gallbladder goodbyes – musings of a girl on narcotics

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Here’s the boring part

Long story short I’ve been really sick since February of this year. Everytime I would eat, horrible things would happen in muh belly. Last Tuesday, I had my gallbladder removed. This is an extremely common surgery and recovery time is about a week or two. My surgeon said I was a good candidate to have the surgery done robotically, which would require a “single site” incision. I was told I would spend less time in the hospital and would have less scarring. Sweet, I signed up that day.
What they didn’t tell me, is that the pain after this surgery is much worse than the regular route (with 4 small incisions spread out about your abdomen). I am not good with pain, I am bad with medication and I just was not expecting what hit me when I came out of the anesthesia.

So awful. I went home to suffer through this pain, and to experience just about every side effect of the medication (at a very intense level). Needless to say my week was terrible.

Here’s where things get interesting

I really thought I was going to spend my week off of work watching Friends, blogging and whining to everyone I know about how bad my little incision hurts. Well, it didn’t happen that way. Instead I could barely concentrate on anything but the pain, the sick, the…everything else. (Trust me, you do NOT want to know the extent of the terrible) I ended up feeling a little less human.

Yesterday was the first day since my surgery that I was able to just kind of sit, nap and watch tv. It felt, weird almost. Everything just felt so different, I felt different but I didn’t really know why.

But it was time to go back to work.

I laid down to go to bed and my mind started racing. (Don’t you just love that) For the first time in a week I was wide awake and ready to have in depth conversation with boyfriend about everything that I had experienced. I started to think about how terrible it all was, and how I just didn’t feel…human.

This explanation was confusing to both me and boyfriend but as I rambled on I started to realize that I hadn’t had much room for feelings, other than the physical pain of course. I spent a week of my life forgetting who I had spoken to, forgetting what was talked about, not being able to do anything for myself, and only having focus on what was happening to my body.

It felt, empty.

I soon became fixated on the difference between existing and living.

I compared it to an elderly person who is sick and in a nursing home. People come to visit you, but when they are around they don’t really know what to do or say, and most of the conversation is either about you being sick or stuff you won’t even remember. You are literally there for the sake of existence. You’re not contributing anything to the world, you may have family that love and adore you but in this state, you’re just…existing.

So what’s my point?

When you’re numbed out, going through the motions, not letting yourself feel, you’re denying yourself from living.

My favorite moments from the week were when I could take a shower. Something about being able to just, take care of myself, wash off and feel clean afterwards – it was the closest thing to self-love I could get. I wanted so bad to paint my toenails (yea, I know…), one day I even put on mascara after my shower, even though I had no visitors coming that day. I was feeling a pull to take care of myself, to show myself a little bit of love.

Because love makes the world go round.

*Puke*, right?

But really, the thought of being able to get out into the world and just contribute to society was enough to make me actually want to go back to work today. The thought of communicating with other human beings, and the possibility of actually helping someone during my day was making me feel a bit more human. And it all started coming together.

Even when we don’t want to, our contribution into society (our lives, families, self) is more than making a paycheck, paying bills and eating. That being said, even when we are just going to work to pay bills, we are contributing to someone else, in some way. Think on the smallest of levels.
Maybe you made that person’s day by saying hello. Or maybe you were the first customer to not yell at the cashier in the busy grocery store.  Even the smallest of things can make a difference in someone’s day. But even more so, if you choose to concentrate on the little things, the tiniest contributions you can take yourself from a place of existing – to a state of living.

– Kara Beth

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