The C Word – Part 2
I’d only every had one surgery in my life; a laparoscopic day surgery to remove dermoid cysts from my ovaries. Have you ever heard of dermoid cysts? Allow me to enlighten you: they’re not normal ovarian cysts which are generally filled with clear fluid. Dermoids are filled with what they describe as “a thick chocolate-brown liquid” and they also sometimes “grow teeth and hair inside them”! What the serious hell??!! As soon as I found out about THOSE I couldn’t WAIT for the surgery. Get those alien babies OUT of me!! This was back in New York in 2005 or so. Laparoscopic is the type of surgery where they go through a few tiny incisions in your belly button and surrounding area and do the surgery from the inside with cameras and tiny equipment. My colon surgery was supposed to be laparoscopic as well, so I thought I knew pretty much what to expect: feeling like a donkey kicked you in the stomach for a couple of weeks, then back to normal. They had me do another colon prep the day before the surgery. Ok, who here has had a colonoscopy? Those who HAVE will be familiar with the 4 litres of horrible, sickening laxative you are required to drink the day before your procedure along with a clear fluid diet. The idea is that you’re clean as a whistle by the time the camera snakes up your bum. So, the day before my surgery there was more chugging of that awful liquid, AND they’d given me two different super-strong antibiotics to take. They were SO strong, in fact, that they were insanely nauseating. A few of them went in and came right back out again. So I spent the day and the night before surgery emptying out from BOTH ends and dry-heaving most of the night. Not exactly the place of strength from which I’d hoped to walk into surgery.
I arrived at 6:15 in the morning, bucket in hand in case I threw up again. Doug had to leave me at the hospital as no guests were allowed, but he camped out in the car in the parking lot until he got word that I was safely out of surgery. The anesthesiologist came to put in my epidural. That’s a port they put in your back near your spine so they can deliver pain medication directly to your nervous system. He needed me to lean forward to put it in. I leaned forward and threw up again. But he got it in. I They also got my IV in and gave me some anti-nausea medication. I remember being wheeled into the operating room and being introduced to the surgical team before they placed a breathing mask on me and I fell asleep.
I woke up in post-op with the sun streaming through the windows, high on the morphine cocktail that was dripping through my epidural, and felt that everything was good. I’d survived the surgery, I felt well and I knew I was in excellent, capable hands.
That evening, a bed opened up and I was moved to what would be my room. The hospital was undergoing expansion construction so beds were scarce. I’d hoped my extended insurance benefits would get me a private or semi-private room, but that just wasn’t in the cards. So, in I went to a 4-person room, each bed area just separated by curtains. The only window was on the far side of the room, so I was unable to see any of my beloved mother nature. And due to Covid, no visitors were allowed. But I received three floral arrangements and three stuffed animals from friends and family wishing me good health and recovery, so I felt a little less lonely. I’d also planned ahead with my Insight Timer app on my phone with music and meditations to listen to, my tablet for Netflix to watch, and some yarn and knitting needles to keep my hands busy. At that moment I was feeling no pain. I figured I’d be out in a few days. Then they told me the surgery was more involved than they’d expected. They tried starting the surgery laparoscopically, but had to switch to full open surgery. Why? Well, it turns out that the tumor had kept my colon from emptying properly, so there was a huge back-up from the tumor all the way back to the start of the colon. And apparently, the blockage stretched my colon out to epic proportions. At the widest, it was about 5 inches in diameter! You hear about people being full of shit all the time, but I actually was.
So, they couldn’t see what they were doing laparoscopically. In fact, they didn’t even make it over to my right ovary, so only the left was taken out. (The doctors tell me it did not begin in my ovaries, for which I am thankful, but I’m still having the other one out!) Apparently, they tried to suction out some of the blockage, but it was just too dense. A real shit brick, if you will. The doctor was amazed I’d been pooping at all prior to the surgery. It was a minor miracle. I figure it was on account of the anti-inflammatory turmeric-ginger shot I drank every morning as well as my super fruity smoothies with wheat-grass shots and collagen in ‘em. But here I was in the hospital with no healthy smoothies, no turmeric-ginger shots, nothing but the sugary, starchy stuff they wanted to serve me. And my body did NOT like that.
Now, when you have a surgery such as this, the nurses are anxious and excited for you to fart and poop, since that means your guts are working again. Now, I’ve never been afraid to fart. In fact, farts will always make me laugh. It’s one of my greatest joys to harass my husband with my juvenile sense of humor. But very quickly, and possibly because of the suction they had attempted during surgery, my previously hilarious farts proved quite unpredictable…
A GAME SHOW HOST pushes in a big game wheel in the style of The Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune, except vertical rather than horizontal. A lever is at the top, to indicate the selection wherein the wheel stops. On the wheel we see different pie sections labeled “FART” and “SHART” and one super glittery section labeled “STB”.
GAME SHOW HOST
Congratulations, Kyrst! You’re the latest contestant on FART OR SHART! The game show where you find out what that next burst of anal activity will bring! Go ahead and spin the wheel!
KYRST spins the wheel. After a couple of rotations, it slows and stops on “STB”. Jubilant bell ringing sounds ensue.
GAME SHOW HOST
Woah! This lucky lady just hit the jackpot! (HOST takes the wedge off the board and turns it over showing the full words on the back and handing it to KYRST) Congratulations, Kyrst! You just SHIT THE BED! Let’s find out what she’s won!
(as HOST hands each item to KYRST…) A fresh change of bed linens! A new hospital gown! A new puppy pad for your bed! A brand new diaper! AND a soothing, warm washcloth to wipe your disgusting ass! Yes, you’ve certainly hit the jackpot today, Ms. Hogan!
HOST leaves with wheel, smiling and waving amidst pre-recorded cheering.
I was hooked up to my Epidural, my IV and a catheter. There was no way I was able to get up to GO to the bathroom. They had sort-of tucked an adult diaper under my butt, but it didn’t have tapes like a normal diaper and I didn’t have any underpants to hold it on because of the catheter. So whenever I shit my pants, I tried my awkward best to clean myself up. I was still high on morphine and it seemed like the right thing to do. I had the nurses leave me some extra paper towels and diapers. I used the water in my previous day’s water glass to moisten the paper towels and clean myself up. But I was doing major acrobatics in order to do it. I must have done more yoga bridge poses in those first days than I’ve ever done in my life. Probably not the exercise they wanted me doing while my stomach was still full of staples. But it was the only way to get my ass off the mess so I could clean it. So, one day, as I felt a big one percolating, I called out to the aide who was walking past my bed area and asked for some help. She handed me a cardboard bedpan. I stared blankly. I had literally no idea what to do with it, but I gave it a shot. I bridged myself up, got the pan under my ass and let loose. I don’t know if it was the angle, or the way my muscles were tensed, but instead of the mess going into the pan, it shot right across the bow of the pan and exploded like a molten shit volcano across the entire bed. EVERYTHING was covered in liquid baby-poo brown. I somehow got my shitty gown off, stripped the shitty bed, balled everything up into a big shitty ball and used all the paper towels I could find to clean myself up. There was so much, it had gone right through to the plastic mattress underneath. So, naked and shivering, I crept to the very foot of the bed as far as all my tubes would reach and huddled there, loosely draped in the one clean blanket that remained while I rang my buzzer for a nurse. An aide, Candy, opened my curtain and took in the scene, wide-eyed. I can only imagine what she must have thought. “I guess I made a mess” I said. “I’m sorry.” She just looked at me for a long moment and then the two of us both started to chuckle at the outrageous sight of naked little me and my exquisite mess. She made me promise to use my call button when I needed help in the future. I weakly agreed.