I don’t talk religion or politics- EVER. If you are familiar with my blog, then you already know this. If not, now you know. I keep my opinions to myself and don’t engage in any kind of debate on these two topics. I did find this piece to be very interesting and I liked the calm, matter of fact presentation. It gave me a good feel.
Trigger warning – medical procedures
Yesterday I went for my two week check up.
All looked good except for some swelling and inflammation in the groin area. Luckily upon closer examination the doctor noticed that the Doppler wire had not been pulled. I thought it was just the end of a stitch coming out of the incision.
He proceeded to pull it and the first inch or so was fine. Then he had to tug a bit harder and I felt a twinge. Not pleasant but it all finally came out – maybe six inches or so.
Maybe it’s my imagination but I think some of the swelling is down today but I’m still a bit red. No fever so he didn’t restart any antibiotics.
I stopped taking the bladder spasm meds last night to move on to getting my bladder ready for the suprapubic catheter removal. I left the bag on overnight while the meds worked out of my system. I worried I might get spasms over night but luckily did not.
This morning I disconnected the bag and plugged the catheter as instructed. I then drank a big glass of water and waited for the blessed event.
What a strange sensation. The stream was tiny but strong and no pain or burning. After I am done I then have to unplug the catheter to release any residual from the bladder. This is an indicator of how much bladder tone I need to develop. Once this residual gets low enough the catheter can come out. I guesstimated I am at 40% residual. Not bad for the first go.
I go back to the doctor in six days and my goal is to get that residual down low enough to get the catheter out.
Let the water works begin!
Trigger warning – dysphoria and surgery
So now I face Winter. This is the dead space. I don’t know if the surgery will result in anything I can feel. It will take months until I know whether the nerves will awaken. I told myself that wouldn’t matter so long as I feel whole and safe in my own skin. But now, faced with the reality of an insensate piece of flesh brought into being at the cost of pain and permanent disfigurement of my arm and lengthy rehabilitation for my hand, I waiver in my resolve. I could not stay as I was. But will I make it through this Winter of uncertainty? Will I finally be able to take all the energy I’m using to transition to actually live instead of fighting to live? Will there be any energy left?
Slept for more than 10 hours – I haven’t done that in months. I managed to roust myself up to eat some cereal then fell back asleep for a few more hours. I am trying to catch up on reading but comprehension is minimal. Anesthesia fog and looming depression. I see the surgeon on Wednesday and will hope a good report lifts my spirits.
The dressing change was a bit difficult today. I’m worried about how it looks but there’s no smell and that seems to be the key parameter. I took the last round of antibiotics tonight. Now fingers are crossed for no fever or infection.
I spent most of the day on my own yesterday. I had a bit a swelling and spent lots of time laying in the bed reading. It is better today.
The wound dressing change on the arm still made me a bit anxious. I was able to watch enough that I now know I will not be able to do this alone one handed even if I could handle it psychologically. It takes a lot of coordination to get the xeroform on just right. There’s no way I can do it one handed.
I also can’t tear fabric tape one handed or use scissors to cut gauze squares to place around the catheter stoma. My friend is going to leave a bunch of precut ones before leaving today. But will I really be able to switch between the leg bag and overnight bag one handed? Guess I’ll find out.
So for now the two things tethering me down and forcing my dependency on other folks are the catheter and the arm. I really don’t like feeling burdensome to others. I can’t wait until I alone am bearing the responsibility for my aftercare. I hope it helps lift a bit of this fog of what may partially be post anesthesia depression.
I’m told by others that you start feeling a bit more sorted day 14. Then, baring any complications it’s countdown week to catheter removal. The anti bladder spasm med has been very effective so far. No constant feeling of pressure like the last time.
All the antibiotics wipe me out but are a necessary evil. The only complaint is I’m starting to dribble a bit but I’m told this is normal as long as the catheter is still working.
I feel like I’m in a strange space of radio silence waiting to see if things spring back to life. I’m like the astronaut I. The capsule re-entering the atmosphere. Alone. Turbulent. Vulnerable. I’m either going to disintegrate or splashdown successfully. It’s nerve wracking and makes it hard to concentrate on much of anything else.
I miss feeling untethered. Tubes, bags, splints and wound dressing changes. But so far I’ve been very fortunate. Buddy is warm and pink and all the incisions look great.
Trigger warning – wounds, dysphoria
After the change of the arm dressing yesterday I felt completely emotionally drained. Luckily a friend went in with me and kept talking me through it. It wasn’t painful physically but just looking at the site – it seemed I could see to the bone – flooded me with all kinds of emotions I had never processed before. I cried. I have barely cried since starting T. I hyperventilated. I broke into a cold sweat. I almost tossed my cookies.
Seeing myself torn open like that reminded me I am animal – trapped in a physical body I have battled for over a half century. Will I ever really be able to love it – with all the battle scars reminding me of the ordeal it has been to get to this bloody swollen mess? If I happen to get through the next few weeks with few complications will I finally find some peace?
Each surgery prior I did – a little less vigilance needed in public, feeling a little more comfortable in bathrooms, etc. How much dysphoria will be left? Will I be able to stay present and not disconnect as a way to manage pain?