Last week was all mountains and valleys. One moment I was fine. Hell, I was =great=. My weight went down below 200, and I celebrated. I was getting together lesson plans for teaching THE COLOR PURPLE (a new unit for me), and it was awesome. I went running in a warm rainstorm, and it was cool!
A few minutes later, the hospital visit would come crashing back down on me. Memories of the pain; the splayed, helpless posture; the gun=shaped instrument the doctor shoved into my urethra and waggled back and forth. I obsess over details, poring over medical statements and lab reports to glean clues about what happened to me while I was unconscious. I also discovered the cardiologist who ran a thousand tests on my heart and reported everything as completely normal, diagnosed me as having "an abnormal EKG," along with a hospital code for "short QT syndrome." Now I have to get hold of his office to find out what's going on.
After I completed the x-ray and the 24-hour urine sample (which I had to FedEx to the lab, a whole process by itself), I called the urologist's office. Did I still need to come in to get the other two stones removed? I realized I was secretly, deeply hoping the answer would be "no," that I had managed to pass the stones without noticing. I told myself this was extremely unlikely--the stones are four and five millimeters, not something that would exit easily or without pain. But I still hoped.
The receptionist said she would have to get hold of the doctor and call me back to answer.
I waited all day, trying not to obsess, and failing. By the next day, there was no call. Finally I called again. The receptionist--a different one--checked the computer and said that I did need to make an appointment for extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). "The scheduling service will call you," she said.
"Will it require sedation?" I asked.
"Not full sedation," she said. "More like a twilight state."
And that was that. But I hadn't realized how much I'd been hoping everything was over until I hung up the phone and started to shake. The disappointment was enormous. More than anything, I didn't want to go back to that building for more anesthesia, more people poking and prodding and staring.
I'm going to press for Darwin to be in the room while the procedure takes place. It will make me feel better. He's agreed to it.
That evening at 5:15, I came up from the basement and discovered a voice mail from the urologist's office on my phone. They had called a few seconds ago. A pang went through me, but also hope. Maybe they were calling to say doctor had reviewed the x-ray and seen the stones were gone. I called back and got a recording that the office closed at 5:00, please call again later. Oh, I was upset. Why had they called me and left a message I couldn't return?
Again, I tried not to obsess all night and failed. I watched endless videos of ESWL procedures on YouTube, and couldn't make myself stop. The first thought I had when I woke up in the morning was of the procedure and images of me lying naked and semi-conscious on the table. Maybe I could get out of it!
The morning crawled by. Finally I got a chance to call the office. "Oh yes," the receptionist said, "the doctor ordered ESWL for you. The scheduling service will call later."
It was just crossed wires. The office hadn't made a note that I had called them the first time, so I was still on the list of people to get hold of.
A few hours later, the scheduling service called. I could come in November 3 or November 22, which is the day before Thanksgiving. Now, last year I went in for gall bladder surgery during Thanksgiving week. I had to go through a rigor-morale of bureaucratic crap--doctors notes, forms, emailed statements--to "prove" to the school district that I really was going in for surgery and not just skiving off during a holiday weekend. The surgery also left me bed-ridden and wiped out Thanksgiving. Not again. Also, I just wanted to get it over with. So November 3 it was.
The scheduler rattled off a long list of instructions--the surgeon's office would call the night before with an exact time, nothing to eat the night before (even though I wasn't being put fully under--pff!), no blood-thinning medications the week before, and so on. Then she hung up.
I shook again for several minutes. I can't seem to help that, either.
One small plus, I suppose. A different doctor will perform the ESWL, and it's a man. This makes me feel a little better. I know it shouldn't bother me that the urologist who did all the other procedures was a woman, but it does. I'm going to see about changing to him permanently after all this is over. The other urologist was perfectly nice, but the wiring in my head can't get passed the fact that she's a woman pulling and hauling and doing painful things to intimate parts of me, and it ties my stomach into writhing knots. That's just the way it is.
Writing this blog ties my stomach into knots, too. I'm pushing through it as a way to confront it. Will it work? Dunno. I process my world in words, so that's what I'm doing.
I keep trying to climb the mountains so I can enjoy being on the peak, even if it's only temporary. The problem is, I sabotage myself. I get to a high, and then think, "But this is only temporary. You're going to hurt in a minute. Watch this!" And my mind sends me another hospital image.
Working on it. Working on it.