I have been rolling this post around in my head for quite some time. I know you all have seen all the nice holiday gift ideas on my gift guide.I have had fun doing the gift guide, but what I haven’t been doing is writing anything personal in the last month or so. I need to fess up, and let you all know that things are not alright on the home front.
It has been a little more than six months since my surgery, where I was hacked up by the doctors and given a colostomy to save my life. And yes, I do feel on some days that I should be happy that I am still alive, but the truth is that on MOST days, I am mad. Depressed. Lost.
There are many things at work here that make me mad. Yes, just plain mad. Mad that the surgeon who operated on me left as soon as my surgery was done, to go to Haiti with Doctors Without Borders to operate on Haitian children. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge the children getting their health taken care of. But, because I couldn’t pay my bill, this same doctor’s front office people wouldn’t make an appointment for my 3 month follow up visit. So, to heck with an old lady in the good old USA. And they say we have the best healthcare system in the world. Yeah. IF you have insurance or can pay a bill that is $27,900.
The same thing happened with the gastroenterologist who consulted with the surgeon. They called ME to schedule a follow up visit, but when I told them I couldn’t pay their bill, which was less than the surgeon’s bill, they also refused to schedule a visit. So, here I sit, 6 months out of surgery, still in pain every day, but have no idea if I SHOULD still be in pain or not, because neither one of the fabulous doctors who saved my life cared about anything more than their bill. Oh, and those Haitian children. I wonder if they are going back down to Haiti to do follow up on them?
I’m mad that the first hospital I went to, you know, the one that sent me home and said there was nothing they could do for me? They sent me a bill for $93 for telling me they couldn’t do anything for me before sending me home to die. Then they sent it to a collection agent. And when HE called me I told him the same thing I told the hospital when they called me to collect: I’m NOT paying that bill. I know it is ONLY $93, but they sent me home to die. I am not going to pay anyone who would send me home to die. The collection agent said “Well, it will sit on your credit report forever.” And I told him I didn’t care. Because I have about $400,000 or so in medical bills that I can’t pay, so $93 isn’t going to matter. It’s just the principal of the thing, you know. They wouldn’t help me. But they want to be paid. Hhahahahahaha!
I’m depressed because I can’t do things a normal 60 year old woman should be able to do. I can’t put my freaking socks on by myself. I need help getting in the shower. I can’t get pots and pans out of the bottom cabinets, and I can’t get things out of the top shelves either.
I can’t sweep, mop, or vacuum. I also can’t dig, rake, or plant bulbs or asparagus roots outdoors. It is painful to sit at my sewing machine and sew. And you KNOW how I love to sew. I can’t get in and out of the truck by myself. I can’t go anywhere by myself, because of that. I can’t lift anything over five pounds, so when my new grandson arrives in January, I’m hoping he is not very big. Maybe I can hold him for a little while, but as he grows I won’t be able to pick him up.And because I can’t sit and sew, he won’t be getting a quilt from his granny. That bothers me a lot.
Because I can’t lift anything over 5 pounds, I couldn’t help with moving our stuff out of the RV into the house. I can’t paint the walls. I can’t shake the rugs out. As a matter of fact, my husband does everything around here. Everything. I DO still cook, but he has to get the pots and pans out, and get stuff out of the cabinets for me. He’d probably do the cooking, too, if I would let him, but I NEED something to do. Something that makes me feel normal.
While I SHOULD be happy to be alive, happy that the doctors out in Arizona saved my life, I feel like they played a huge part in me almost dying, too. I have no idea why they waited 13 days to do anything. They knew when I checked in at the emergency room that I had an intestinal blockage.
So, why the wait. You’d think that with five or six doctor’s looking up my butt, and doing enemas three times a day with nothing passing, that they would just all agree that nothing was moving out of there, and just gone ahead and done the surgery. But no. They waited 13 days, until I was throwing up feces, to operate on me.
So, by the time they did the surgery, my abdomen had been distended for three weeks, and I am sure the intestinal tissue had also stretched. So, two days later, the repair to my intestine ruptured. I developed peritonitis, and they had to reopen my incision. And by incision, I’m talking about a cut that was 12 inches long, from right below my breastbone to my hoo-ha. And the stitches to close it up were four inches wide. When they opened me up the second time, they left me open for four or five days. Why? Because they had to “clean out infection.” I don’t really know the answer because I was unconscious for most of that time.
It was also during this time that the doctor removed the fascia layer in my abdomen. The way he explained this to my husband is this: The doctor said to him “tighten your stomach muscles.” He did. The doctor said “She doesn’t have that anymore.” So, I have no “core strength”, and that is quite painful. Every day.
I went to the doctor here in town the first week after we got home. I spent most of the time in her office crying. Fabgrandpa told her I was crying a lot, which I didn’t even realize at that point, but yes, when I thought about it, I was crying a lot. Every day a lot. She prescribed an antidepressant and some pain meds. She said she had no idea why a doctor would leave me in such a condition and not prescribe pain medication. The anti-depressant is helping, but I think I need a stronger dose. Which brings me to where I am now.
Last week, I went over to the county mental health office for an evaluation. They agreed that I am depressed, and signed me up for some appointments with the doctor and the therapist there. I think it is a step in the right direction. I also need to find a gastroenterologist in the area, so I can just go in and get looked over, and make sure things are ok. I think I would feel a lot better about things if I knew for sure that I am healing as expected after the surgery that I had.
And so, there you have it. The reason I haven’t written anything personal. Because I feel like no one would be interested in just another old lady talking about the things wrong with her. Because I don’t feel like my life is interesting anymore. Because I can’t do the things I want to do, and have nothing much to write. I don’t go anywhere, except to the grocery store, with an occasional stop at a thrift store if I am not worn out. Tell me you love me and that I am pretty. I need to hear it.