I did want to just talk again about the perceptions I gained from other people who have gone through this surgery and what my experience has actually been like.
I knew there was a range of rebound time- everyone heals at a different rate of speed. What was very comforting to me before I had the surgery turned out to be one of my biggest frustrations because I made decisions based on the story that other people experienced this surgery, by and large, as pretty darn easy.
In some ways I can see that- I'm not hobbled from a knee surgery, I wasn't denied food like with an abdominal surgery. I am not limited in range of motion from a limb or back surgery. In those respects, if I had to compare, then yes, this was a quite easy surgery.
If I had to tell someone who has only had very limited or no surgical experiences what to expect, I would not have been so quick to be so reassuring- not because I am cruel, but because I just don't think it's realistic and honest. There is more to healing than whether you can drive your car and go back to work. Maybe that's not true for everyone? It is very true for me. I feel like I have stepped off of a rocky ship onto new land that is relatively familiar but just different enough that I keep wondering if I really did land somewhere other than home.
We were told by the person scheduling our surgery that our surgeon felt that if we had the surgery on Friday, Randy should be able to comfortably go out of town on the following Tuesday. We made our decision to have the surgery when we did based on that information, largely, or we would have waited until later after Randy's trip and he was able to be home with me for the initial recovery period (the first week?)
If I hadn't had the incredible support of my friends, I honestly do not know what I would have done. I couldn't cook. I had to sleep very still, sitting up, and I was terribly constipated. My range of motion was limited and I was taking 400mg of ibuprofen every 4 hours around the clock, without fail, to manage pain. I couldn't talk, I couldn't get my brains together to think through simple things, and I ran out of energy very fast.
My friends brought me fully cooked meals with all the fixins, they took Eidie so that I could rest. My older kids did a really good job of working together, of taking care of Eidie, and of facing disappointment when things we thought we'd be able to do didn't pan out without complaining too much. There are no better friends on this planet than the ones I have.
I'm now almost two weeks post surgery and I still tire quickly and get sore. I don't need pain medication anymore except for sporadically. I've adjusted to my medication so far pretty well and I'm feeling happy about that, and I'm also still working to remember to take it every day. (So far, I haven't forgotten for more than an hour or two!)
If I had a job, I could probably go back to work within the last couple of days, but not earlier than that. I will be working this weekend, doing henna at a festival, and I'm nervous that I am pushing this too soon but I also really want to see for myself if I'm ready to do it or not. Nothing says I can't pack up and leave if I get too tired. This big fat scar on my neck will afford me a little slack if I need it, I'm sure.
Last night I posted on Facebook about feeling like the surgeon took out a part of my brain and people shared that after having general anesthesia that it took weeks for them to feel like their faculties were fully returned. Why didn't I know this before hand?
I wish the anesthesiologist had met with me at any length before the surgery to tell me these things. Other than waking up and how that might feel, I had no idea that I might feel tired and foggy for days, weeks after my surgery.
In the moment I thought I had pretty good informed consent happening, and in retrospect I can see where a lot more could have been explained to me very simply.
Over all, I'm definitely getting better every day, and that is great! I feel like the core of my body is strong and eager to heal, and that there are reasons why it's going slowly that I have yet to uncover.