As usual, the planning began months ago; as usual the preparations have been underway for some weeks already; and as usual there is both eager anticipation and a little anxiety. Stepping out into the new and unknown is always a dynamic mixture of positives and negatives. That's what makes it truly exciting!
I have my lists, To Do's and To Pack, which change almost daily as expectations collide with reality and time runs out. I had a hair cut yesterday and the shopping is mostly done. Over the weekend I'll finish up the housecleaning and take time out to celebrate Mother's Day, leaving Monday to tie up any loose ends and do the final packing.
Come Tuesday, I'll be ready for my next destination...
Ah, there's the rub! Turns out there's nothing usual about this adventure after all. But let me quickly add that there is nothing sinister about it either, no cancer, no cardiac issues. Age plus the birthing of two (TWO!!) 9-1/2lb (4300g) babies 29 and 31 years ago have caught up with me. Ladies - when going over 60, it's not only our boobs that sag! So do our pelvic organs. Mother did not tell me about this part! Then again she didn't have babies who looked more like three month-olds than newborns.
Ordinarily pelvic organ prolapse doesn't require a major surgical reconstruction project, but apparently I'm not most women. My pelvic organs have sort of collapsed in on each other resulting a plumbing system that does not clear the pipes as it should. There are other issues, like bulges where there shouldn't be bulges, and sudden bouts of incontinence leading to sock-soaking bladder accidents. Yet it is the frequent urinary tract infections, (7 in the last eight months) that have taken the most out of me.
I'm fed up with feeling so wretched so often. One of the things I have learned, up close and personal, is how beastly it is to suffer a chronic yet invisible illness. It's lonely. I've also learned what it feels like to experience even a mild cognitive impairment. UTI's often come with this "feature," and in the frail elderly such confusion is often the only symptom. It's downright scary to encounter episodes of brain fog, an inability to focus. It's creepy to watch powerlessly as my thoughts run adrift, and then it's hard work to bring them back in line and keep them there.
Bring on the surgical solution!
And so it will be on Tuesday that surgeons will take out the bits I no longer need (ie. a complete hysterectomy) and use a belt and suspenders approach to haul up the rest to their more usual position. This shoring up and reconstruction project will take two surgeons about three hours to complete.
"No big deal," the anaesthesiologist quipped at last week's pre-op appointment. Except of course it is still major surgery, however minimally invasive the technique, and it comes with a 6 week recovery.
I have not been spared a tyranny of "what - ifs." What if something more is found inside me, something sinister? What if my 63 year old heart and circulatory system is not up to the challenge of general anaesthetic? What if it's not infection brain fog but rather the long tentacles of dementia that have invaded the deep spaces of my mind? And God knows I hold the air, sea and land speed records for the fastest leap to the worst possible conclusions.
Fortunately, these dismal fugues of thought dissipate in the face of reality and logic - I have passed all the pre-op tests and workups. So the best thing I can do is acknowledge the questions, the doubts, the fears. I bless them for being the normal accompaniments to the prospect of major surgery that they are. And I refuse to dwell in their particular cloud of unknowing.
Let's just get this surgery done with and then see what's what.
"...all shall be well, and all manner of thing, shall be well."
Julian of Norwich (ca 1342 - ca 1416)
©2016 April Hoeller