I guess you can say I’ve been blessed or that I must have done something right all my life….I have made it to 53 years old and never had to have any kind of surgery! In addition to that, I’ve only had one broken bone – I fractured my collar-bone in a car accident when I was a little girl – and only have one scar from stitches I got when I was crawling on the kitchen floor as a baby and cut the palm of my hand open on a piece of glass from a broken milk bottle. I often say that I fully intend to leave this world with everything I came into it with!
Well, to be honest, the no surgery of any kind statement is not TOTALLY true — I did have lasik eye surgery in 1999 and had oral surgery to remove four impacted wisdom teeth when I was in my early 20’s. But, neither were done in a hospital and neither really seemed “medical” to me at the time. I was awake and aware during the entire lasik procedure, although the valium they gave me made me not really care all that much! The removal of the impacted wisdom teeth – all four in one session – was the closest thing to surgery I’ve ever had – I was put into a twilight sleep, it was considered major oral surgery, and I was out of work for a week all swollen, bruised and on heavy pain meds, but it was done in the dentist’s office. So, I guess all that kinda negates my first sentence. But, what I mean is – I never had to schedule a procedure at the hospital, never had to go under general anesthesia, and never had the meer “idea” of surgery give me reason to consider my health may be at risk!
Next week I have to go into the hospital for some outpatient surgery. It is minor in nature, done all the time and has been for decades, and doesn’t involve any incisions of any kind. When the doctor told me they need to do the procedure, I heard “outpatient” and that they will put me to sleep for a short time and I can go home! In my totally naive and independent mind, I thought “OK, so I’ll take the day off work, drive to the hospital, have it done, stop for some lunch on the way home, and go back to work the next day.” Simple! It didn’t sink in that it was a little more serious than that until later!
My first clue was when I finally connected to one word the doctor also said that, at the time, sorta went in one ear and out the other – “biopsy”! Yeah, I know, it is just a precaution because something isn’t progressing normally and it is probably nothing! But, they really should find a different word for it when it is probably nothing and then change what you call it if it does become something!
My next clue was when I talked to the nurse to schedule the time and she set up appointments for not only the procedure, but also for a “pre-op” session at the doctor’s office and the hospital – to tell me what to expect and do some testing – hhhmmm, you mean I don’t just show up like other simple, routine appointments??!! She told me that I will need to have someone come with me to drive me home, possibly stay with me for a while afterwards, and that I would probably be out of work for two days. OK – so why didn’t I think of that? I didn’t even remotely consider that I wouldn’t just drive myself there and be on my merry way! Heck, I even drove myself to the emergency room for all night pain management while a really bad kidney stone passed a couple of times – it took me about 45 minutes to make a 10-15 minute trip because I had to keep pulling over to throw up and try to relax the intense pain, but I got myself there – of course since the pain management included morphine, I had to call someone to come get me, but I got myself there!!!
OK, so I obviously had no idea what to expect and needed to look this procedure up to find out what it involves. I knew I would get all the info I need at my pre-op appointment, but that is this Friday – a couple weeks from when I first heard of the need to have it! I’m not a patient woman! So, I googled it! Apparently, it is typically done under general anesthesia and the recommendations include no heavy lifting and for the patient to stay off their feet as much as possible to avoid possible hemorrhaging! That doesn’t sound good! So, I guess I need to take this more seriously than I originally thought! I’m probably overreacting by getting as nervous as I’m letting myself get, but I was definitely UNDER reacting when I thought I’d drive myself there and go have lunch afterwards!
What I also found out during my googling, though, was that a lot of times the situation I am in that is resulting in the need for this procedure is STRESS related!!! I may go through all this, have a biopsy done, likely worry myself into a frenzy until the results come back, and find out what I already know —- my life needs to be seriously de-stressed! Case in point — I am getting myself all worked up and maxing out the stress meter just thinking about what is going to happen to me next week!!! This is on top of everything else that I stress over! I know that my blood pressure, diabetes, and even my arthritis would be much easier to manage if I just chilled out and cut out things that cause me unnecessary stress!!!
So, with that, I’ll end with the thought that writing about it is a big help – get it out and off my mind (for a little while)! And I’ll also leave with the age-old question that I really don’t expect an answer to anytime soon: If I know that cutting out the stressful things that can easily be avoided in life will greatly improve my health and happiness, why do I not do something about it????