I talk a lot about my adventure and journey here on Tie Dye Travels, frankly because it’s the sort of thing I like to share. I want to be able to share with you these neat places I’ve been, the things I’ve experienced and the cuisine I’ve consumed.
What I don’t talk about a lot are the personal things… the sort of thing I just don’t feel comfortable talking about with strangers. But I am stymied and I figure I need to write this out so I can move on to my next piece of work.
I’m scared of surgery. I’ve undergone small dental operations and those are just fine. Three times I’ve had surgery that required anesthesia… the removal of my impacted wisdom teeth, my gall bladder and a colonoscopy. And then there was my C-section a couple of years ago… something I was utterly unprepared for mentally and which took some time to come to grips with. Surgery is not something I head into electively.
This past Monday I was informed I needed exploratory surgery to find and repair a hernia. I was surprised that I was slated in for three days later… in fact, I will go in tomorrow morning and have this procedure done. I will be admitted, prepped, put under and cut upon laproscopically. If it’s something small I’ll have a suture or two. If it’s big, there will be a bit of screen inserted, requiring a bit more cutting. There’s no way to know until my doctor gets in there and checks it out.
Hernia operations are pretty routine -- my husband underwent one in 2001 for an umbilical hernia and came out of it all right. But I’m still nervous about it.
For one, I don’t like being “put under.” The whole loss-of-control thing is a big portion of this sensation. Anything could happen while I am unconscious and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not that I don’t trust my doctors… it’s my inability to participate in the waking world that is an issue. At least when I enter normal sleep I can be easily wakened.
For two, it’s incapacitation. I’m a working girl. I get up every morning, write what I need to get written for the day and then work on other projects. That usually requires initiative to get up and get ready, sometimes getting my daughter ready as well, going out in the world and doing my research -- whether eating a meal, touring a location or conducting an interview -- and returning home to put it all together in a coherent manner.
I thought I was going to be in decent enough shape today, the day before my surgery, to cover the Diamond Chef competition Pulaski Technical College is hosting over at the Peabody… a combination of bad reaction to surgery prep, pain from my gut and likely nerves put an end to that ambition. I hate that, because Diamond Chef is one of my favorite events of the year.
Instead, it will be a few days minimum before I get back out into the world. I’m hoping everything goes smoothly so I can come home tomorrow afternoon and recuperate; after all, I have that Henry Awards banquet Tuesday night I am really looking forward to (though I realize how slim my chances are of actually receiving this year’s Media Support Award, being named a finalist is just this huge honor and I feel compelled to be there). I have stories I want to pursue and appearances to make on TV and radio.
And I fear that not keeping up with the relentless schedule of writing, researching and pitching stories to publications will slow and even stop my momentum. I’ve risked a whole lot going into this career, and it all depends on me -- my discipline, my dedication and my ability to continue and persevere through any setback. For me there is no vacation plan, no sick days package. If I am down there is no income on my part. And I fear losing my place in the media shuffle.
Will that keep me from having this surgery my doctor deems necessary? No. As much as I fear surgery and dislike the idea of being put under, I will do what needs to be done. And hopefully on the other side of things I will be better for it, better able to push on and get my work done, provide for my family and forward myself in my career. I believe anyone who’s made the step into freelancing has these sort of thoughts on the matter.
UPDATE: Well, it wasn't a hernia -- that's the good news. The crack staff at Baptist managed to get me through the surgical process and my doctor seems to have done a fine job of removing scar tissue from my C-section. It's a situation called abdominal adhesion, where scar tissue spider-webs around the abdominal cavity. Today I am sore but resting and back to writing again. The good news is I should have a quicker recovery time.
Thank you for your wellwishes and for assuaging my fears. I'll be back on the road soon.