Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back Set

Even as excited as I was about the freedom from life with a catheter, the pain of retraining my bladder was not going away. Within a minute or two of relief, pressure would begin to build again and in twenty, I would be breathing deeply, nearly moaning with the effort to pee again. Release required a large muscular push and only dribbled, nearly as much in tears as productive and necessary waste.

Being more pressure than pain and so determined to be fully healed, I did not want to identify the problem, but kept convincing myself stoically it would recede even as it grew to dominate every thought and movement. Heading into a second night without sleep, it seemed appropriate finally to check in with the VNA.

When the nurse on call heard I could feel it in my back, apparently a sign of kidney involvement, she urged me to go to the hospital, a long fearful drive in the middle of the night when we can imagine anything is possible. Avoiding calling anyone to sit with me there, I tried to ignore the pinkicity of the elephant telling me the one-chance surgery had failed.

It was even worse on the way home after a catheter had been re-inserted directly into the healing and compromised urethra instead of back into the belly which would have required anesthesia. The doctor in Boston regretted not having me suffer the longer drive down there. Despite their assurances that it was likely swollen tissue that just needed to settle, the amount of excitement I had felt on Friday to feel healed was a fall of twice the distance to think I would have this catheter the rest of my life.

People adapt, they really do. I know this, am proof, in fact, and even living so long with one, sometimes two, I could be grateful for life and sympathetic that so many others are in circumstances far worse than mine. In the overall scheme of things, my life is forever blessed no matter what happens now.

Sobs wracked my body, however, in those moments draped over the steering wheel pulled to the side of the road in the early dawn bird-chirping light because I was so tired, so afraid, lonely and sad, just wanting to be held and comforted and so very tired of feeling weak for even feeling that need.

The world seemed cruel that would give me one sweet day to feel whole again, entice me to celebrate a dance with the most wonderful woman, then yank it all away with a tube jammed into my penis tied to a plastic bag strapped to my leg. The pain of this loss was far worse than what I had suffered in the previous days.

This punishment was not for lack of gratitude: I believed my prayers had been answered and was in blissful appreciation of God, the Universe and all of you who had kept vigil on my behalf. I was determined to live the truth of my heart and honor the gifts of love surrounding me, fulfilling every breath of my healed body. I am committed to writing from the depth of my soul and singing songs of joy, proclaiming life is so very worth the living. Just as the Universe seemed to be delivering such abundance, it astounded me to bear the weight of this pain.

“Why then, oh why?” I cried.

Fortunately, the sun does rise again, the dawn’s early light transformed into broad day and the flag of my faith was thankfully still there. In a stupor of the drugs wearing off, I slept nearly thirty hours with short breaks surfacing to care for the animals where I am staying and quick communications with family.

Perspective is gained. All the gauze, tubes and Velcro so recently discarded with ceremony and celebration are back on my table. The need to adjust every movement to reduce the pinch and tug requires careful attention. I have done this; I can again.

The current evaluation remains that tissue is unusually swollen, perhaps because I mistakenly delayed the first dose of antibiotic or sat too long in the car. Likely feeling so free and miraculously healed, I simply jumped up too fast and walked too far since the first day after the surgery. Held so tightly within myself for so long, it is understandable, to me, that I would leap so lustfully ahead. It is my nature.

When they remove the catheter again next week, I promise to concentrate with diligence on moving more cautiously.

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