Monday, February 24, 2014

Pulling Through At Murderview

       Sometime in 2012, I started having a weird pain in my lower, left abdomen and realized that, if I poked around on my stomach, I could feel a lump in there.  My first thought was, “Oh.  That’s can’t be good.”  So what did I do?  I waited two years to see a doctor about it, of course!  (Okay, that’s not exactly true.  I had a good friend who is a general surgeon poke it with his finger and say, “Huh.  I don’t know what that is.”  I considered that a preliminary diagnosis and put further exploration off for six or eight more months.  Then I had my gynecologist do an ultrasound on my ovaries and say, “Huh.  Your ovaries look fine.  I don’t know what the problem is.”  And then I just ignored it for another year and a half.)  It hurt like HOLY FUCK, but not ALL the time—just, like, two weeks out of every month.  I knew it wasn’t a muscular pain, as I’ve pulled and torn muscles before and know what that feels like.  You know those little prickly brown balls that fall off some trees?  (No, I can’t describe the trees they come from any better for you.  I know jack shit about trees, although I do find them lovely and enjoy buying them for B to plant.  I don’t dig holes.)  Anyway, whatever was in my abdomen looked, in my imagination, like one of those prickly balls.  Round and full of sharp points that stabbed me in the gut even when I sat perfectly still. 
Eventually, after two years of carrying around a prickly ball that hurt like fiery hell, I figured I should probably do something about it, so I went to a different gynecologist.  I figured she’d put me on some version of The Pill (that, I've deduced over the years, is the gynecological answer to anything from irregular periods to world hunger), the little prickly ball would go away, and we’d all live happily ever after.  I had already positioned this plan in the forefront of my mind as I sat in Dr. K’s office while she asked me questions and typed away at her fancy computer with her perfectly manicured nails.  (Obviously that stereotype about doctors working a zillion hours a week is WRONG, as Dr. K clearly has plenty of time for manicures.)  I was bored and it was freezing outside, so I just wanted to get out of there and go back home to hibernate and drink wine, which is basically what I do from January to April, unless I’m working.
Fifteen minutes after I sat down with Dr. K, and without any previous medical records OR an exam (Dude, how often do you go to the gynecologist’s office and get to keep your pants on?  NOT OFTEN, I TELL YOU.) she looked up, batted her pretty blue eyes at me and said, “I’m pretty sure you have adenomyosis.  You need a hysterectomy.”
Well, fuck.
I really hate surprises.  ANY surprises, barring something NO ONE can hate, like an unexpected flower delivery, or the library calling to tell me that a book I requested them to put on hold came in.  (Yeah, I’m exciting.  I know.  I didn’t fucking ask for your opinion, though.)  Hearing the doctor say “hysterectomy” came as a huge fucking surprise, and definitely not the flower-delivery kind.  I mean, I have no particularly attachment to my internal lady bits.  I don’t really have any use for them anymore, seeing as how I’ve birthed more than enough babies for this lifetime.  But still.  Having them chopped out?  That just felt…..weird.  Hysterectomies are for OLD bitches.  This bitch is only 36.
Dr. K sent me on my way giving me some time to think about it, and told me to call her up when I had figured out what I wanted to do.  I could keep all my reproductive organs, likely including the prickly ball that nobody had yet been able to diagnose but that Dr. K felt sure was something ugly in my uterus, or I could throw in the towel and let her cut that sucker out.  The upsides to surgery:  no more periods, no more pain (hopefully), and a ‘scrip for sweet pain meds.  The downside:  well, aside from the surgery being performed at a hospital called Maryview but that everyone I know refers to as “Murderview,” I really didn’t see any.  And honestly?  Surviving surgery at Murderview might make a DAMN good story someday.  So I high-fived myself and scheduled to have everything except my ovaries hacked out, including the tubes.
Now, you should know that during this decision-making process, B was very supportive.  Even when I waffled back and forth a bit, he “did encourage” to me.  Possibly, this was to see if I really would survive Murderview, thinking worst case scenario, he got to return to the dating pool.  Possibly this was to get me to quit bitching so much about my abdomen hurting.  But I think the most likely scenario was that he knew that I could never again bail on one of his McPhail and Extended Family Extravaganzas and blame it on cramps if I had no uterus to cramp (I tend to use this excuse at least twice a month.  No one seems to have caught on yet.)  And once I made the decision to go through with it, he did what any kind and loving husband would do for his wife—he threw me a “Happy Hysterectomy” Party.  (Here we have a slight bit of disagreement.  The actual name he gave the gathering was “The Superfluous Uterus Party.”  His reasoning was that my uterus WAS superfluous, and that he really wanted the challenge of finding an appropriate word that would also rhyme with “uterus.”  I, on the other hand, feel that, not only do “superfluous” and “uterus” NOT truly rhyme, but also that THAT’S A FUCKTARDED NAME.  Therefore, I renamed it the Happy Hysterectomy Party.  My lovely friend Heather even made uterus cupcakes for the occasion (as in, they had frosting uteruses drawn on them, not uteruses as part of the ingredients, in case you are too stupid to figure that out on your own).  The whole shebang made me feel loved and supported, and then the following Tuesday rolled around.  Surgery time.
