering stone wall prevented him from seeing into the adjacent property, all he saw when looking out was his own walled in lawn, with its dying and disheveled flowers and it’s mealy, brown harvest. The window groaned beneath a penitent wind. “What have I done?” He repeated (as if in response) three times each version more shrill than the one preceding.
So I thought I would write to you about my hysterectomy experience so far. I am going to be honest so it may be uncomfortable for people who don’t like to speak of bodily functions or medical things in general.
I had an abdominal hysterectomy on Tuesday early in the morning. Before I went in to hospital I had to shower with this special soap Descutan which I read could cause severe allergic reactions in some people. I was concerned having sensitive skin but luckily I did not have any type of reaction. Bonus I have had no body odor at all since! I am sure it will come back but right now I don’t even need deodorant. I went in at around 7:00 am I was checked in asked to change into my surgical gowns, given some antibiotics, sent to the toilet and then I waited in a room by myself for sometime but I am not sure how long. I was then taken to the operating theater where I met a lot of nurses. Perhaps 4 and an anesthesiologist. The nurses were all extremely kind. They explained what was happening, held my hands, stroked my hair, and made me cry because they were so nice. I cry even now thinking of it because when people are nice it moves me to tears. Am I the only one? Anyways I was scared, mostly it seems that I wouldn’t wake up, that it would be like dying to be put under, of having no control over anything. I have been put under before once at 5 and again at 16 but for some reason that didn’t console me. They gave me meds to help me relax, drug unspecified. The worst part was the epidural because the anesthesiologist could not find the spot so I had to take several shots to the spine and nerve clusters in the middle of which my blood pressure fell to something like 83/38 and I became ill and they had to let lie me down a bit before resuming with the shots. The epidural I received when giving birth was much, much easier. After that I took a few deep breaths in the mask without anesthesia, then with anesthesia. I assume I went out immediately because I don’t remember anything really. I never saw the surgeon but I was told that the surgeon I had met previously did the operation and that one of my doctors was also present.
I woke up with the sense that I had been dreaming but I can’t say what I was dreaming about (Sam/a tree) it may have been the last thought on my mind because one of the nurses told me that if I thought about something nice when I went under I would wake with that same thought and that seemed to be the case. I don’t think they had problems waking me. First things I noticed was pain at the incision site, pain in the throat, thirst, trouble talking. I was easily able to move my legs. My blood pressure was still low and once I started to move a little I got dizzy and nauseous and vomited a couple of times. Nausea with anesthesia is common but even more common if you’ve had a gynecological surgery and if you have low blood pressure on top of it, so I had kind of an unfortunate mix. They did seem surprised that I felt pain exactly at the incision. I must have been in that room for hours and hours because I don’t think I made it to my actual room until like 3 something so my husband was in a panic because that was way longer than projected. I don’t think the surgery took longer I think it was the transitions that took a long time.
I stayed pretty numb that first day so the pain was not horrendous. I mostly felt the pain where they cut was and the rest of my abdomen and body felt just like normal honestly. I was horrible nauseous though. I tried to eat a small dinner, a sandwich, which I later threw up. I had to stay on fluids because I could not even hold water down and could drink so little water at one time that hydration was not possible. Changing from one position to another resulted in a lot of dizziness so they had to keep the catheter in that first day and night. I managed only to stand with assistance initially and my feet felt firm but the blood pressure issue made it really impossible to walk about. That said I did change into night clothes later that evening and I did walk to the bathroom. The nurse was present but outside and did not really explain how I was supposed to navigate the change with the catheter. It never occurred to me to sit down so I balanced on one leg and did all sorts of weird moves in my confusion. She did come in eventually and help but by then I had overcome the most complicated aspect of changing. Remember you can sit down and dress apparently! I usually dress standing.
