As I was being screened for pre-surgery last Friday, one of the questions they asked me was what kind of pain level I could tolerate. I said a 3. My mother, incredulous, asked if I was sure that was my limit. Life lesson (that I just made up right now) – if someone asks you what kind of pain you can tolerate, never say anything above a 5. After that’s settled, your doctor or nurse or whoever will feel totally comfortable putting you in pain, or letting you walk around post-surgery with a 7 or an 8 and none of the good pills. It just so happens that I’m a *total wimp* and a 3 is completely accurate, but either way, it’s a good lesson to live by.
As I sit here now in my bed, finally able to breathe again after taking a few of those aforementioned good pills, I hardly feel bad about being so wimpy because let’s be honest I hardly feel anything at all and it is wonderful.
My last week has been a shit show. If I told you what kind of surgery I had, that would be very ironic and funny to you. Although I may have just given away the essence of my surgery with that joke. But if you can’t joke about ass surgery, what can you joke about?
This has actually been the LEAST funny and MOST painful week in the history of Me, almost 23 years of blissful joy up until now. That may be a bit dramatic, as I was a super sick kid and I’m sure there was some pain sprinkled through the bliss there, but this sure feels like the worst. Not having control over how your body feels is a terrible feeling. I remember one of my past managers who had a medical condition that doctors could barely put a finger on, and once that finger was there couldn’t do much more than provide educated nutritional advice. I used to feel so bad that there was nothing I could do to help, as it’s hard to even empathize in a helpful way when you can’t possibly imagine what the other person is going through. Now, as I attempt to recover from the most random surgery to ever exist, I almost pity my roommates for having to stand in my doorway and ask me what they can do to help when I don’t even know what could make this better. I think feeling sorry for people feeling sorry for you is the sign of a really good person, so I am a really good person.
In all seriousness I think pain is a very interesting subject. From what I remember from the science classes of my youth, like 90% of pain is all in your head. After writing that I thought maybe I should google it to make sure that makes sense and google says that pain is like created by your nerve endings sending messages to your brain, and your brain is like “hey be careful something is hurting you, seems dangerous”. Which is just so cool how much stuff happens up there. Not as cool when what’s happening up there is a red alert fire alarm because it feels like you just fell ass first onto a hatchet (there’s no good analogy for the combo of surgeries I had done and the multiple bad feelings that have followed) but still pain is a nifty concept.
However, I didn’t go into science I went into marketing. Which brings me to the subject of sick days. (Stay with me here I realize that’s a weird jump) In other words, how do you sell it your boss that you’re as sick as you really are, without sounding like the title of this post? It is impossible. I know everyone’s employer wants them take sick days when they’re not feeling well, especially when they’ve just had surgery on an unmentionable part of their body. My employer is no different. But at the same time, in the back of my head I can’t help but feel like they expect you to be some tough business bitch who is unaffected by the outside world and puts her job first in all circumstances no matter what the case. Maybe this is my defensive feminism kicking in, aka I never want to look inferior to men in any way. Which should be easy because I’m not, but hey it’s the world we live in. There’s no stat that say men take less sick days than women but I mean look at maternity leave in this country. It’s probably an interesting sociological study to see how each sex is viewed by their manager when it comes to time off work. Anyway it’s just a weird situation. This paragraph is coming after a call from my boss who absolutely insisted I take whatever amount of time I needed to fully recuperate, and I promise there was not even a subtle hint of “be here tomorrow or you’re fired.” That feeling in the back of my head is really just my own neurotic paranoia and I’ve come to accept that it’s generally wrong. Like my manager is actually so understanding. But idk, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels weird about sick days.
After working from home for two days, I’m hopping back on the sick day train tomorrow and de-stressing by sleeping in and maybe attempting to meditate? I’d like to be better by Monday, for work. And equally as important, by Tuesday, for my 23rd celebration of life. But I realize beggars can’t be choosers and however long it takes, I really just want to be better and healthy and living every day to its fullest again. Continuing to remind myself that pain is temporary and in the end can only make you a stronger you.