Today after church I sat in the front seat of the car while Mike ran into a drugstore to get a prescription. I thought that I really didn’t NEED any pain pills. I mean. It’s SUNDAY. Surgery was DAYS ago, back on Tuesday. And those stupid pills make me twitch and I hate them, so I’ll be fine. But I was so not fine.
I distracted myself by checking email on my phone and there was a lovely, unexpected ’hey let’s reconnect’ sort of email from my long-lost very best childhood friend ever. Have you ever gotten one of those? So sweet.
The tears that i was not letting fall from the ridiculous denial of pain were unleashed and by the time Mike came back I was a mess. A happy, somewhat pained, mess. Not that he knew that.
He asked me what was wrong. When I’m hurting, I don’t breathe. Which makes talking impossible. Which can REALLY frustrate a guy. My sister does this, too. As does Ethan-9yr. Mike asked again what was wrong, and did that thing with his eyes that always means, “I’m trying real hard to be patient but i need you to talk NOW.” Did you know eyes can say that? Mike’s totally can. Maybe it’s in the eyebrows, actually. Hard to say.
Finally I said, “I got an email.”
“And it said…?”
Much choking, crying, gesturing for him to OPEN UP THE STUPID PILL BOTTLE ALREADY, and i said, “Hi.”
“You got an email that said, ‘hi,’ and ….?” he doesn’t finish that sentence, thankfully, or it might have ended with the words, “and it made you CRAZY like this? ’Hi’ can do that to you?!”
Oh yeah. It was an odd emotional response, but it was part emotion and part pain. Which reminded me of what happened on Tuesday right AFTER surgery. (had acl reconstruction on left knee.) I awoke as soon as i left the Operating Room and was wheeled into the Recovery Room. The general anesthesia had worn off but the ‘block’ on my leg had yet to take effect, numbing it. That is a real bad time to wake up.
Also? If you don’t breathe or talk when you hurt, that does NOT help. I sat there and cried silent tears until someone noticed I was awake. She smiled sweetly and asked if I was ‘just emotional.’ She told me that was normal. She sat next to me for a few minutes while I tried to make myself breathe, or talk, and finally I did and said, “IT HURTS.”
This was quite an accomplishment.
She said, “What? What hurts?” And seemed genuinely puzzled by this.
“LEFT KNEE.” I think that should have been abundantly obvious, but maybe not. She gave me something and it didn’t help for quite awhile, so I looked around and felt very sorry for the guy opposite who had his eyes taped shut. Ew. Didn’t realize until the next day when i found tape residue on my face that I had apparently had eye tape too. Gross.
Directly across from me a blonde still slept on. One of the nurses said to my nurse, “Miss Argentina just died from complications of what she had done,” pointing to the blonde. My nurse looked at me, wide awake, and shook her head to end the conversation. I laid there and wondered what in the world Miss Argentina and that lady had in common, but unless i feigned sleep I wouldn’t find out. Apparently the conversations there are much more entertaining when they think all the patients are in deep, drugged sleeps. But I felt sorry for Miss Argentina and the blonde anyway.
Finally the pain went away and I was a bit more chatty than I usually am. My nurse sat next to me reading something, and for some reason I couldn’t or wouldn’t turn my head to the right to look right at her. She told me she had to wait until I’d been there awake, not in pain, not nauseous, for thirty minutes. This seeemed really long, since I had awoken with the attention span of a gnat.
“It’s all better, now, right?” She asks.
“Mmm. Yeah. But how come if my knee is waaaaaay down there, and that’s where all the surgery is, I don’t get to wear underwear waaaaaaaay up here?”
I was not trying to be funny, and i was not amused.
“It’s because I’m short isn’t it? Tall girls can wear panties?”
“What?” She looked really alarmed.
I was, too, really. I hate the word, ‘panties,’ and if it were not for the immense drugs, i never would have said it out loud. I couldn’t believe I’d just used that word. I told her so, which did not make the conversation go any better.
“You only said, ‘panties.’ You didn’t say anything awful. Did you think you did?” I guess she thought I was confused and thought I’d sworn at her or somehting.
“No. I just don’t like that word. It’s so prissy. My sister and I have this list of words we don’t like. And we don’t use. And that’s on the list.”
She didn’t say anything. I don’t know what she was doing because she was on my right and i was slumping to the left and not looking to the right for who knows what reason.
“I just mean, if I were six feet tall then that distance - between my knee – and — and — would be a lot bigger.” This made enormous sense to me at the time but it really doesn’t now.
“Yes. Um. Twenty more minutes!” She said, and found some reason to go somewhere else.
Maybe not talking in such circumstances isn’t such a bad thing after all.