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An exercise in exhaustion and gas

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2013-06-06


So I've had another major surgery (the second one in four years, unless you count the shoulder surgery and my recent colonoscopy, then it's four surgeries, two of them major, in four years) and I'm lying around at home. Two weeks after the surgery and I'm a bit alarmed that I feel so lousy. Of course, I'm impatient. I know I expect way too much too soon. But my appetite is still down, and I haven't lost any weight, and I'm a bit frustrated with that. Add some intense insomnia, fierce gas (better than an alarm clock, because it combines pain with surprise) and you have someone who doesn't get out of bed much. If I had a catheter here at home, I wouldn't even have to get up to pee. And since I have Internet (not wireless) I do have to at least go out to the living room to get online. But sometimes, that isn't even tempting.

I've been burning through the books here at home. My day seems to consist of waking up to painful gas, then taking off my CPAP mask and then dozing off after I've farted away what I can. I have to use the CPAP machine because I have obstructive sleep apnea, and if I don't use it, I don't get enough oxygen. It makes me swallow lots of air, so I'm bloated all the time. If I stop using it, I wouldn't be so bloated, but I might have a heart attack. Choices, choices. So I take a nap without the machine, I wake up groggy, then read for a while, then doze again. In the late afternoon, I crawl out of bed and slowly make my way down the hallway. I make sure Daphne and Summit have food. I think about what I want to eat (nothing sounds good) then make (or order it). I fire up the computer and get online. Sometimes I throw a movie in the DVD player. Sometimes I write, sometimes I make music with my new software.

But it's a strange experience. Left to my own devices, I can see what the house would look like if I were sick for a long length of time. I'd get some writing done, but it seems like feeling lousy has clamped down on my mind, and nothing much else seems to matter. I move slowly, and I do the smallest of tasks, and I'm tired. I can't help but wonder if this is what old age is like.

I will say the time off is nice, in a way. But I wish I could be more productive. I guess it's okay to have the right to just sit around on the couch, relaxing. I try not to think about the medical bills piling up. Go ahead and call me a deadbeat. I work three jobs, and two of them don't pay very well, else I'd have a handle on these bills. I don't care very much anymore, because I'm too tired to care.

This feeling will pass, eventually. Life goes on. I'm feeling sorry for myself (I'm good at that) but I can't dwell on it too much.

Right now, if you are healthy, enjoy it. If you have energy, and you are not in pain, think about it so you can remember what it feels like. I used to be able to get on the treadmill for an hour, and walk and jog. That amazes me that I could do that. I guess I'll be able to do that again eventually, but when, I don't know.

So I'll sit and watch Stripes and Napoleon Dynamite (and eat some tots) and read all sorts of stuff and try to think about the heavy stuff tomorrow. Because I'm too tired and depressed today, and damn, this gas—it's gut-wrenching.

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