In June of 2020, after nine months of recurring infections and half a year of COVID-19 delays, I finally had surgery to correct an unhealthy connection between my bladder and bowel.
Heavier and more frequent doses of antibiotics had kept the infections in check, but by the time I was finally admitted for the nearly nine-hour procedure, I felt as though I had to crawl onto the operating theater table. I was physically unwell and at my wit’s end from the months of waiting … during a bleeding pandemic!
This week, I am headed back into surgery — 18 months on and still in that damned pandemic — for a last bit of minor surgery to correct something the consultant decided could wait for another day.
RELATED: Notes From the Postsurgical Ward
I Feel Good — Maybe Too Good
Unlike the last time, I am in fit form for this go. No infections to battle. Down nearly three stone (42 pounds). Stronger than I’ve felt in years. Maybe I was feeling the good feeling a little too much, in fact.
Having recovered from a recent fall and knowing that for four to six weeks I’ll not be allowed to lift more than a liter of milk, I may have overdone things in the run-up to my convalescence.
I know I do it. I know, from reading comments and notes to me on social media, that we all do it to some level or other. Those of us living with chronic illness take advantage of a relatively good day, like a sailor on 24-hour liberty (and I was a sailor in my younger days, so I speak from experience there). Like those same seamen, the next day, we pay for our sins.
The Drive to Feel ‘Normal’ Can Be Irresistible
If we wake feeling good — or simply feeling something, even if it’s not “good” — we relish our ability to do something others might consider ordinary but to us is extraordinary. We take on an extra task. We push a little harder. We go a little further. We gladly step across the line, knowing that a price will be paid and that the interest charged will be steep.
But we do it because we can. So often we cannot do as we wish, and those brief times of respite from our shared repressive disease are an opportunity to feel normal, even if only for a few days or a few hours. “Normal” is a siren’s call to this former mariner, and I know the rocks she calls me toward.
But I go willingly … every time.
This Time, I Brought the Fatigue On Myself
This time, I’ll not crawl onto the operating table. Rather, I think I will fall, exhausted, into the care of my surgical team. They may not even need to use anesthesia, as I feel I could sleep for a fortnight after a weekend of readying myself (and the house, and the garden, and the dog, and, and, and …) for my recuperation.
Of course, my wife, Caryn, pitched in and would be perfectly fit to manage even if I hadn’t pushed (and pushed, and pushed) to get it done. I know that, and I still felt the need to be the one to do it all (or most of it). But, well, that’s a whole other topic for a whole other day.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.