This morning has seen me back in hospital with a raging infection and a build up of lymphatic fluid that is stubbornly refusing to drain.
A week before Christmas, I had surgery for a femoral hernia – what’s called a femoral hernia ‘repair’, but not everything went to plan. This week saw me returning to hospital because my wound formed a build up of fluid – much like a little spring in my groin – a steady stream of clear fluid that literally sprung whenever I moved.
After seeing the surgeon, I was referred to a wound care nurse who moonlights as a stomal therapy nurse. Stomal therapy nurses look after patients with colostomies and ileostomies – the latter of which I somehow lived with for three months in 2007.
When I had major surgery for a rare gynaecological cancer, I had to have my bowel redirected so I wouldn’t die from infection. Having an ileostomy (or as I refer to it, a poo bag) was by far the most horrific and psychologically challenging three months of my life, so when the nurse presented me with a veritable smorgasbord of ‘pouches’ (poo bags) so the fluid could be caught and contained instead of flowing down my leg and into my shoe (or onto the floor of Kikki K), I had to take a deep breath for the rush of memories that resurfaced.
I ascertained that my situation could be worse. I reasoned that the poo bag was attached to the wound in my groin, and that instead of catching shit it was only there to collect lymphatic fluid – lovely, clear and odourless.
And so this morning, I awoke with a painful lump that had stopped draining. I cut the wound open myself and even removed a stitch to no avail.
It is the eve of my 36th birthday and I’m supine on a hospital bed being fed intravenous anti-biotics through a line in my foot. I will need more surgery, most likely tomorrow. On my birthday.
Instead of seeing in the new year at my friends farm surrounded by hyperactive puppies, happy cattle, spiders, brown snakes and raucous laughter, I’ll be here. And so it goes, as Mr. Vonnegut would say. But it’s ok because things can always be worse.
I have enough books to keep my reading habit satiated for a month; my laptop so I can write, despite being half whacked out of my mind on morphine and fentanyl. I have a beautiful new notebook and Moleskine for the new year, more pencils than what I know to do with, my meditation shawl and my rose quartz heart that will show a few more fissures by the time I fully recover. It takes the blows for me and my broken body.
And so tomorrow won’t be the happiest day, but it won’t be the worst. I have all that I need and I’ll want for nothing except my health (and cake l, because we all know that cake makes everything better.)