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Archive for August, 2011

One week ago today I had a hysterectomy. My head still feels a bit like it’s been stuffed with cotton, so please bear with me if this post isn’t as coherent as others.

They told me to leave all  jewelry and valuables at home. I took off my wedding ring, for the first time since I had moved it to my right hand almost a year ago, and placed it in the carved wooden box on the dresser where I keep my husband’s ring and the lock of his hair that the funeral director let me cut before the cremation. My hand felt naked without it

My mom went with me to the hospital and stayed by my side until they took me into pre-op. I was fine getting undressed and into my paper gown and slippers, perfectly calm talking to my surgeon and signing the consent forms that made sure I was aware this surgery meant that I would never have children. The nurse left and told me the anesthesiologist would be by shortly.

I was alone on a gurney in a little curtained hospital cubicle. I flashed back to seeing my husband in just such a setting, connected to all sorts of machines, the night he took his life. I started to cry. The nurse walked by and stopped in  his tracks. “Are you OK?” I nodded, wiping away the tears. “It’s OK,” he said reassuringly. “You’re going to be just fine.”

“I know,” I said. “It’s not that.” I told him. He sent someone to get my mom from the waiting room, and she came and held my hand until the anesthesiologist put the needle in my arm and the lights went out.

All went well with the surgery. The first few days of recovery were rough, mostly because the pain meds made me horribly nauseous. I came home on Saturday feeling sick as a dog. I’m getting better, little by little, but progress feels very slow. It’s one step forward, two steps back.

On the worst day in the hospital, I told my mother that I feel broken, like nothing in my body works right anymore. I couldn’t sit up without wanting to vomit, couldn’t use the bathroom without help, couldn’t even roll over without wincing.

Broken. That’s exactly how I felt after my husband died. I thought I’d never be whole again, never feel anything but grief and pain and loss. Over the past year and a half, I’ve pieced my life back together. I’ve worked hard. I’ve smiled and laughed and had moments of real joy, something I never expected to experience again. But the truth is, in the darkest hours of the night, it all feels like a sham. I’ve never stopped feeling like a broken doll that got snapped in half and then taped back together. And now I’ve got the tape on my midsection (and later the scar) to show it.

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