Over the past two weeks, something truly unpleasant happened to me. I got sick, in the mode of what my doctor (see: "blame it on the fat") thought was acid reflux. I did all the things that I was supposed to, all the things that have worked in the past. Nothing. Called my doctor, doubled the dose of medication. Nothing. Finally, I went to the emergency room, where I was summarily informed that I needed my gallbladder removed, right away. I had emergency surgery in what turned out to be the nick of time. Because the situation was actually rather dire, the recovery process is a little grueling. I've had a drainage tube embedded in my abdomen, which is sliced open in three places. I've been on Vicodin for a week. My stamina is nil, and pain persists.
It has made me think of my body in a different way. I mean, it's brought up some body image stuff in general (the feeling of being gross and not intact is a familiar one), but also: fat or not, I am pretty happy in my body as a matter of general principle. It is sturdy and serviceable and healthy. It doesn't hurt when I sit in weird positions. I can walk long distances at good speeds with my hips swinging, looking confident in a way that makes me feel confident. I can't do that right now. I walk slowly and shufflingly, hunched, like an old person. Can barely stand up straight. It's hard to think of myself the same way when this is the way I walk. Normally, my body is tough and resilient and ebullient, I can wiggle and dance and bounce. I am agile. I am durable.
Not so of late. And it makes me realize the things I normally take for granted. All the things my funny imperfect wrong body, over which I do a lot of hand-wringing, can do for me, and does do for me, without complaint and without recompense. I am not glad to be sick and weak and in pain, but I am glad to have the little refocusing of attention.
On the other hand: Today in the doctor's office, before he came in to remove the drainage tube from me (a procedure that has the following steps: cut cord anchoring tube through holes in skin; pull hard to remove eight inches of coiled plastic from abdomen) I (for a change!) could not resist the attendant scale. I shucked off my heavy shoes and weighed myself (at the end of the day! in clothes!) and discovered I'd lost about ten pounds. I wonder how much an inflamed gallbladder weighs.