Scarred for Life
It happened over a decade ago, yet the memory is still very vivid. It is a big part of my life and something I can never truly get over. It is a painful memory, and the reminder is forever there. It is a scar on my life; it effects me mentally, physically and emotionally.
When I was only 20, I got the worst news ever. The doctor I had been seeing finally looked at me and said, “I think we need to do exploratory surgery.” In ways that I didn’t understand when I was younger, I realized this is also a way to say, “I really don’t know what is wrong with you. So to satisfy your need to know, we will do surgery!”
At the time I was young and away from home. I didn’t have my family nearby to help give me sound advice, or even be the hand to hold me up. I had left them behind when I joined the military. Sure, they were only a phone call away, but they couldn’t see what was happening to me.
It started off suddenly. I would get sharp pains through my abdomen. This usually happened when I was in the middle of a long run. Not exactly convenient when the end was no where in sight and you were falling behind the crowd. The pain was intense; I would double over and hit the ground. When I was done, my stomach would swell, making me look as if I was 9 months pregnant.
The doctor’s did what they could. They gave me medicines; they tried different tests; they even shoved a needle in me filled with a medicine to stimulate menopause. (Yes - I was only 20) When nothing worked, surgery seemed like a good option.
Now, I have always hated going to doctor’s and I don’t do well with blood. Therefore, the idea of surgery scared the living daylights out of me. Yet, they told me it was a minor surgery. In fact, the scar would be no bigger than a dot made by a pen mark. I was still nervous. Luckily, having exploratory surgery is relatively common. Others who have gone through it also told me not to worry. They even showed off their little scar (which I couldn’t see!) This still didn’t make me feel any better, but because I am curious, I felt the surgery was my only option to find out what was going on with my body, who had been rebelling against me for some time.
I remember it clearly. My parents had just gotten into town from a 16 hour drive. They were there to make sure I was okay. They were there to sit in the hospital waiting room and wait until I came out. It was cold outside, which was not surprising since it was early January in Upstate New York. The skies were overcast and gray, which was just about perfect for a day you were going to have surgery.
I was all comfy and wrapped in the hospital blanket. My stomach was doing butterflies. You would have to expect that from a person who had never had gone 20 years and never had surgery before. The doctor asked me a few questions and it was time to go. My family wished me luck, gave me a quick hug and I was off.
Once I had taken the pills, the world got a little fuzzy. The hallway became a white blur and it seemed like I was encased in the fluorescent light fixtures. I remember them saying something about relaxing and then giving me a mask before my eyes rolled to the back of my head.
The funny thing about being put under is what actually takes several hours, has a tendency to feel like only few seconds. In fact, it felt like more like a blink of an eye. I remembered everything from beforehand. I remembered I was going in for surgery, I was told I would wake up sore.
When my eyes finally fluttered awake, I was in the recovery room. I went to jump up and see where I was, yet as my stomach muscles contracted, I felt a surge of pain. The pain was unbearable. My muscles seemed too weak to help me sit up and I feel backward.
My eyes were still fuzzy and my mind was a fog. When the doctor approached me, the words she said came out like an echo. When everything cleared a few moments later, I was finally able to comprehend what she was saying.
“I’m sorry. I am so sorry. There were complications.”
So, here I was. A 20 year old heading into surgery. It was a minor surgery and I should be out that afternoon… at least that was what I was told. At 20 years old, I had the doctor apologizing to me. I didn’t understand. I could feel the pain, but I was too wrapped up in blankets to see anything.
When I finally found out what had happened, I burst into tears. The doctor had still not figured out what was wrong with me. In fact, the surgery was a complete waste. Instead of doing what was intended, I started to bleed uncontrollably, which forced them to slice me open. They spent the entire surgery cleaning up there mess, and not even finding out what was wrong with me.
What should have only been a wasted day in the hospital and a couple days off work, put me in the hospital for 5 days and kept me out of work for 6 months. It sure wasn’t what I bargained for, and I have the scar to prove it.
This hub is the start of a series. If you would like to continue to the second part, click here to read Scarred for Life - Part 2.
Scarred for Life - Part 2
- Scarred for Life - Part 2
Emotional scars are sometimes worse than the physical scars that accompany them. Click here to return to Scarred for Life - Part 1 There is nothing that can be said that will take a scar away. There are no...