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My New Reality

Wow, sleep makes one whole world of difference.  I haven’t cried once today.  And I don’t feel irritable at all.  I feel tired for sure, and sore, and at times I have real searing pain, but mostly not.  I walked around the floor this morning and was completely exhausted by it. Blows me away.  Having surgery for five hours wrecks you, I guess.  I was told today to take it really easy for eight to twelve weeks and not to lift more than 10lbs for eight weeks.  Blech.   

I learned the name of the man who is not Afreesa.  His name is Assafa. I’m glad I finally got it straight. He came to see me this morning and, because I slept, wasn’t irritable, and maybe because I’m ready to be with my new reality, we did well together. 

I learned he is from Ethiopia.  He is the oldest of 16 children.  (Holy smokes!)  He studied agriculture and plants in Ethiopia and worked in a lab.  I didn’t understand all the details of his studies, but it sounded interesting.  He came here to raise his children in a stable country.  He said, “I believe, when you have children, you are responsible for giving them the best possible chance at opportunities and having a good life.  There wasn’t stability in Ethiopia.  I knew I wanted stability for my kids”.  Imagine bringing your four kids to a strange country.  Wow.  There’s bravery.  He worked as a landscaper when he first arrived, before becoming a nurse in 2004.  I asked him why he chose to be an ostomy nurse. He said, “because I like wounds”.  He explained he cared for a couple patients with very complicated and bad wounds and was able to heal them so he became known as the wound healer.   

So, Assafa asked if I wanted to change my bag today.  I say, “Nah, not really”.  He laughs like I don’t have a choice, and says, “Well, this is yours so you should change it”.  And he’s right.  It is mine.  I do have to get into relationship with this piece of me.  So, with some humor, I do it.  I change the bag with Assafa’s help. He says, “Wow, you need to slow down”.  I am not naturally slow.  I like efficient and fast. I like to move fast and finish things fast. To the point where I break things. (Fast, huh?) I’ve been practicing slowing down for fifteen years.  I’m better at it with some things.  This is another lesson in going slowly and doing the steps well to protect my health.  And Assafa gave me the quiz again and gave me an A-  😉  He laughed a lot. 

Also, my ostomy has started to “wake” up a little.  In other words, I’m passing a teeny bit of gas, which is good because my belly is bloated and uncomfortable. I can’t quite imagine what’s gonna happen when it’s fully awake because I really am bloated. The doctor will need to see my stoma move waste before I can get out of the hospital.  Honestly, I’m hoping they keep me here more than three days.  I don’t love it (the food is really bad) but I would like to stay until everything is working well and I have less pain.  I’d also like the drain to be removed. 

This morning the surgeon said he could take the urinary catheter out, but I asked him to leave it in another day.  Getting up is so painful and uncomfortable, and not having to go to the bathroom all the time is really nice. 😉  Seriously, I now understand why some toddlers would prefer to use diapers rather than stop playing.  I also think I am traumatized from my last bout with cancer when I had such horrible radiation burns.  Relieving myself then, in any way, was some of the worse pain I’ve ever felt.  (And I had a 40-hour home birth with an obstruction.) Having an incision close to my ureter makes me way scared. But mostly not having to bend or sit is a blessing today because that is still quite painful.

I’m going to sleep soundly tonight. I decided. That’s my big plan. That and waking up tomorrow to discover how my body is. Thanks for letting me share all the stuff. 

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