I had to stay overnight, Sam stayed with me for a while but had to return home to be with Isadora. I could not sleep in the hospital but I was able to rest. At some point I began to itch a lot particularly in the nether area and the nurse brought tablets for that (which helped some) and a shot to thin my blood which she said could either go in the stomach or thigh. I picked the thigh obviously, as it was still numb. I can say morphine didn’t work as a painkiller for me. I still honestly had my knee pain which I always have and was so surprised that I should be able to feel my everyday aches and pains while on such a strong drug. During the night my pain became significantly worse but I decided to wait until morning to ask for painkillers. My right shoulder was also very painful, I am not sure of the cause it almost felt like it had been pulled out of its socket. The pain in my shoulder honestly competed with my stomach pain for a while even. I am not sure if I laid on it incorrectly or if it was positioned poorly in the operation but it is royally jacked up. I can also say the pain on the right side of my incision is much more intense than on the left.
Before I go on if you are planning on having a hysterectomy practice how to get in and out of bed and in and out of a chair a lot beforehand if you suffer coordination issues. I am having a hard time transitioning positions. Apparently I use my abs a lot naturally and it is super hard to unlearn fight against your natural inclinations. Also taking on and off socks is the worse thing ever!
My catheter was removed in the morning. I was overjoyed! I was afraid of the catheter (outright phobic) but the numbness, had on the first day, made it only a minor inconvenience in regards to movement. I felt it more the second day but it was not painful. That said taking it out was uncomfortable/creepy. I then had to drink to see if I would be able to urinate. After drinking a few cups of water I got the urge and went to the toilet. I had read it was hard to void your bladder after surgery but I just went there was no trick to it really. I did remain on the toilet longer and adjusted my positions to make sure I had done a good job. I am not sure if I am emptying it as much as before but I seem to be emptying it a reasonable amount each time. I decided to go to the cafeteria for breakfast. I went just as it opened and had to wait sometime. I decided to carry the trey back with me which was maybe not a great idea since I had barely walked at that point but I succeeded. I did manage to eat and hold down food but my appetite is not the same and I can’t eat as much as before. Part of the reason, aside from nausea (which I have now to a lesser degree), is the gas. I have so much gas. The first day my stomach looked fairly normal, the 2nd day it was very bloated (still is). I can pass gas but it’s not easy. Actually that has never been easy for me, my bowels are pretty low functioning to start. Anyhow Sam came again around 8:30 after dropping Izzy off at school. I learned from the nurse that I would likely go home. Shortly after Sam arrived the doctor came in to see us. She told me the surgery went well. They took out the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and the cervix. They did not need to remove the ovaries and they did not see anything inside that looked concerning. They will send my uterus to a lab and I will get results which might explain the menorrhagia we have to wait and see. Later we saw the head nurse who showed Sam how to give me the blood thinner shots (he is not happy about it) and they removed my ports which I had in both arms. I was so happy to go home but Day 2 was a very high pain day. Much worse than Day 1. Very intense. Pain at the incisions, pain in my lower back, pain in the shoulder, pain in my usual spots, PAIN. I stayed up 8:30 but it was a difficult day physically and emotionally.
After sleeping in my own bed I feel more rested but I am still pretty tuckered out. My pain has lessened thankfully. I have not taken painkillers yet today because they hurt my stomach so much and I can handle it at this level. My incision hurts when I move from one position to another but not so much when I am still. I have tried to be good about moving but it’s tough because of the fatigue and pain. My favorite exercise has to be mountain pose (I can stretch and assume good posture without force which counters the hunching and fetal sleeping position) and shoulder rolls. I have not been able to take as many steps as I want but I try to take them at least once an hour. We have stairs in the house so I have had to go up and down a few times. My fitbit does not pick up my steps that well because I have to be more cautious and I use the rails when on the stairs so I don’t actually know how many steps I am getting but I wear it because of the hourly reminders to move. The gas is quite bad and causes pain, if I did not have gas I think my stomach would really only hurt at the incision. I feel optimistic that tomorrow I will feel better than today.
Oh yeah I forgot!
I had a slight fever after surgery as is normal but I have absolutely no fever now. I have had some bleeding but not much at all, not nearly what I expected if I am honest. I haven’t experienced any difficulty breathing or taking deep breaths either. I can’t take off the bandage for like 7-10 days so I have no idea what the wound looks like only that on the surface the bandage is perfectly clean. I have dissovable stitches so nothing will need to be removed. No doctor visits either. I will get a questionnaire periodically and only come in if I feel something is wrong.
I tried to brush the heat from my skin
But it could not be knocked loose.
