Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lying in Bed....

Being home all day solo with the kids, and having to wake up early (so I could wake up my partially deaf husband and sometimes Paper Napkins contributor - who now has his own blog about being partially deaf and dealing with the world) after going to bed late meant that once again I slept like rubbish.  I woke up every couple hours and I know I was putting so much pressure on myself to get sleep while I had the chance that I couldn't sleep (don't you love how that works?)  However, unexpectedly, I was given the ability to stay in bed this morning.  Not comfortably and restfully, but laying there pinned by my hair (and subsequent scabs from hitting myself in the head with a crowbar last Monday) as my 19 month old son was laying as close to me as possible, fully on my hair.  With the scabs in my hairline so tender I couldn't move, I could barely breathe and even shifting my position was all but impossible.  So, I did what I normally do, I thought about stuff and decided to share it in a blog.  Normally, I'd save this to post automatically on Monday, but my posting is so irregular I figure there's no point, plus I'm hoping to get some more stuff polished up for you, we'll see.

So first you need some background.   For those of you are faithful readers or real life friends, you know that I had an emergency appendectomy with some serious complications 19 months ago.  You also know that I can't do anything about most of the complications, partially because I also lost my insurance - which is a long and drawn out story that if you are curious you can email me about at papernapkinsedgeofinsanity AT gmail.COM or ask in the comments and I might feel up to discussing it later, love reading comments!  Anyway, I have serious lower back pain that goes from annoying to really uncomfortable, and you think, well that's easy to help get some massage/chiropractor time (no money, but thanks) and do some ab exercises. I'm all for the exercises, the basic ones only need a flat surface, but then you run into painful daily issue number two - the doctors were in such a rush to push me out of the hospital that they made the decision to close my incision early and that left me with a surgical umbilical hernia.  When I first had the hernia measured by the doctor who had done the actual surgery, not his partner that chose to close the incision early, it was 2cm wide, it is now at least double that (from two fingers fitting in the hole, to 4 if you aren't so good with centimeters)   To understand what that means, look at your belly button, now push on it with your first two fingers.  Imagine now instead of tight resistance that you are able to push through right in the middle and that the resistance falls to the side of your fingers.  Also imagine that your intestines fall out through that hole every time you stand up pushing on it like a lodged object in an open wound.  Also imagine that if you have eaten recently, that pain is magnified, and the only way to make the pain go away is to lay flat on your back, and even then it takes until the wound is no longer aggravated from the pressure. Oh, and it also looks disgusting... I used to love my naval, it was tight and cute even though I'd had three children, it never bulged, and I loved it.  Now it looks like it's been through a war and is always red and miserable and has this wide red raised scar down the lower half.

So naturally you would think I would be pinching every single penny so I can afford the surgery to get this thing fixed.  Some have even asked why I didn't demand the doctor fix it at his expense, and maybe I should have.  I replay the discussion that day in my head all the time.  Them telling me that they were going to send me home the next day, I in horror (they were actively changing the "packing" gauze at the time, which when you don't get any pain meds and little warning is pretty horrific in and of itself and I've had 100% natural birth three times!) adamantly refused to go home and have a home health nurse come to my house with all my children there and remove and replace gauze in my 6inches or so of open abdominal incision.  I didn't like being there to see it and the feeling was absolutely indescribable and should be on the U.N. torture list. So then the doctor and the nurse assisting decide well the bottom of the incision looks good and they could just pull it closed.  So they get some tape strips (which it turns out I'm allergic to - the blisters were wonderful) and pull all the gauze out and start taping the incision closed between the staples.  They get to the top (where my hole is now) and they say, hmm, this is a bit squishy still, oh well, it'll be fine, and tape away.  The worst part - I didn't go home the next day, or the day after that.  I spent another 4 days in the hospital because my salts were low and I was having other problems and had to have two more IVs after all that, which means that I would have still been in the hospital if they had waited like they should have.

Anyway, clearly the doctor's bad decision.  Sure my frame of mind could have been more helpful, but I'd been through a lot.  Oh, and the doctor thinks that because I'd just given birth the week before that it might have caused additional complications since my abdomen had just begun contracting down - not that it goes down that far, but you know.

