Thursday, March 23, 2006

when the fog lifts

Today, I looked at the baby, up and rocking gently back and forth while on fours, and thought, hmm. Must put up that childgate.

I strongly suspect that this was the first completely coherent thought I've had since Sunday.

Don't get me wrong - I've actually enjoyed some of my incoherence, as it has been borne on a lovely drug induced cloud. And it was kicked off by that rarest of moments in the mama world: a date!

Yup, me and the mister abandoned our children on Sunday (who ran off into the Bodhi Juju's arms with nary a backwards glance, thankeeverymuch) and off we went for vegan food (hey, if I ain't getting eggs and dairy, then, well, he's too polite to have any either) and candlestick bowling. It was fun! 'Oh, no,' says my honey, 'we've played two games! We must stop now or our shoulders will be sore tomorrow.' 'Pish tush,' said I (weel, not really, but I wish I had - how often can a girl say 'pish tush' these days? It's a good fun quote.), 'We lift 16-32 pounds regularly. A wee 8 pound ball won't hurt us.' And, lo, it was so.

But the next day, the viral invasion had begun. One by one, we succumbed to fever, sniffles and a truly nasty cough that shakes the roof of your head. Gives the whole 'huff and puff until it all falls down' a whole new and nastily realistic twist. And on Tuesday, clutching my tissues and determined not to betray any signs of weakness (and having already wailed to and been reassured by the ob/gyn), I and my viral-heavy family staggered into the pre-op waiting room at the hospital where our baby was born. It was there that I was to undergo the lesser known final stage of pregnancy, labor and delivery: the six month post-partum mop-up procedure, courtesy of a resident's screw-up.

I remember kissing my boys goodbye, being handed a glamorous shower cap by the anasthesiologist, and riding off into the OR. There, I scooted myself onto the table, trying to ignore the nurse whose job it was to babble at me reassuringly until I passed out. Eventually, it occurred to everyone that I seemed remarkably conscious. (This had occurred to me, too.) 'So, are you feeling the effect of the medication?' the anasthesiologist asked. 'Not really,' I said. 'Feel free to give me more - and don't skimp. I've got two kids and could really use a nap.' He grinned, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room and being told by an overly chipper nurse that I was about to get out of bed. Umm, right.

The nice young resident du jour, Dr 'call me Jen,' had offered me my pick of pain-killers: Tylenol with codeine, Percoset (oxycodone), and perhaps some triple-strength ibuprofen? When I got home that night, I felt wonderful - even slightly float-y. I made dinner, put on a load of laundry, and hummed quietly around the house, knowing that I was blessed with my mother as backup...up, could collapse any time, but was just going to do one more thing oh my did I feel fine why did they think I'd need such strong drugs when I (crunch, thump).

I woke up the next day with a better understanding of the implications of the surgery, minor though it was, a serious disinclination to sit down, a strong appreciation for the Mater, who drove hours to reach us, and a thought: pain and the anxiety about pain can affect a person's recovery. But by offering such strong painkillers, was there not also a risk that I'd create or enhance the feeling of pain, if only by anticipating it? We know from the gateway theory of pain that the psychological state of a patient can physically enlarge or reduce the amount of pain experienced, so what does the doctor's prescription tell me here?

Frankly, I'm inclined to accept Dr. Call Me Jen's decision to go for the big guns. Americans expect pain-free lives, or as close to pain-free as they can get it. Therefore, when we experience some pain, it looms large - and we feel it accordingly. Call Me Jen needs to prescribe just in case, or for the most likely patient. Fair enough. But ya gotta wonder: is this why so many women get epidurals? I've had childbirth with and without the epidural, and the difference between the two was purely psychological. Still, without the endorphins of childbirth egging me on, I'm inclined to be rather wimpy about this. Especially when I have to periodically stop to rescue my newly mobile baby person, who seems to have a knack for wedging himself under the futon, the cabinet...who knew we had such dust bunnies?

courtesy of the rounding cousin...a fairy tale of caffeine and sandwiches!

1 comment:

magid said...

candlestick bowling
*more giggles*

That would be candlepin bowling :-).

Glad you're feeling better.