“Wow,” she remembers thinking, “now I can fall and I’ll break.” – from ‘109 Minutes With Candice Bergen,’ New York magazine
So last week, when I said I hadn’t been feeling well, assumed it was hormones and lethargy from the get-together with friends I had the Friday before?
Yeah, no. It was my gallbladder. Not six hours after I wrote that post did I have to immediately get up and walk out of a client meeting and grab a cab home. I had chills, nausea and myriad stomach issues. For the next four hours, I vomited – or attempted to vomit – three times an hour, sometimes more. Things seemed to clear up enough later in the evening, enough for me to believe it was food poisoning, but no. For the next three days this cycle repeated itself to such a degree that we knew it couldn’t be food poisoning, and must be the flu. Friday afternoon and a trip to the ER revealed it was a problem with my gallbladder, which I’d never even thought about.
(Who thinks about their gallbladder, to be fair?)
Sadly, though, the ER triaged me out of there with Vicodin and an appointment to meet with a surgeon on Tuesday. But, after an evening riddled with details that are not at all whatsoever OK to share, we got a second opinion. I had mentioned all of this on Facebook, and a friend of mine from high school who is now a bariatric surgeon reached out to me. There are about a million things I could say about this, but the bottom line is that I could not be more grateful to my friend, grateful to Facebook (for real) and grateful that the twain met.
By noon Saturday, thanks to my friend making a few calls, we were headed to a hospital in Evanston to see a surgeon and learn that the situation with my gallbladder was way worse than the ER ultrasound picked up and so I was admitted that afternoon. It was infected and inflamed, and, according to my surgeon, way worse than your average gallbladder attack/issue. So, the gallbladder was out on Monday, and I’ve been on the couch since being discharged Tuesday afternoon.
For the past two weeks, I have felt like hell. Absolute hell. I mean, obviously, with the infected organ and all. And I’m definitely getting better, but I haven’t had a day where I haven’t had some sort of digestive issue to contend with, and I haven’t left the house in days, AND I can’t lift my kid. For six weeks.
On the heels of the stress fracture, this was just a blow. A depressing, irritating blow. I don’t know how to articulate it well, but for the moment, in the simplest terms, it’s so clear how fast she’s growing and learning. Every day it’s something new. And here I am, once again knocked out of commission, unable to fully, completely actively participate in the care and nurture of my girl without assistance. I feel probably more devastated than necessary – I know how lucky I am to have Scott and family and friends and an awesome job and AG’s nanny – but I am.
And I look at my midsection – bloated, puffy, scarred – and I feel, well, old. Tired. A little bruised. My c-section scar is still red and apparent, and now the small holes from the gallbladder surgery serve as its attendant minions. Things are saggy in a way they never were before. It doesn’t help that I’m sore and underneath all of this bloat and scarring feels like a war went on. Which I suppose it did. It’s hard to believe things will go back to normal. Let’s face it; they may not.
Not to be particularly histrionic here, but I’ll be 36 in 19 days. That isn’t old by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s closer to 40 than 20. On such a spectrum, the reality is that bouncing back from anything isn’t really an option. It’s more of a gentle gait with some light nudging and some gradual stops and starts. I spoke with my friend today, after I spent a bit too much time obsessing that it’s been almost a week since my surgery and I still feel like crap, and he reminded me that I’m probably another full week out from being back at “75% strength,” and another two months before I’m even close to 100%.
This would likely be true for someone in her twenties, I grant you, but I also know that well, I’m not. And right now I just feel it. After a year of just all sorts of medical-related stuff, it’s hard to not feel a bit creaky and worn. It’s hard to believe that I won’t recover from this only to go head-long into another malady that will distract me from work, family and my hobbies.
I mean, there is no Ragnar now. Which is a first-world problem, I get it, but like the NOLA half, it’s just another race I was so looking forward to and now have to scratch off my list.
Gah. Did I mention not being able to pick up my kid?
I’m having a pity party here, I know, and hopefully I’ll shake this soon. After all, I’m lucky to be alive, to have had such a kind and generous friend work so quickly to find me a great surgeon, to have such a village of people in our lives to see us through this latest thing. But I’m tired and I miss feeling healthy and whole and vital. By summer, God willing, I’ll be back to running and boot camp and all of the things I love to do. For now I’m headed back to my bed to whine and pout a little more.