In this post, “Suzanne” describes the days leading up to revision surgery. Suzanne received a metal-on-metal artificial hip in 2006. The hip was recalled in 2010, and Suzanne was forced to undergo revision surgery in 2011.
I woke up before the sun feeling wide awake, but not ready to face the day, I forced myself to fall back asleep re-entering the world of dreams and mystery. My dreams have been fraught with intrigue, dysfunction, insanity and all kinds of craziness and no wonder! My life is a bit crazy these days. As crazy as my dreams can be, they are never too crazy for me to say. “Hey, wake up, this has gone too far!” I relish in the scenarios, the unconscious connections between everything that is happening in my life being played out in random dream dramas. It’s better than soaps.
I had planned to travel today to settle in and enjoy some time before checking in to the hospital before my surgery on Thursday, but after sleeping until 11:00 am and working on things on the home front, we decided to head out tomorrow and instead spent the afternoon working out, John running on the treadmill and me swimming a mile in the pool of our local YMCA. Swimming for me is an old friend. My father introduced me to the water at a very young age–it was in fact in a pool. Being landlocked in rural Wisconsin, my father, an avid swimmer himself, took his children–at that time five girls–to any public pool in the winter months that he could find. Summer in Wisconsin, of course, afforded days of fresh water swimming in a multitude of lakes and that is where we could be found, coolers full of drinks and sandwiches camped out for the day. I was a competitive swimmer in high school, but not very dedicated. I think I was voted the least likely to succeed in the sport or something along those lines, but the swimming, the style of it, the finesse of breathing and reaching out for the stroke, always stayed with me. To this day I have great form and probably good potential as a distance swimmer. Today, I was happy knocking out a mile, but I am also integrating swimming as something important to my future physical well being and it feels good to conquer!
The rest of the evening was spent finding the best oysters in town, and why not? I am facing at least five days of no eating and no drinking so John and I set out to eat as many steamed local crab slough oysters as we could, all washed down with healthy amounts of beer and wine. All I can say is I hope those post surgery days of not eating balances out my present over-indulgences! It’s hard to resist eastern North Carolina oysters in season.
Yesterday I noticed small raised bumps on my ankles and I am thinking it must be fleas, so I spent my last minutes at home before checking in to surgery cleaning blankets, vacuuming carpets and this morning before leaving for the hospital, kidnapping my unsuspecting cat, zipping her quickly into a small cat carrier and dropping her off at the vet. Two things happened. The vet called–no fleas–and the bumps on my body are slowly but surely taking over. I have hives. It is amazing the utter lack of control one can have over ones body when it comes to stress. I am a person who usually can maintain a semblance of calm and fortitude even during the worst of times, but for some reason this time, my body has its own plan. It started having anxiety attacks a few weeks ago, commanding my attention just enough to procure a prescription for Xanax, my very first, and after becoming completely catatonic after taking just one, it is my last.
I wanted so bad to blame this current outbreak on fleas, spiders or even bed bugs. The thought of having a rogue body acting on its own accord frightens me. Anxiety ruled my day today. My husband encouraged me to breathe through my stress and to try to avoid taking any drugs. I complied, wanting to have a last night of fun, connection and clarity. So we roamed around town eating and drinking in some amazing local establishments, eating local food, talking to local folk, counting down the hours to when we had to surrender to the “system.”
The time is now. It is after midnight and I can no longer eat, drink or even swallow water when I brush my teeth. Tomorrow at 10:00 am I will have revision surgery, where a recalled hip device will be removed from my body and in its place, hopefully, a safe, functional replacement will be implanted. As for now, John is dozing beside me, I am itching like crazy and almost ready to have this all behind me no matter what it entails. The support and love I feel from all of my friends and family is palpable and I am grateful. And ready.
Disclaimer: This narrative is not intended to represent any specific person or specific product. Names and details have been changed.