I sat in silence, the room empty and bright.
I knew somewhere there were fires going.
Fires that my heart had not wept.
Fires that ate up whole landscapes.
And the whole time I was going insane
Quietly so as not to invite attention.
I wrap straw into effigy,
a guise of betrayal,
a fire writhing to ash.
I pull log after log
from a basket
feeding into deplorable rage.
I like to think I tried,
that I championed
for a righteous cause
but in the end
there can be no us.
Winter remains a vestige
to a faltering spring
and within that aberrant whiteness
I find little warmth.
However, I adjust myself
the dye still bleeds from my veins.
So I smite thee, my mortified self.
If I had one thing to say to you
it would be forgive, forgive, forgive
only then can we begin to understand each other.
The red thread has been shorn in two.
Destiny is not a tapestry but a threat,
her immutable filaments serve only to veil.
My eyes-two bees pollinating-
grow heavy with what they have seen
ignorance is not always so innocent.
I have chosen occlusion,
the constellations will go on sparkling
whether or not I observe them.
One molecule at a time we fashion
our defenses, precise as a cuttlefish,
until there is nothing left to anticipate.
I have forgotten the lightness of movement.
The dirt flakes from beneath my fingernails;
the worms have grown fat while I slumber.
Don’t be so quick to kill me off,
to condemn, we are the same
whatever the difference in our affectations.
I have had some very heavy, stressful, and disturbing dreams lately. I am also sick possibly from the stress of those dreams.
The warmth leaves my fingers,
as if it were laughter.
What is this nothing
into which I empty
my wit daily?
The bird in my breast
grows fat on a quilt of stars.
Who dares make a wish
when the twinkle has fallen
from my eye?
Let me weep in abject silence,
salt is the sole spice in my repertoire.
If only I could lift the music
from these moonstruck pages
that alone would suffice.
How can I claim reason
in this habitual state of shock?
A sigh is the heaviest
of all sentiments,
when I reach the bottom
I promise only to dig.
My words fidget-
a resonance so shrill
it continuously escapes me-
like damselflies careening
over bitter pools.
My heart is a skiff
chasing storm-tinctured skylines.
Its vacancies easily doused
I fight for breath underwater.
I have a knack for anechdoche,
for transmigration but wherever I go
it is to that same backlit frame that I return,
a motherless fetus exhumed.
The damage is mostly internal.
Eternal, I propagate my faults
though the addition
only serves to diminish.
Where do I even begin. I am having trouble facing certain realities/situations and I have sort of shut down emotionally which is making writing difficult. Also because I have been writing less frequently I am feeling uncertain and out of sync.
A corridor of silk panels,
of crosses riding the divots and contours
of a self-righteous end.
She tears the ground from beneath my feet
as if it were a veil and it is only a veil.
Her eyes burn through rendition,
lady-like and avaricious
she licks the stars,
indifferent to sublimation.
Every word is an order,
a mandate more abstruse in execution.
She is right enough
to justify any breach of character.
The plants in the windows
have perished in drought.
I snap their withered
stalks between my fingers,
there’s not even enough
water left to surmise.
(I am still in a funk!)
I chip the ink from your diaphanous shade,
dissonant and weather-beaten your words
roll from my purse unlacing themselves
like stains on patches of mottled velour.
I clip your iridescent smile to my heart
let it cancel out all vacuous tendencies,
the explicit and unsubstantiated doubts,
the clamor of the faultfinding masses.
Not related to the poem which isn’t really complete. I received some very upsetting, shocking, troubling news recently. My mom who suffers from Bipolar was convinced by a friend to stop taking her medication (I believe she stopped cold turkey). She fell into a deep Depression lost her job and ran away from home to live with another man (not my stepdad) in another state. My stepdad is 86 and has Congestive Heart Failure (his issues are physical not mental so no dementia or anything). She has decided to return home but cannot do so because she does not have the money to make the trip at present (my stepdad doesn’t have any money either because she has not been managing the finances properly). We haven’t been in much contact the last few weeks and I am still trying to process everything that has happened. From the sounds of it her friends and family have totally shut her out except for me and my stepdad (she said he was willing to work things out). I can’t even imagine how broken hearted both of them must feel right now =(.