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Saturday, May. 03, 2003 | link
So as of Monday I'll have been out of the hospital for two whole weeks, and I still feel tired, tired, tired! Partly it's the hole in my side, which the surgeon said should be slowing me down for a full six weeks, but apparently I'm also super, duper anemic, like way more than usual. On Wednesday I went back to see my nurse practitioner, which was where this whole odyssey began three weeks ago, and she told me that she'd been reading the report from my operation, and word has it that when they opened me up, my main appendix artery, which frankly I never even knew existed, was bleeding out into my abdomen. And thus the anemia, maybe!
So for the next two weeks at least, I have to take these nasty iron pills three times a day, and they barf me out if I take them on an empty stomach, but they can't be taken with dairy or grains or coffee or tea, which is challenging since cereal, yogurt, and tea make up the bulk of what I'm eating these days. I know, fascinating.
When I'm not busy with the hectic and all-consuming iron pill/three-berry yoplait juggling, I'm going on little doctor-proscribed jaunts, mini constitutionals designed to keep my bowels on the move. Did you know that the act of removing an appendix stuns your surrounding guts into complete inactivity, which means the primary task of the appendectomy survivor is to reawaken her southern half, literally getting her rear in gear? In the hospital, they kept asking, did you pass gas, did you pass gas? It took me awhile before I realized that it wasn't an accusation, it was the nurses' one, true hope for me.
Anyway, these walks. This week I graduated from six blocks to nine, and those three extra blocks completely wipe me out. Plus the walks take forever and ever, what with all the hobbling and weaving. And of course I look totally nuts. My wound still feels pretty tender, like a constant stitch in my side, so I try not to stretch it too much, which means I hunch a little over to the right whenever I walk or ... pole vault. Meanwhile, lying in bed for three weeks has left me with a strange, achy vein on my left calf (not a blood clot, I made sure, you bet ... in addition to frozen bowels, blood clots in the legs and lungs are the secondary enemies of the appendectomee). The achy vein, which feels kind of like a badly pulled muscle, gives me a strange, rolling limp, with my left arm swinging wide and my right arm held tight to the body. And I'm moving slow, slow, slow. So basically I look like a pimp with scoliosis moving up a steep, steep hill. A windy steep hill.
To get myself motivated for these walks, I set myself up with some reward-based goals. Yesterday I went downtown for fishnet stockings. The day before I went to buy grapes. The day before that, I picked up my custom-made Maude O. squirrel top, which is the cutest thing on planet Evany. Wait, let me show you:
Here, take a closer look:
See how cute? Now the off-the-rack Maude O. birdy top I bought a few months back has a friend to keep it company!
And hey, how about those teeth!
That's the other thing I've been doing: bleaching my teeth! That was Liz Dunn's genius recovery gift (one of many of her genius recovery gifts, including chrome nail polish, a fake-hair scrunchy, and lots of beautiful flowers). Bleaching your teeth is the ideal post-op time killer: it chews up an hour twice a day, and there's noticeable improvement after each session, which gives me the irrationally satisfying feeling that at least I'm getting something accomplished during this detatched, aimless, and endless recovery time. Other than choking down iron pills and going on little limpy pimp errands.