We last left our poorly planned protagonist a weepy pee and blood covered mess attempting to make it through the day and not foul up the quaint little bedroom too badly. I recalled the Billy Joel classic, “These are the Times to Remember” and decided he definitely didn’t mean this, but decided to capture them anyway in writing in order to provide ample fodder for future embarrassment. Sunday, after my family left, was a nightmare of splitting headaches chased with Vicodin that only seemed to exacerbate the problem. Why could they not have just given me some morphine to take home? Was that too much to ask?
On Monday I had my first follow up with Dr. McGinn and my spouse’s father and brother kindly drove in from Jersey to take me there. Her office set up seems designed to enhance feeling of awkwardness for both her and her patients. The waiting area is the hallway between her office and the examination room, that requires her to scooch by everyone to go from one to the other. Furtive side-glance acknowledgement exists between you, but you both understand it’s not the time to talk, even though you really want to. Personally, I would have removed some ceiling tiles to crawl above, dropping down in front of the exposed patient like Batgirl. It’s not like she can really get any cooler, but that move alone would double her patient load.
In the mean time, I got to chat with Debbi, who was lovely to deal with in completing my 93 point pre-surgical checklist, and frankly, it was a treat. When my time finally came, I got to see Heather first, who we last encountered giving me the ‘here is everything that might go horribly wrong’ spiel right before they put me out. As she removed my bandages, I found why sitting up felt like I was perched on a WW1 German helmet sewn between my thighs, because the packing was actually sutured on. Next she removed the internal packing material, seeming to endlessly pull a thin strip of batting out like a magician with scarves. I imagined a tiny pissed off mummy in there spinning around as he’s being unexpectedly denuded. I’m not 100% there isn’t, and that he’s armed with a sharp little sword he likes to jab about when agitated.
“When I take this off, it’s going to feel like you are going to pee all over me, but don’t worry, you aren’t.” Catheter removal is so much fun, and she was right; I was sure I was going to pee in her face and then we would have this horrible thing between us forcing me to flee and never come back. Luckily she was right on the money. “Want to take a look?” Hells, yeah I did! Well, it sure wasn’t pretty. Not by a long shot. First of all, holy Bride of Frankenstein with all the angry looking stitches! I felt my neck for bolts just in case, and Heather assured me everything looked good. There was also quite a bit of swelling, and the vaginal opening was stretched open so far it looked like I just serviced the starting lineup of the Buffalo Bills. “That’s just from the packing. It will close on its own and in a few months, no one but your gynecologist will be able to tell the difference.” While no colorful little butterflies came wafting out, I was grateful that no bats did either.
With my feet propped up in the stirrups, Heather showed me how to dilate. I have to say, this whole process from start to dilation initiation really destroyed any body consciousness and squeamishness I used to have. It’s impossible to feel modest when someone is assisting you in sticking a purple plastic dildo up your vag. Dr. McGinn finally joined us and I was thrilled that she was now allowed to admit I existed. She expressed her pleasure on how well the surgery went, and pronounced the hot mess between my legs as looking just damn tootin’ fine. She didn’t say that, but I translated from medical speak. “Make sure you dilate five times a day, even if it really hurts.” I promised I would, though once again discounted the possibility of it actually hurting. I never learn, do I? That’ll get its own post.
The next couple of days became very routine. Wake. Dilate. Eat breakfast. Sit in chair till it hurts. Dilate. Lay in bed till it hurts. Go back to chair. Dilate. Call people. Any people. Seriously, I’ll talk to anyone at this point. Eat. Dilate. Open daily gift (sent with love from Sandy and Tricia). Eat candy. Lots of candy. Dilate. Fall into uneasy sleep.
By Tuesday night I was about fed up with this schtick. I called my spouse and she suggested heresy. “Why don’t you just fly home after your Thursday appointment?” I could not believe what she was suggesting. I’m supposed to be here until Saturday! What if Dr. McGinn finds out? Anyone who knows me well should be very surprised by this; I’m not exactly known for being a rule follower. Dear lord, what the hell happened to me? What’s she going to do? Find an unused penis and stick it back on me? “So? You’re miserable and you can’t tell me you can’t rest up and dilate just as well at home.” The spell of medical compliance was broken. Book me a ticket. I’m coming home.
Next time in the thrilling conclusion of a tale too long told: McGinn again; why I hate to fly; and the enormity of swapping out one’s genitals .