when last we saw our heroine (that’s me), she was smacked out in a hydromorphone haze, leaving her bed only to go to the bathroom (and frequently), get water or juice, or take more pills. i couldn’t walk my dog (trusty nurse zak to the rescue!), put on pants, or eat food of any kind.
at this point, the only major pain was in the gaps between pills if i overslept or forgot. i can’t tell you how many times during those first few days i couldn’t remember whether or not i actually took my pill or not. sort of like those groggy mornings where you can’t remember if you shampooed your hair or not. unfortunately, i would have to err on the side of not taking the pill at all- rather than take a double dose. poisoning myself is a slightly greater concern than too squeaky hair.
but then on tuesday, i sort of woke up. mostly lucid for the first time in days, my first thought was- WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH MY MOUTH?
again, if you’re about to bite into a big sandwich or you want to ask me out on a date- now is the time to debark the story.
now, imagine that you’ve been bedridden for 4+ days doing nothing but sip juice and pop pills to stay alive. when you finally do wake up and realize that you haven’t brushed your teeth since friday (now tuesday), and that there are some sort of gummy particles falling off your tongue. a quick mirror check will reveal that your entire mouth is covered in crusty white blobs.
a panicked bout of vigorous teeth and tongue brushing would result in the following:
1. a sink full of blood.
2. a tongue mostly devoid of tastebuds.
a panicked call to my doctor yields another doctor’s appointment and a prescription for a vile tasting viscous yellow liquid that i’m supposed to “swish and swallow”, but that i immediately barf into the sink instead. i make the compromise of squirting it on my tongue in tiny microdoses, and hoping that some of it eventually makes its way into my throat. it seems to be working.
on a hilarious sidenote, i decide to walk to the cvs a few blocks away to pick up my prescription and to get some fresh air. at one point in my life, i distinctly remember swearing that i would never go out in public in my pajama pants. so to anyone who saw someone who looked like me, in a pair of blue and white striped sweatpants shuffling drunkenly down forest ave on wednesday afternoon- YOU SAW NOTHING. but seriously, for a brief moment in time, i was officially one of the creepy/crazy people at the pharmacy that you actively try to avoid.
but back to our story…
while i’m battling it out with my disgusting mouth infection, i notice something else strange. despite being able to finally down more than just juice (though not much more), and despite dutifully taking the “stool softeners” twice a day, i have not pooped for 5 days. i panic.
i also start having low grade fevers (100ish degrees) in the gaps between my pills. and then as soon as take the pills i am jetted into menopause worthy hot flashes/sweats. i panic some more.
when i call my doctor to follow up on these new and alarming symptoms, she promises that she will call my surgeon to check and make sure there is nothing to worry about. she never calls back.
the next day, i call. i think the pills make me extra crazy and frantic, because every time i try to talk to a medical professional who doesn’t give me a straight answer, i fall apart. i cried on the phone no fewer than 3 times in 2 days. i’m positive that the front desk lady at my doc’s office has written: EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE somewhere on my chart. i should probably find a new doctor after this.
a direct email to the surgeon yielded a more satisfactory result. i guess “post embolization syndrome” is a thing where you get a fever while your fibroids are dying. because i had so many big ‘uns, i guess i get extra fever fun days. i am told not to worry about the pooping. it will “work itself out”. GROSS.
well, it’s been 10 days. and for the first time since the morning before my surgery, i actually feel like a normal person. i did dishes. i changed my sheets. i took my dog for a walk in the sunshine. i ate peanut butter cups for lunch.
now that my pain is under control and my tastebuds have started to grow back, i guess the biggest problem i will face for up to the next month is the intermittent exhaustion. i’ll feel totally normal for a while, and then i’ll have to go lie down for 2 hours. i’m scared to start work tomorrow. i’m scared to go to the grocery store. as much as i want to launch back into my old go-go lifestyle right now, i know i’m not quite cooked yet. one really good day is great, but it’s still only one day.
consider this the temporary end of my vile little fairy tale. i know it was probably awkward and embarrassing to read, but i wanted to make sure that anyone who goes through this surgery actually knows how it is. obviously, it is different for everyone, but my ridiculous account is at least better than: I almost knew immediately that the procedure had made a difference. It was night and day. (fuck you testimonial lady)
i have no idea if it worked. i lost 6 pounds, and my abdomen is still as hard and protruding and lopsided as ever. i definitely have to pee less- which is pretty weird, because i thought that was just something about me that was unchangeable. but it will take at least 2-6 months before i know if it worked at all. i’ll let you know.
but maybe for now, we could think about something else for a while.