Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition
Every athlete I know has an obsession with avoiding injury that sometimes borders on paranoia. An injury means taking a break from their passion. And for people who live for their athletic pursuits, it feels more like taking a break from life.
As I become more and more involved in Yoga and fitness, I’ve noticed myself developing this preoccupation. Making mental notes of any pain, calculating how far I can go before I put myself at risk for that oh so dreaded interruption in my life.
But of course, nothing happens like you expect it to. Thursday night I was preparing for my yoga class, sinking into downward dog when a sharp pain on my right side sent me tumbling to the floor, grabbing my stomach. I inched towards the mirrored wall and leaned against it, my butt on the floor, my knees to my chest, still holding my stomach.
I sat there for a few minutes not sure what to do, when my students started coming in. I explained I wasn’t feeling well, and one student gave me some advil. Obviously, class was cancelled. I kept trying to call my husband but couldn’t get a hold of him. Finally, I called my doctor.
Following his instructions I got into a cab and headed to a private clinic. I was examined, admitted for the night, and woke up at nine the next morning to hear that I was having surgery at eleven. For a country where everything takes FOREVER to get done, this was moving incredibly quickly. Before I knew it I was wheeled to surgery, and lights out.
I’m being sketchy about what was wrong with me, but I don’t really want to write in depth about my ovaries, and I don’t think anyone wants to read about it. Although it turned out to my doctor’s surprise that my appendix was also messed up, so there you go, two for one surgery.
Anyway, the anesthesia hit me hard and I couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than a moment that afternoon and evening. I knew my husband was next to me, and that was all I needed. I wasn’t in much pain, I just wanted to sleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night feeling wet, not sure if I was dreaming, I looked around to find I was covered in blood, and so was the bed. I checked my bandages but they were dry. It was that little spricket in my arm, used to connect to an IV. It had become loose. I called for the nurse. She came in looking a bit annoyed, and asked what was the matter. All I could do was drowsily point to the sheets and say “sangue”. She rushed out and came back with three other nurses, one of them male, a big scruffy guy. They lifted me gently out of the bed and into a chair. Two nurses stripped the bed while the other stripped me. The male nurse held my naked body up by my armpits the way you would a small child while she cleaned the blood of me with a wet sponge. Quickly I was changed into a new gown and tucked back into a newly made bed. I fell asleep right away, like nothing had happened.
I was less drowsy the next day, although everything was still looking blurry. My husband and son came to pick me up and I tried to look as normal as possible so as not to scare Owen. He wanted to jump on me and hug me, and couldn’t understand why we were asking him to be gentle. I had gone to the hospital, where as he always put it, “doctors fix you”, so why wasn’t I better yet?
I took off the bandages today and let Owen see, hoping this would help him to understand why he couldn’t be rough with mommy. He looked at the wounds and stitches with his nose wrinkled up, and said “oh, those are bad booboos”. He said this very seriously, like he was talking about bullies on the playground.
I’ve been feeling pretty down since I came home yesterday morning. I’ve been sitting in bed, reading, napping, watching T.V., and having my husband fetch everything for me like I’m on death’s door….including my favorite gelato. I told him he’d make an excellent nurse at a retirement home. That all sounds pretty awesome, but it’s been depressing. I’m looking at one to two weeks of recovery time before I can get back to yoga and the gym. It sounds like a prison sentence to me.
I could barely walk yesterday and this morning, but by this afternoon I realized I was walking pretty well. When my husband was at the supermarket I snuck out with our dog. I walked the two blocks to our favorite bar on the corner, got a cappuccino, and walked back home. I came back feeling invigorated. Granted I was caffeinated, but I felt more in control somehow. There’s a difference between being in recovery and actively recovering. Or so I’ve decided.
Tomorrow I’m going to get out of these sweats, go through my normal morning routine of straightening my hair, putting on a touch of makeup and perfume before tearing my closet apart to find something to wear, and go for a (relatively) long walk. It’s going to feel so good to feel more like myself.
I’ll let you know how it goes.