More Patience in Suffering. How appropriate this is. As most of you know, I had kidney surgery last Tuesday. Even though I had intentions to plan my blog ahead and have them ready to post, there is more to intentions than thinking about it; and it just didn't happen.
When do we suffer more that with surgery? There is mental suffering that comes with the anticipation, worry, fear and many other negative emotions associated with an upcoming surgery. The worst case scenario replays over and over. Some things will not occur, but that niggling thought that they may occur is persistent. Recall the last words of the surgeon as your are being locked and loaded telling you all the life threatening things that have a slight possibility of happening. You can change your mind. Seriously! You are transferred down that infamous hall of overhead lights, through locked doors and into that sterile operating room with modern machines poised around the room waiting to pounce. Everyone has their last minute preparations buzzing around you. On one side a doctor is connecting a table full of Laproscopic tools, The Robot, that, at this point, resembles a newly opened erector set. Toys for Doctors. Nurses and technicians pull you off the bed onto a narrow surgical table that feels like trail across Angel's Landing. Don't lean to the right or the left. The busy hive hooks you up to the myriad monitors nearby and the Long Sleep drug is administered before you can take in any more terror. One second you are there and the next you are gone into the Dead Zone where nothing exists anymore. I am not sure it is existence--my heart is beating and my lungs function, but where am I? Am I in a waiting room deprivation tank? There is no feeling of peace, or oneness with the cosmos--just nothing. Three or four hours go by unawares. (Gratefully, as they push my muscles and organs out of the way to get to my little, not so innocent kidney.)
Then I awake to the most physically painful part of life ever. This is the real foreknowledge that I have been dreading the past week. My experience with being awakened in recovery is too horrendous to think about. Those who have out of body experiences say that the moment a spirit returns to the body is very painful. It has to be the same when the mind goes from no sensory perception to all sensory perception at once. Every hurtful, painful, awareness part of life comes into focus all at once. The filters created by the mind are all turned off and everything crashes in. Every scent, taste, sound, touch and nerve pain sensor turns on at full volume. This is the time I want to scream at the nurse, "GO AWAY! Never talk to me again." This is the only time in my life that I really wanted to die.
Not so this surgery. I do not recall a recovery room and most of the first hours of being in my room. Dan said I was mumbling in and out of consciousness. If this is the new post-op procedure I am all for it. I don't remember anything. I am so glad. My first memory is so foggy I cannot really pinpoint it. I have spent hours trying to recall anything, but nothing is there. Someone introduced herself as my nurse and wanted to take my blood pressure and it was downhill from there.
Now the Patience in Suffering takes place. The previous part is not under my control. Practice makes you more paranoid. Mindfulness or cognitive behavior points out your inability to fix things thus leads to more self deprecation. Why add suffering to suffering? Physical suffering takes patience. I really try not to bite the nurse that pokes me, or throw things at the phlebotomist at 5 AM, but when the pain killers have worn off it is not a good time for pleasantries. When my whole back is attacked with needles and I painfully work myself onto my side for some real sleep time, please don't pull me back to squeeze the life out of my arm. Let sleeping patients ly.
After two or three days of endurance; fill me with pain killers so that I can endure the giddiness of going home. It will call for all my strength to painfully lift my rubber legs to dress, then convince myself to stand steadily on those legs to prove that I am not dizzy. Lastly, I must patiently wait for that last IV to come out and for that glorious ride to the front door. Good-by, nurse. Good-by help to the toilet. Good-by sleeplessness.
It still hurts at home, but not in the same ways. No one wakes you all day and night. Miraculous strength gets you moving again. Neighbors bring food and good cheer. Husbands are attentive and concerned and also relieved to be home. No matter the circumstances, There's No Place Like Home.
May your suffering be quick and gone.
HAPPY TO BE HOME