12 October 2015

Monday, Post-op

Whew.

Surgery was Friday.  Rest assured, it was a long fucking day.

Went home Saturday afternoon.

Everything is hyper-focused, slow moving, and fraught.  What do I mean by that?  T's focus is on her body, of course, alert to the signals of pain.  The drains rub on her ribs which cause a pain separate from the incisions.  We gingerly reposition them, with whimpers and quick gasps and admonitions of 'careful!'. We focus on the drain output, how many milliliters of fluid have we drained off today?  What color is it?  We focus on the clock, is it time for more pain meds, or another antibiotic?

Everything is slow.  Getting her up, or down, is a slow moving orchestrated event every time.  In the hospital they asked if we had stairs.  Ha!  Yes. It's a two story house, with 13 steps before you get to the front door.  Stairs are slow.  Add into that the fact that we don't have handrails (I know, I know). I have to walk beside her, upstairs and down, so she can hold on to me.  These are the easy things, though.  The time spent in this state of limbo spools out slowly when the biggest activity is standing up and walking slowly to the kitchen.*

Surgery is fraught with risk and hazard.  Cancer is fraught with fear and depression and hope.  Families are fraught with history and obligation and love and regrets.  All of this swirls around and through our days.  Thank the Goddess for Hope.  Otherwise... we would despair.

So, really, all things considered, she's doing pretty well!  Ha!  Actually, her incisions look pretty good.  Flat, tight.  Just how she wants them.  With luck, they'll heal that way.

There's also the flip side of it all.  She worries that she will look fat and ugly.  I reassure her that her boobs did not make her beautiful, she is beautiful despite the fleshy appendages.  She looks down and all she can see is her belly sticking too far forward.  Yes, I agree, we need to work on getting in shape when she heals.  That will be good for both us.  There is a great deal of fear in an involuntary change to the body.  Understandable, of course, but there's nothing I can do or say to change that.  Will you look different?  Yes.  But you won't look unattractive.  It's not a shallow or vain concern -- it's a process of coming to grips with this trauma to the body that changes a person inside and out.  My role in this (as I see it) is to affirm and reassure while she begins to adjust to the change.**

I have taken the week off to stay home and help her navigate her way through the early days of recuperation.  My hope is that she will be able to move herself around more easily each day.  By the end of the week I expect her to be completely ambulatory and able to do most daily self care on her own.  If she's not, I'll take a few more days.  We've got some post-op appointments this week and I think those will be our big outings and biggest tests of mobility.

Ok, that's all I've got for now.  I have ten million chores to do before lunch, so I'd better get started.  Thanks for following along.


*The slow moving time is T's.  My time has been spent fetching and helping and cleaning (so much cleaning!)  I have been moving like a whirlwind, like a dervish.  Sunday should have been spent watching football and instead I dusted and vacuumed and swept and mopped and tidied, keeping an eye and an ear on the game when I could.  Why, you ask, was there so much cleaning to do?  Well, neither of us are good housekeepers and the week before surgery was full of pre-op appointments and family stuff.  Then, when we were home afterwards, her sister wanted to come over after the Seahawks game.  They are a judgy bunch and I didn't want to hear about it from them or even deal with the eye rolling.  So, I cleaned like a maniac.  At one point T looked over and said, 'There's a dust bunny by the couch.'  I stopped what I was doing and said, 'Here are your choices: You can quietly stress about a dust bunny or you can piss off your partner.  If you choose the latter, nothing else gets done in this house.' Because I'm a bitch like that.  Oh, and the topper?  Her sister texted and said she couldn't come over because she was drunk in a sports bar with her boyfriend.  I will have much more to say about that later.  In the end, the sister did come over -- later than we would have liked, about 8:30 last night.  So very inconsiderate.

**I expect than when the shock of this has all worn off, and when we have lost some weight and toned up our flabby bodies, I expect that T will actually like her new shape.  She has always wanted to have a flat chest and while it's hard to get it this way, I think she will be pleased.  In the future.  Not now.


8 comments:

illustr8d said...

I have been thinking about you and T a lot, wondering how you were doing and when surgery would be. I am grateful it's over and grateful it went well.

Much love to you, e. You are a good person. (I have to admit your first couple of paragraphs sound like my old life, my old job. I thought, yup, yup to it all.)

It is true that everything is sloooooow. It will get quicker for her. Eventually.

At least the house is clean, right? Now you don't have to do it again. (They stay clean, right?)

All the best, my friend. All the best to you and yours.

8thday said...

So many things to respond to:

- it has become very clear to me that I had the wrong caregiver when I was going through this : )

- I thought I looked 7 months pregnant - but a lot of that is caused by surgery and anesthesia gases. It really does go away once all the internal digestive things return to normal.

- I am so glad that she had a plastic surgeon close and that the results are good. And she can always consider reconstruction anytime in the future is she changes her mind.

- Reading through this I think you have a very good sense of what is to come. The physical gets easier quickly but the emotional is a roller coaster ride. I am very happy she has you. She is a lucky woman.



Middle Girl said...

Thank you for the update.

And basically what illustr8 and 8th day said only to add--take a moment or two, for you.

Finally, inconsiderate family, gotta love 'em. Oy.

Anonymous said...

So, so glad this is past for both of you. Boobs are nothing but trouble, well, mostly.

Jean

Secret Agent Woman said...

I'm glad the surgery is behind you guys - now the focus can be on healing. Wishing you both well.

e said...

Thanks for the support, women. I truly appreciate it! Xoxoxoxo

elf said...

Hey there. I've been a total slacker so just catching up with your posts. Glad to hear the hard chemo and surgery are over. Helping someone through cancer is hella hard. I'm sending good vibes that the rest of this journey goes as smoothly as it possibly can. We're thinking about both of you. And, we're not exactly the queens of clean over here, we wouldn't judge.

e said...

@elf: lol. thx! xo