Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Different Body

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.

6 comments:

PastaQueen said...

Oh man, that sucks! My aunt had to have the emergency surgery when her gallbladder burst. I was lucky enough to be diagnosed before it became critical, have it done laparoscopically and was able to leave the hospital the same afternoon.

But I think I was just 'lucky' that I had a bad attack and the doctors finally diagnosed it, though I'd had attacks for 5 years and no one had figured it out. I easily could have been in your situation. I hope you feel better soon!

Heh, I sometimes wonder how much my gall bladder weighed too :)

Laura Bora from Bufadora said...

I never appreciated my body more then when I pulled the connective tissue in my lower back and couldn't sit, stand, or walk without being in excruciating pain.

All those things my amazing body did without complaint and that I didnt appreciate all came to me when I was pushing myself to the bathroom while lying face down on a stool with wheels.

I am glad you are ok!!

The Fat Girl said...

PastaQueen: Mine was laparoscopic surgery too, but when they got in there, it turned out to be much worse than they'd thought. They didn't have to open, but instead of a quick snip-and-removal process lasting like an hour, it turned into a painstaking extract-without-puncturing-liver-please kind of deal that lasted three and a half. Vicodin has been helping me through the healing process.

Peggy Nature said...

Funny...my mom's gallbladder complaint was also misdiagnosed as some gastric reflux deal. Hrm.

Anonymous said...

don't lift anything over 10 lbs. and in 3 months you won't know or remember the pain.

Susan said...

Hope you are feeling better. I had mine removed about19 years ago- the old timey way- YUK! Two of my children had to have their's removed- one at age 17 and the other at 24- they both had non-functioning gallbladders. They suffered a long time before they found their problems- this does not show up on scans.