Tiwsday: I left at eleven and took the 99 bus to UBC Hospital and arrived at noon, forty-five minutes early. It was agreed that riding my bicycle there would not have been a good idea. I was nervous, but not a wreck. It was normal nervousness that one experiences prior to such a procedure. I abated it by flirting with the very charming admitting clerk who checked me in and secured my valuables.
Truth to tell, I was more anxious about how I was going to pay next month's rent and meet other expenses as it was necessary to take at least a week off to recover. Ever since I was laid off last last year, I have been relying on temp work at various warehouses and casual labour with my former employer as well as financial assistance from my family. In short, my finances were already precarious. Given my concerns, it was arranged for me to speak to a social worker at the hospital.
The talk I had with the social worker was tense but it brought to me some clarity to my situation. He recognised that I was somewhere between a rock and a hard place and he had the good manners not to ridicule my fear. We came to the conclusion turning to Social Services was not really an option for me as I could not bear the loss of privacy and I have a deep seated and rather nasty phobia around bureaucracy. Also I somewhat got the impression that I would be disqualified from social assistance as I am not a drug addict or an alcoholic and my mental health issues are not conspicuous but too is another story. End of tangent.
The meeting with the social worker delayed my surgery a bit and I sensed that the nurse assigned to prepare me (i.e. installing the I.V. etc.) was getting impatient. I was having difficulty removing my nipple rings as per required prior to the surgery. After a while, a nurse settled on putting tape on my nipples (surgical pasties?). At least I didn't have to worry about putting them back in again.
I had some anxiety about the anaesthetic as my experience has been when they were administered by my dentist, I felt off-kilter for a week. To my relief the anaesthetist told me that a local anaesthetic would used. I was informed that the recovery time would be relatively quick due to my being in pretty good physical shape (despite being about a stone overweight).
The surgery itself went without incident and took about twenty-five minutes. As I was resting in the recovery room, I met someone with whom I worked at Vancouver General Hospital some years ago. We didn't know each other that well but was nice to a familiar face. When I was deemed fit to leave, a nurse phoned my "responsible adult" friend as arranged to come and get me and drive me home. He too was co-worker at VGH. As we left, I thanked some of the stuff for the kindness and courtesy they had shown me.
Odhinsday: The next morning, the anaesthetic had worn off and I was a bit sore as expected. The transitions of getting out bed to standing up, sitting down and otherwise changing positions were somewhat painful but not excruciating. This forced me to take things easy and exercise good posture. It also gave me an opportunity to practice mindfulness. As it turned out, I did not need the Tylonol 3s after all.
I decided not to worry about how i was going to pay next months' rent as it was something I couldn't do anything about at the time. One thing I could do was to take a walk to keep myself from going stir crazy.
Thorsday and Freyasday: The pain in that area was gradually becoming less but my instincts told me not to push my luck. Beyond recreational pain, I believe pain has a purpose. I was using that pain to guide me as to how far to exert myself. I very much wanted this hernia to heal properly.
It was quite a novelty for me not keep having to push my hernia back in. I looked in the mirror to inspect the surgeon's handiwork. It was also nice that I have a symmetrical belly button. I saw some swelling but Inferred that to be my body's way of healing itself after the surgery. I have always had faith in my body's recuperative powers.
Satursday: I got on my bicycle and rode around the block. There was no ill effect so I rode my bike farther and then I started to feel human again.
A Week Later: I am now healing quite nicely. There were some moments when I wondered if it worth having the surgery at this time was worth it, given my currant finances. In the end, I'm glad I did as having this repaired does make me feel more whole.