Chapter 16 – Ka-BOOM

Chapter 16 – Ka-BOOM

May 18

Well, the big ka- boom of surgery is over, and some of the pieces are beginning to fall back into place, excluding those that went to the big waste basket in the sky. But I gotta admit … another time I might just prefer to die first.

It was not a pleasant two weeks in the hospital.

They might have called me Moana the first week after surgery, because that is just about all I did for hours on end. They did all but roll me out and down the drive in an effort to get me up and running, like the original jump start … You know a little momentum going downhill, turn the key, foot down, and pray it works … Like that.

They must have been tempted to tip me out of bed and upend me and roll me down the hall in an effort to get me moving.

I suppose they were nice about it, but I wouldn’t have had a clue. Every little breath was agony and they kept pestering me to walk.


I do not feel well!

Can you not see that I am a miserable blot of pain!


Leave me alone!

But they kept at it and nagged and chivvied me into working at it. By the second week the moaning stopped … Thank heavens, even I was getting tired of the sound I was making … So, embarrassing to find out I am a wimp. All those years of imagining myself a heroine, I turn out to be a ginormous pantywaist crybaby. But I gotta tell you even calling me names doesn’t make me feel guilty for the moaning. I earned it. Everything hurt!

The next phase involved a lot of guys in white coats admiring my new Indiana pouch, and the care and feeding thereof. Since this involved tubes and stents and catheters and bags and drainage … similar to what one might find under Grand Central Station … all deeply buried under dressings and bandages surrounded by purple blobs of surgical sutures, and is at best, an eyesore … one must seriously question their taste in entertainment. But I guess if you are into bladders, this is the custom elite rock star of bladders.

So, in and out they paraded until it became evident that when I die the bladder will need to have its own special burial ceremony with services and attendant mourners. I would venture to guess they would be primarily surgeons.

At the end of last week, I was, at last, able to fart and pass gas … their standard for release after this surgery … I mean it is all about the lower regions, after all. So, I was sent home with supplies and instructions and lots of cries of good luck!!!

Kinda makes you wonder … Good luck? … Why not good wishes? Did they know something I did not?Apparently not, because all is well and I am regaining much of my normal self every day.

Being home has helped, and I am finally able to go without medication for parts of the day and am free of the worst of the pain, but still have the odd suture that causes me to moan … Sort of like an old favorite memory.

The surgeon is pleased with my progress and I am to go back in a week to have some of the plumbing removed or altered or refitted, or something like that.

Food tastes really, really, good, although I am on a low fiber diet that is contrary to every healthy diet one is encouraged to follow. Sleep feels like a fine drug to keep near at hand. And someday soon, I may be able to sit up without help. So, life is spinning a bit more evenly, and when all the parts fall back down I trust they will fit together again.  Oh, there may be the odd blank part or missing connection as a result of the k-boom, but how nice will it be to say hi to Moana, the new me.

She’s a great gal, Moana, she has earned her stripes.


My time in the hospital was seriously difficult. Or perhaps it is more correct to say that I was difficult. Initially, I had a hard time overcoming the effects of the drugs and the anesthesia.

I did some really creative hallucinating … insisting to the nurse that she had the day wrong and I had been in the hospital 3 days not 1 … that I had been at a different hospital first and then was moved to wherever I was now … so obviously they had it all wrong! I dreamt they were making a movie about my life with all sorts of famous people I recognized but could not name … and when they wrapped up production for the day, everyone went home and left me there … a bedridden vegetable … selfish buggers!

Good old worry was waiting for me whenever I woke up. It made me extremely anxious and irritable, so that I found just about everything annoying … but especially the constant ringing of bells, the pinging of alarms and the never-ending yakking of the staff at the desk outside the door. I knew I should have brought those ear plugs!

I also felt progressively worse as the heavy-duty meds wore off. The pain from all the abdominal incisions meant that even breathing caused a certain amount of pain. Hence the constant moaning … almost like a low register hum that helped to relax my muscles and eased the worst of my tension.

In the end, though, enough time passed and I was able to walk around the block of hospital rooms on my floor. I began to eat well enough to get some decent nutrition, and I was, at last, able to fart and pass gas … which meant that my digestive system was working correctly. What a thrill … not! All of that took two weeks … A very, very, very, very, long two weeks … most of which I can’t recall. It is not as if I really did anything during all that time. I just lay there and let time heal my wounds.

However, I do have certain clear memories … mostly involving hospital personnel arriving, unannounced, to do something critical, or mundane.

There was the super tall guy who arrived to put a port into the artery by my collar bone so that drugs and fluids could be administered more easily.

There was the nursing aid who was sort of surly but very kind when helping me take a sponge bath.

There were the nightshift nurses who crept around so as not to wake the dead-to-the-world.

There was the ostomy nurse I had met before, who came to give me instructions on how to empty my drains and bags.

There was the nice little man who never said a word but came twice a day to empty all the bins filled with laundry, and cart them away.

There was the troupe of doctors who showed up every day to nod and poke and prod, and in general make murmuring noises about my progress, and to defer in the end to the quiet, serene chief who never … ever … removed his hands from his pockets in all the times he came to see me.

And there was the man with the floor polisher…who I never saw, but heard every day as he worked his way up and down the hallways.

In fact, I became aware that the entire hospital was a ginormous sort of organism … it lived and breathed and functioned with all sorts of interdependent systems that were never completely at rest. It had a heartbeat and snoozed and woke much as we all do. It had hidden boilers and air filters, electrical circuits and waste water conduits. It had kitchens and laundry facilities and machine shops. It supported a staff of thousands and gave solace to thousands more.

It was a fascinating place, this huge living creature, and I occupied my days and nights trying to conceive of how one might present it as an image. Because, of course I had no energy to draw or write, so instead observed and stored images for future reference. I still have not come up with the image … but who knows when it might come into focus.

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