*Quick side note:  those of you who have followed my blog for some time know that I FUCKING DESPISE TUESDAYS.  Tuesday is the worst day of the week, and HORRIBLE things always happen to me on Tuesday.  We’re talking the DEATH AND DESTRUCTION kind of horrible.  So OF COURSE Tuesday was the day that Dr. K performed surgeries.  So OF COURSE, my surgery was scheduled for a Tuesday.  At fucking Murderview.  OF COURSE.  WAY TO GO, UNIVERSE.  THANKS FOR THAT.
            B and I got to the hospital right on time, but found that we had to sit in the waiting room (dingy, creepy, looked-like-it-was-filled-with-child-molesters) for a bit.  Then a rather grumpy nurse named Amanda came out to get me and take me back for pre-op stuff that included, but was not limited to, a near fistfight with another nurse (named Carla—if you’re ever at MV and run across her, I encourage you to punch her in her damn face) who refused to put my iv in the crook of my arm, rather than my hand, even though I told her that I KNOW MY OWN FUCKING VEINS, BITCH, AND EVERY TIME ANYONE PUTS A FUCKING IV IN MY FUCKING HAND, THE VEIN RUPTURES AND THEY HAVE TO TAKE IT THE FUCK OUT AND PUT IT IN MY ARM.  AND NOT MY FOREARM, AS THOSE VEINS ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AND IF YOU FUCKING STICK ME MORE THAN ONCE I AM GOING TO FUCKING RIP YOUR HEAD OFF AND THROW IT AT THE NURSE’S STATION, HOPING TO HIT AND IMMOBILIZE THE FIRST FUCKING NURSE I SAW WHO WAS ALSO A TOTAL  BITCH.  Jesus.  I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for nurses, but after the hysterectomy experience, that respect is limited only to nurses who do not work at Maryview.
*Another side note:  I won this argument after the anesthesiologist heard me swearing up a storm at the nurse and came over to see what the problem was.  When she told him, he shrugged and said, “Yeah, you can put it in her arm.  I don’t care.”  BAM, BITCH.
Once that was handled, the anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me something like liquid valium in the iv to calm me down (he was likely terrified of me after watching psychotic hissy fit I threw) and then once they got me to the operating room and settled on the table, they would knock me out with general anesthesia.  His iv valium must have been some excellent shit, though, because I have no memory of ever leaving the little curtained pre-op area, reaching the OR, or getting on any table.  I just remember something cool trickling through my veins, and then I woke up.
Waking up around 2pm, I saw that I was in yet another curtained area, where both B and his dad (where did HE come from?) were staring at me.  As promised, the first thing B told me was that they didn’t chop me open and find a bunch of cancer (this had been a possibility— Dr. K was doing the procedure laparoscopically, but she said if she went in and saw anything that looked bad, she was hacking back through my c-section scar and scraping out anything she could get her hands on.  AWESOME).  Once I heard that things were okay, in my head I passed back out, but in reality it seems that I was EXTREMELY happy and conversed at length with the orderly assigned to drive my bed up to the 5th floor where they planned to park me for a day or so.  (I’m told I was highly impressed with his bed driving skills, as I “can’t even push the racecar shopping carts at the grocery store without crashing into shit.”  Hey, at least I was honest.)  A lot of laparoscopic surgery cases get to go home the same day as the surgery, but with my diabetes and everything, the doctor wanted to keep me to help manage my blood sugars and whatnot.
Thankfully, I sobered up quickly, realized the nurses on Floor 5 sucked just as bad, or potentially even worse, than the ones in the pre-op section of the hospital, so I took out my own iv, got dressed, and said, “Come on, B, we’re going home.”  And that’s exactly what I did.  B took off work the next day and forced me to rest, but when he returned to work on Thursday, I got up and resumed my life. 
For the record, I realize right now that you are thinking, “That Haley is a BADASS.”  Why yes, yes I am.  I might be bleeding through my steri-strips, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to keep me from doing the fucking laundry.  I didn’t even take my pain meds (well, I didn’t take them for PAIN—I did take some in order to spend a few hours with my sister-in-law and not go postal). 
Tomorrow I will be two weeks out from surgery.  The prickly ball in my abdomen is gone (turns out the adenomyosis diagnosis was correct, says Pathology, and that created both the lump and the pain).  My belly button is looking far less gross (it was pretty bruised and bloody-looking for a couple of days).  I may be missing a few parts now, but whatever.  How many people come through this life with everything intact?  Not many people I know.  Belly is missing her tonsils.  My Mom is missing one of her boobs and all of her sanity.  Sutt just lost a tooth (not sure if that counts, but I’m adding it anyway).  The point is that I came out of Murderview alive, and actually, better off.  I’m calling that a win.  YAY ME.

No comments: