Wednesday. I spend the morning in the office, mostly working with the team on the grant proposal. We are making progress, but we are also frustrated. We keep getting messages from the director but no longer conversation to ensure everyone has the same idea of what is happening.
At noon I join a conference call about joint sponsorship of some work I really care about. It’s a positive call and reminds me of the things I love about my job.
I have to leave the office mid-afternoon for my pre-op appointment with the urogynocologist. I’m nervous, not about today’s appointment, but about the upcoming surgery on April 7. The doctor and I go over, again, what will happen. It’s such an invasive procedure and pushes so many of my buttons: strapped down on a table, literally paralyzed by the anesthetic, intubated so a machine can breathe for me, five cuts and a robotic arm to remove my uterus and Fallopian tubes, mesh inserted. Then more cutting and stitching from inside my vagina, a mesh sling around the bladder. Couldn’t I just have my appendix out instead?
I try to put a good spin on it: this will be a a good test for me and my coping mechanisms. I have spoken up to the doctor. E. will support me, and my husband as well. I could come out of this feeling empowered. (Or demoralized.)
At home, I tell my husband about the appointment and that I am very uneasy about the surgery. “You’ll do fine,” he assures me. “You have a good doctor. It’ll all be over soon, no problem.”
I look at him for a minute. I love this man. But sometimes his even temperament and everything-will-be-fine attitude creates a space between us. I don’t want that space to be there. So I tell him, “I know you are right. But it feels like a big deal to me, and when you say it will be fine, it’s like you are dismissing it.”
Right away he gets it. “But it is a big deal! Of course it is. I was shocked when I learned how long the surgery is, not to mention the long recovery. I’m sorry. I thought you wanted reassurance, but I didn’t mean to minimize it.”
See, this is part of the reason I married him.
The day before, my inner wounded teen had told me to shut up and go away. I didn’t sit down and write with her. I did review the “being” messages, especially “you can feel all of your feelings.” But what I’m finding is that the “go away, you don’t get it” stance of the teen is transferring over to me and coloring my feelings towards E. I don’t want to text her. (And anyway, I tell myself, I need to get used to not texting her all the time. At some point she will draw the line, and I have to be able to stand it. Plus she’s going on vacation in May. Don’t lean on her, don’t lean on her, I keep telling myself. And anyway, she probably doesn’t want me to. Never mind the last thing she texted me the day before was “Feel free to keep asking.”)
I don’t text her all day. Around dinner time, she texts me.
You still there? I’m here!
I was practicing not texting you but happy to see your text.
Happy feels-like-spring day! Thought I’d reach out to let you know I was thinking of you and your growth work. I sent you an email about the women’s group. You can respond to it later.
I haven’t seen it yet, busy day, but will read.
Thanks for reaching out! Weird day but I am doing okay and happy to get your msg.
I was happy to get her message. Because although my teen self is pushing people away, my very young self doesn’t want to lose this supportive connection.
I don’t tell her about the pre-op appointment. We can talk about that in our session next week, maybe.
After dinner, I throw myself back into the grant writing. We are supposed to share a first rough draft with two colleagues tomorrow morning. I write and write and write until I can’t anymore. I crawl into bed at 2am.