I went into hospital for surgery, this emblem sat above my hospital bed. My body is not big or strong and I do not have child bearing hips. And I’ve had a whole bunch of babies. Six, actually, and the first four all came all at once. I don’t regret any of it for a second, but let’s just say that my body paid a pretty big price. My back has ached for ten years. And my physiotherapist looked at my tummy and laughed saying “no amount of pilates is going to fix that!”
I had a big old gap right up the middle. The female body kindly and gently stretches and gives way to growing bubbies. And, by and large, it regroups and sorts itself out again after the event. NOT SO with quadruplets.
I’m not into giving a detailed discussion my of child birthing stories. They happened. They hurt. My body never recovered.
So I finally got around to having surgery; tight stitches right up the middle of me, pulling together those tummy muscles that haven’t seen each other for 10 years. Its called abdominoplasty.
I’m not showing any pictures, you would not believe how many there are online! However, here’s the view from where I’m sitting.
While I was in hospital, my poor bubby had to cope without me, and the constant availability of milk! He visited twice a day and looked at me as if his world was falling apart.
I got an unbearable itchiness a week after surgery. Its is unbearable because the part that is itching is not part of me anymore. It’s the skin that was removed. But I can still feel it! I just can’t scratch it because it’s not there! It is driving me up the wall.
I guess when nerves and skin and blood vessels get cut and sewn up in a different order, there’s a bit of internal confusion as the various parts figure out their new arrangements. All I know is that my brain is getting very strong itchiness messages, but there’s no corresponding piece of skin with an actual physical itch.
A phantom itch!
It was a year ago when we were in Phnom Phen, Cambodia that I read an article about phantom pain in amputees. People who had lost limbs from landmines reported excruciating pain years later, but felt it in the limbs that were no longer there. Not just in the knee below which there is no foot, but pain felt in the absent foot itself. A guy called Stephen was working on some kind of mirror therapy to help in the pain reduction. It kind of involved tricking the brain using a mirror into re-feeling the missing limb, which corrected the pain messages. It even works when both limbs are missing.
Cambodia is a country in pain in so many ways. Bits of its history, its culture, its hope and bits of bodies were all destroyed.
We saw signs of rebuilding, signs of hope, but also signs of corruption and squandering and irresponsibility, especially in relation to the care of children. This post I wrote on not visiting children in orphanages still gets comments, and is the only thing I’ve written that gets people upset!
So I’m sitting in my well-cared-for comfort, as pain free as is medically possible. I have fluids and dressings and drugs and a tummy brace and family who bring me cups of tea and are letting me off all cleaning/cooking/lifting duty. I had the privilege of deciding to have a surgery that (although an awfully good idea) was not life saving or medically necessary, and having the money to jump the public queue and pay privately, in an elite hosptial with a masterful and friendly surgeon and amazing nursing care.
And I’m itching like crazy and its making me think of these guys….