A Gothic Tale from the Year 2000 AD. Intended for perspective Students seeking to Learn the Secrets and Hidden Mysteries of the potter’s Craft.
First, the moral:
There are no pottery heroes, only herniated potters. Every 50 lb. bag of feldspar is a post-operation stomach staple.
Check in, change into robes, lay on a Gurney. Wake to a world of shit. Leave the hospital (if you are insane), or get a room (if you have any sanity left).
Pain comes. Feel dizzy from the anesthesia. Take the offered shot whether you need it or not. You need it. You’re offered Jell-O (but you could vomit, bad idea). Nurses force you to walk. This hurts.
Peeing (reaching for the urinal) is painful. You can’t push anything out. It dribbles out on it’s own. Eating means clearing the throat. It hurts. Intestines begin settling back into place. This bizarre feeling lasts a week or so. Nurses force you walk. It feels like white hot, barbed, razor sharp knives jabbing the groin. Go home (with the urinal). Get into a car without stabbing pain? Is there a ramp at home? Are several mattresses piled up (not so far down to travel)? Laying down causes back, neck, and knee pain. Get the 4 hour pain medicine. Fudge the timing of doses.
The day starts painful. Getting up and walking are (almost) easier. Pee in the toilet. Hips and butt would develop bedsores if you were older and nobody turned you. When will you shit? How can that not hurt? Considerable groin swelling. Not painful but shocking. See the implanted staples when the incision tape comes off. Looks painful, but just feels weird. Stomach cramps begin. Feel an extremely odd gurgling noise all the way through the intestines.
Feel better. Walk too much. Help clear the table (your spouse has been doing everything). Converse without whispering. Take your first shower! Have your first shit (less painful than you imagined). The day’s exertion sets you back two days.
Get up using one, not two chairs for support. Use the urinal only for emergencies. Coughing is easier. You can almost blow your nose. You fear the first sneeze.
Continue 4 hour pain medication. It’s needed only half the time, but you’re addicted.
Medicate only in the morning, when the pain is the worse. Stretching hurts. Up to now, you’ve stayed up till 1am, to get one last pill in, the next one at 5am, which you easily wake for. Sit in regular chairs. The swelling is almost gone.
Leave the house (by yourself even)! The doctor rips the staples out with a big nasty pair of pliers. Feels like pulling out earrings. Stash the last pill (just in case). You can almost do stuff. Sneeze (it stings). The butt and hip sores are almost visible bedsores. You’re extremely bored.
Sleep on your side. Feel ready to be productive again. It isn’t possible to stand longer than 5 minutes at a time. The hip and butt sores almost feel like cuts. To prevent sneezing, blow your nose often.
Pick up the pieces of your shattered life. Small errands, light house cleaning. In the evening, the recovery process still haunts. Fast movement and sneezing stings, but it’s a remembrance of times past.
Start the day sore but ok. The incision is still a bit numb. Wonder if the mesh put in to keep the intestines in place has popped out. Re-herniated paranoia sets in. Go crazy from boredom and bedsores.
The stinging aspect of pain is gone. Bend over, awkwardly, to pick things up. You still must temper your movements. Remove the tape that replaced the staples. It’s now just you and the scar. Hint: to remove tape from pubic hairs, do it in the bath tub.
An almost painful pressure catches up fast when you do things. The sting now emanates from farther within. This is the worse part of recovery: almost able to get back to work, but still having to wait.
Day Twenty One:
The sharp, stabbing pain’s been gone for a week but you still feel it. Sneezing is ok. Have an unpleasant feeling of a large balloon inside your groin area where the operation was. Sleep on your stomach, giving your back and butt a break. Tire very easily.
Day Twenty Two:
First half day back at work. No actual production, just puttering about. You’re exhausted.
Post Script, January 7, 2001:
The car’s back tire goes out. Middle of the night. Middle of nowhere. The lug nuts won’t come lose. Tug with all your might. Feel a stinging pain. Nothing like before, but the body’s message is clear: “Don’t mess with me.”