I had some sinus and facial surgery.  I was a mess leading up to surgery because it dug up a bunch of shit from my past that was only an issue because I was having surgery, then I had the surgery, then I had to recover, then I had to pile on a bunch of extra shifts to make up for all the time lost.  I’m finally caught up, months later.

I had silent sinus syndrome and my eyeball was slowly (over a decade before my surgery) sinking into my face, which eventually would have affected my vision.  It wasn’t super serious and not life-threatening, but goddamn was it an ordeal.  I had some huge ass septum that had to get shaved off on both sides of my nose, then my sinus had to get opened up, and for some reason I can remember now I had to have a small, unnecessary piece of skull removed from in there.

The baggage.
My mother had two or three sinus surgeries while I was growing up.  It was hell for her.  Luckily, there’s been some medical advances since then and I didn’t have to have my nose broken during surgery like she did.  Later in her life, my mother had surgery on her Achilles tendon.  A little less than a week later she died from a blood clot that was a complication from that surgery.  This package of hereditary health shit gave me a buzz of underlying anxiety leading up to surgery.

Advance directives are thorough.  Since this surgery was freaking me out more than other surgeries I’ve had, I figured it was a good idea to cover the fucking bases.  I asked my ex-husband for lunch and talked with him about my wishes, should the unthinkable occur.  He is a good friend who knows me very well.  He knows my relationship with the men in my family.  He also fainted when I got an IV put in for a previous surgery.  I couldn’t count on him for a physical presence, but I knew I could count on him for anything legal or any decisions.  Filling out the Medical Power of Attorney and the Advance Directive forced me to remember why the people in my direct family shouldn’t be making these decisions.  The day I filled it out I was useless.  I had two pre-op appointments, came home and filled the paperwork out, and balled like a baby for hours.  I was forced to contemplate in detail for an hour what would happen if I didn’t wake up, while simultaneously being hyper-depressed about my family history and the last shitty year of my life.

I was going into surgery alone, without family or a boyfriend or someone to help me through it in a very close and intimate capacity.  Friends are awesome, but they aren’t a significant other who will comfort you in all your random breakdowns leading up to surgery, hold your hand before you get the anxiety-reducing cocktail before you get cut open, or get you water or heat you soup or tea for the following two weeks when you look and feel like shit.  Why had I driven them all away?  What is wrong with me?  Do I even want to wake up?

As a third bullet point in baggage, our culture fucking sucks for single women.  My surgeon told me I had to have a baby sitter for 24 hours after the surgery.  I don’t trust easily anymore.  I don’t let people into my home very often.  The last time someone saw me cry was over 7 months ago and that was an uncontrollable accident that I kicked myself over for weeks.  Of the people I do trust, very few of them are the care-giver types who I would trust to pay attention to what I need while giving me the space and quiet I need at the same time.  Add on top of that: most of my friends have day jobs and can’t take time off work because of a variety of reasons that have to do with their own lives.  I asked several people.  A few of them were married men with kids- care givers unaffraid of snot and grossness who I could trust to not see this as anything beyond taking care of a friend because they are in stable relationships with more friends or acquaintances of mine.  A couple replies I got back were in the vein of, “it would be inappropriate.”

Now, lets put this in perspective.  I had a slow bloody nose for over 24 hours after surgery.  I knew beforehand that I would be on some major pain killers the entire time, useless beyond vegging in front of the TV and napping, and 200% not sexy or thinking about anything sexy, especially with a friend I trust who is there to make sure I don’t fall down, take too many pills (because I was too doped up to monitor my own pills), or hemorrhage too badly.  It is more appropriate in our culture to make a woman chance convalescence on her own than to chance casting doubt on a married man’s honor.  Because I was totally in a position to seduce.

I ended up with a single friend babysitting me, who by chance had his own surgery the week before and was still in recovery (and time off work).  I didn’t know until a couple days before that this was set because he wasn’t sure how his own recovery would go.  Not stressful for me at all, nope, cause I don’t like to plan ahead for this shit at all, nope.  I only had to fend off verbal sexual advances for a little bit that day.  No biggie.  That didn’t affect my already thready trust in men at all, nope.

In all honesty, that friend is awesome and I can overlook the inappropriateness and discomfort that being hit on when I’m vulnerable because he was also on a lot of pain killers at the time and he’s been a very good friend to me in the past when others have failed.  It would have been nice to have someone who wouldn’t have done that around instead, though.  LIKE SOMEONE MARRIED IN A HEALTHY MARRIAGE BUT OUR SOCIETY FROWNS UPON THAT.

Recovery was really hard.  A month and three weeks later my face is still sore, my sinus chronically dry (even with daily neti pots and prescribed steroids and ointments), and my mood a bit cranky because of it.  My eyeballs look more symmetrical to me, though, and I can breathe a ton better.  Exercising seems much easier as well.  I’m still recovering from the emotional baggage shitshow, though.  It’s not that I can’t deal with it in a healthy way, but it just feels like a fresh bruise, too.


About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
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