So there are basically two ways I can pay to have this daily misery 'fixed'.  Both involve several thousand dollars and a few hours in surgery although they say I might be able to stay awake this time.  The "better" way (and with the larger hole now it may be the only way) is to have them cover the hole with a piece of Teflon on the inside of the hole and suture it into place hoping that nothing I do for the rest of my life ever causes it to pop loose because that could be fatal and almost impossible to find should the Teflon float away.  It probably wouldn't come loose unless it was under a lot of pressure (more so than just full intestines, although I imagine being careful at Thanksgiving and Christmas would be a good idea), like having another child.  The other option which I'm not sure is still possible (like I said the hole is bigger than when I talked to the doctor) is to have the scar opened up (same as the other) and instead of Teflon just putting a bunch of suture stitches to pull the hole closed, like stitching up a repeated rip in clothes.  This is not the doctor's preferred method, but if/when it fails the sutures would simply pop and need to be redone later, no real fatal risk.  However, they are more likely to pop than the first option.

In order to do the first option the doctor wants to insure that there is no chance our family grows through the normal means... no more pregnancies.  Mentally, I'm pretty good with not having more kids.  I'm rather happy with my three and having always wanted three kids and being very busy and involved with all their doing in addition to the fact that reality is saying I need to be the "bread winner" in the family (going back to that partially deaf deal - did you know that inability to answer phones doesn't have to be accommodated if it's a required part of the position?) Having more kids doesn't look to be in the picture, and as much as I admire large families (I don't consider three kids a large family, even if it means we can't get a hotel room anywhere) neither my husband nor I really see ourselves raising and doing the kinds of things we want to with that many kids.  We'd rather spend the energy helping our kids reach out to their friends and helping those friends to have a safe house to hang out at.  Plus we want to travel, and that's all but impossible with a van and a half full.

So this week I turned in a job application to the local library.  If I get offered the permanent temporary position I'd get 50% insurance (and I'd be working 50-60 hours a week with all my jobs *sadface*).  The thought of being that much closer to being able to have the surgeries was so happy as I lay there pinned in my bed, spasms of pain shooting up my back, my defaced aggravated naval screaming in discomfort.  Then I got sad.  Having the surgery pretty much means we can't have an accidental child, I already have one and she's such a blessing (not so much an accident as ahead of schedule really), but still, the idea of permanently removing the option.... I don't do well with permanent.  It was huge for me to pick and marry my husband (in my world that's just as permanent), when we moved to our current place I agreed for 5 years, we've been here 7 - gads I'm going to have a 7 year old in a couple months!  It's not the end of the world, and I'm finally getting it to look nice although the landlord drama I've definitely had more than enough of!

I found myself laying in bed mourning the chance to have a baby that I may be giving up.  Sure I don't want to be in daily pain.  I'd love to be able to do ab exercises without having to constantly make sure my intestines aren't getting squeezed, pinched, or strained - bet you were wondering why I wasn't doing more of those huh?  Even the wii fit stuff can be too much if I'm not really careful.  I'm not craving a new baby, but I will admit I occasionally am jealous of the plethora of gorgeous bellies I see around me, of all the ultrasound pictures on Facebook   I loved being pregnant, ok not the bedrest part, that blew goats, but the rest - especially towards the end.  Yeah, all you moms that couldn't wait for it to be over can hate me all you like, I was never in a rush to get the baby out, with the exception of spending a month in labor, that was hard, but just having the belly and a few Braxton-Hicks, I loved that!  I think a swollen baby belly is gorgeous.  I'm not crazy about another two years of diapers and nursing.  More wrangling car seats.  I'm not wanting a baby outright, I'm just sad that I have to give the possibility up entirely.  AND I HATE HAVING PEOPLE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!  I love opinion, advice - especially good advice, but I hate having options stripped from me by others.  I hate that I feel I have no choice in this matter, and I hate even more that my husband will be the one to offer his body to this sacrifice so that I don't have to undergo that difficulty in addition to the ones I already bear.

It's not a set decision, but that's how it would play out.  I still don't have the job, I still don't have insurance.  Even if I get the job I'll still have to come up with probably $500 or more a month for the insurance (that stuff IS NOT CHEAP!), which would be most of what the job pays.  I've worked for the sole purpose of having insurance before, bringing home no income at all after daycare costs were calculated, but in this case the kids would all be with their dad, this would not cover preschool costs, my other jobs would continue to do that.

And this folks is what I wrestled with in an emotional wash over an option that may never be, while pinned to the bed with a 22 pound toddler snoring away on my hair.  - oh and I followed with the biggest claustrophobia attack I've had in years by trying to assemble breakfast for my kids.... totally given up on the idea of making bread today, darn extra narrow living arrangements!

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