January 24, 2009

Pain sucks

(WARNING: Lurid details ahead. Read at your own risk)

I"M not trying to be cute. I just had an outpatient procedure done this afternoon for this condition that's been nagging me for two weeks already. And it hurt like hell!

I suppose I'm more sensitive this week because I'm a little hormonal (the ladies will understand what that means), so when my doctor told me I needed to have the procedure done like today, I had crying fits for two days. Even drinking my soymilk didn't help stabilize my emotions.

Doctors in general scare me. (Except for my dermatologist Doc Reena at Linden Suites.) But the thought of having any sharp object cut through my skin is just horrifying. So even if this was considered a minor procedure that would take, at the most, an hour, you cannot imagine how terrified I have been. On my way to my appointment, I couldn't help but break into tears again; I texted a few friends to pray for me. It was super freaky, and I was all alone. I prayed to my Pop, to my brothers and the One above to help me calm down and get me through this.

When the time came for the procedure, I was lying down flat on my front, my face staring down at the operating room floor. The music was roaring through the room as we waited for my surgeon to arrive. My doc has quirky tastes -- it ran from Nonoy Zuniga's "I'll never ever say goodbye", to some bossa nova, then Pearly Shells by some nutjob, then was that Barry Manilow I was hearing? (Of course the iPod was on shuffle, hence the playlist.)

It was awfully cold and I wanted to go to the rest room to pee again but my back was already "sterilized", swabbed w/ Betadine, Nurse Gemma said. So I held it. She took my blood pressure, it was 130/73, which is unusual for me. Obviously it was the nerves. (My usual BP is 120/80.) But I calmed down a bit as I joked w/ Gemma and another attending, Gino, talking about Doc Alex's 'morantic' playlist.

But when Doc Alex came, and started the procedure, it was the beginning of hell for me. I felt the needle prick into my back and I muffled an "Ow!" It was the anesthesia they said. Okay, I thought, that meant I wouldn't feel any pain anymore. WRONG! I felt the effing knife or scalpel cut right through my skin. I screamed! Then I started crying. Nurse Gemma held my hand and I pressed so hard I think I broke her fingers. I felt more cutting, slicing, and pressing, and I kept yelling "Owww!!!" I thought I was going to die.

(I had sobbed into the gauze pad laid on the pillow and didn't even notice how my entire face was erased. I mean what kind of idiot would even put make up on a day she was to be operated on? Of course it had to be me. My lipstick had wiped off, as well as my eyeshadow; at least I made the right decision to wear waterproof mascara, so there wouldn't be any ugly streaks on my face, or black shadows under my eyes making me look like a racoon.)

It felt like hours, but the procedure actually took about 45 minutes. The sharp cutting pain just wouldn't go away. (The back apparently has finer nerve endings w/c makes us feel more pain.) It was just sheer torture for me to be laying down there. I didn't hear the music anymore, and I barely heard what Nurse Gemma was saying. I couldn't focus enough to meditate and do any yogic breathing exercises to calm me down. Nor could I do any visualizations of a sunny day at the beach, or a hot fudge sundae, or any scenery that would relax me. My only one constant thought was the insufferable pain.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I felt it was a 9, with 10 probably being childbirth, which I've never felt but everyone says is the most painful of all. This was all new to me. I've had two major surgical operations before but both were under general anesthesia so I didn't feel anything until a few days after waking up and I was weaned off the painkillers. Even getting four molars pulled out by my dentist (to prepare me for braces) when I was 11 didn't hurt at all.

Doc Alex probably took pity on me as he listened to me alternate between screaming, then sobbing, and quietly weeping, so he kept on saying, "sorry, sorry." Then it was over. But before he left, Doc Alex patted my arm gently asking, "galit ka sa akin?" I could barely squeak out a "hindi." I knew he was just trying to make me laugh. But I was in no mood yet after what I just had been through.

Even with the procedure over, I still quietly wept. My face was all red and blotchy. My head started throbbing. I hadn't cried this much since my Pop passed away. And the wound really hurt. It took awhile before I was able to compose myself again.

I suddenly had a craving for Sebastian's chunky mocha almond fudge sugar-free ice cream. But drat! it didn't have a stall at the Shangri-La Mall, which was the nearest place I could get a bite to eat. I was desperate to eat something, anything! to make me feel better. Thank God for Dome Café's churros con Toblerone chocolate. It helped elevate my serotonins a bit. Sigh. There I took my antibiotics and two paracetamols, but I still felt like I had just been beaten up.

I wanted to go home and just sleep. I was in no mood to party tonight (and I had a post-Obama inaugural party I was supposed to attend). Nurse Gemma told me I couldn't bathe until Monday, which is when my dressing will be changed. So that shoots down the rest of my social calendar for the weekend which was supposed to include the Chinese New Year celebration at the Mandarin Oriental Manila. Rats! I also can't exert myself, do any heavy lifting, make iré (I dunno how to translate that to English), or stretch. So that also erases any possibility of attending any yoga classes in the next few days. Phooey!

As I write this, I've just switched to mefenamic acid, but I can still feel some stinging in my back, though it's not as bad as before. I'm still exhausted even after I had a nap. This day took a lot out of me, I'm so glad it's over.

(Photo from webstockpro.com)


CW said...

Whatever minor surgery that was, I hope you are ok and on your way to healing.

As to the pain while undergoing a "minor" surgery, some people (ehem...) have really low threshold for pain. If it is any consolation, I was writhing in pain while undergoing my LASIK surgery six years ago. lol.

ano ni mosimosi onetwothree? said...

i want to laugh. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.. ay. sorry, my gosh,i don'tknow but parang i want to laugh, hahahahahahah. again. hahahahahahah. am i cruel? but really, i don't know but i felt you were so funny . hahahahahaha!

Stella Arnaldo said...

Thanks for the good wishes, CW.

But oof! I don't even want to think of LASIK. Just the thought of something in my eye makes me cringe. iiicks.

Kung hei fat choy.

Stella Arnaldo said...

As for you "ano ni", yes, you are cruel. What ever made you doubt this?