Thursday, April 22, 2010

iLesson: I am not a character in my own novel

Here's what I've learned over the last week: Thyroidectomy (actually a hemithyroidectomy, I guess) maybe isn't any big deal compared to, oh, thoracic surgery, and trust me, I'm very very grateful to be dealing with one and not the other. But it's still no walk in the park.

I know. I'm a moron. But everyone has been so great pre-surgery, reassuring me that thyroid surgery is very common, you'll bounce right back, don't worry, etc. etc.. Plus, characters in books are always having these awful things happen to them, and they keep on going. And going.

All the things that happen to Harry Dresden in one book? How is this guy not dead by chapter 10? I rewatched Star Trek for the bazillionth time the other day and, omg, poor Kirk. How many times does he get strangled in that movie? (I was feeling particularly sympathetic for him on that count.)

You don't want to read about a hero with a hangnail, or a heroine who goes into a decline because someone insulted her dress at a ball. I'm all about giving characters big problems with big stakes. In The Splendor Falls, I didn't give Sylvie a torn ligament, even though that could have ended, or at least derailed, her ballet career just as well. No, I had to give her a compound fracture with the bone sticking out.

So, you know, I figured what's a little half a thyroid? Like, the size of a quarter? I'll just take two or three days off, slide that surgery right into my schedule. Doesn't even require an overnight stay in the hospital.

So here's what I know a week later:

Day Surgery: Ten years ago we would keep you in the hospital for this, but the wonders of modern healthcare mean we can now send you home to be sick and miserable in your own bed. But make no mistake, you will still be sick and miserable, just not on your insurance company's dime.

(Note: I would much rather be sick and miserable at home. Not only are hospitals full of sick people, I'd much rather be surrounded by my own stuff. I'll bet most people get better faster in their own home, but I'm lucky enough to have a live in nurse in my Mom. Of course, she did nearly close my head in the car door after I got my wisdom teeth out.)

Some discomfort: Doctor speak for "You will feel like someone cut open your throat and rooted around (very carefully) in there for two hours." They give you Vicodin for a reason.

Anesthesia: Not my friend. Soooooooo not my friend. "Ralph" on the other hand, is my very good friend. I spend a good amount of time talking to him on the porcelain phone that first couple of days.

Really. I'm a sensitive, delicate flower. I pass out out the sight of blood. Icy Hot gives me blisters. I can't take a Bendryl and then drive. What made me think I could spring right back to my normal schedule of travel and speaking engagements. *sigh*

I have to learn these things the hard way. If you've ever heard (by which I mean 'read') my story about being stupid enough to hunker down for Hurricane Claudette--in a double wide mobile home--you know that it ends with the moral: a minor hurricane is still a hurricane.*

Anyway, I'm feeling better every day, and I even drove to the store today. (Avoiding traffic, major roads, and parking anywhere I'd have to back up, since I can't turn my head to look behind me.) But I've had to cancel several events this week, including my attendance at Conestoga this weekend. I know there are many other reasons for you all to go, but I know it won't be quite as much fun without me there. (But Candy (Havens) will be there, and she's just as much fun as me, though she doesn't tell as many embarrassing stories on herself.)

*Okay, so this is as close as I come to a point of this post. So it's not really an iLesson at all, but, oh, let's call it a life lesson.


  1. omGoodness...I had no idea you had surgery. Take it easy on yourself, will ya? *sending you good wishes*

  2. You have m profound, and sadly all too well informed, sympathies.

  3. ah, Rosemary, being home with mom is the best way to get better. Yes, Vicodin is given for a reason, USE IT! And better you should stay home than be miserable in another state. Really!

    heal up!

  4. Gwen--Yeah, that's because this wasn't supposed to be a Big Deal. I was going to be back to normal like *snap* that.

    Jay Lake-- Dude, you're part of my problem. I swear to dog, I was lying in the recovery room thinking: "OMG, Jake Lake TWEETS from here. I must be the biggest weenie on the planet." *hugs*

    Sara--That was my thinking. Tulsa is a very long way away.

  5. Hey Sweet Rosemary!
    So sorry you had to go through that. The life lesson is that Surgery is Surgery, whether by Day or Night or Afternoon, and whether you get to go home right away or four days later. AND You will still hurt like hell, especially if you are sensitive, like us writer-types.

    Seriously, some people spring back more quickly than others. I am not one of those. The easiest surgery I had was when I had my gall bladder out. I truly was better in a week. But throat surgery? Arrgh. Shiver. Bllech. My hubby had surgery on his neck and they went in through his throat. He was off work for six weeks---for a reason!!

    Surgery, sigh, is surgery.

    I hope you feel better soon, but don't push yourself!! Listen to your body. It may whine to you, but if it does, there's a reason for that!


  6. Happy you're writing about your surgery, post surgery. Hooooray!

    But rest as much as possible. Even a young bod needs time to get itself back in tip-top shape. And that's not gonna' happen over night.

    Gentle hugs...

  7. Ack! Surgery is NEVER good or easy. I've skipped the Thyroid surgery bullet so far though mine are rather enlarged (yet thyroid levels are totally normal and no cancer). Sister-in-law went through this though. Ugh!

    Missed you lots at Conestoga though I probably would have seen only a few minutes of you, like I did Candace. lol. (I am a total wall flower!) Her pitch class was good and I heard she took over your class so I am sure all was well.

    Get better soon!