Surgery & Emma

I’m back!   Most of me, except for the part that was left behind in the hospital.  When I came to, my husband was holding my hand.  “You look like you’re twenty years old,” he said, stroking my arm.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t possible as I had been hung upside down for the past four and a half hours and so my upper body and face were so swollen I could barely open my bloated eyes enough to see.  I had a moment of wondering whether we’d worked out some sort of agreement that he would say something ridiculous to make me laugh before I went under, but I don’t think so.  That’s just the way Richard is.  He came up with it all on his own.    And it worked.  I laughed.  But then it hurt to laugh, so I told him he had to stop saying things like that.

Along with my paranoia of hospitals stemming from childhood, I was focused on getting home.  Immediately.  While it wasn’t immediate, Richard did manage to get me into our own bed by 9:00PM that night.  When Emma bounced into our bedroom at 6:00AM the following morning she stopped, mid bounce and looked at me quizzically.  “It’s Mommy!”  she said, pointing at me and grinning.  “Mommy’s back!”  When she saw the four incisions in my abdomen, she said, “Mommy has boo-boos.  Mommy had to go to the hospital.   Mommy had to go to the hospital with Emma.  We have to go together.”

“No, Em.  You don’t have to go to the hospital.  I already went.  Just me.  Now I’m home and I’m going to be fine.”

“Just you and me go to the hospital,” Emma said, sitting carefully on the edge of the bed near me.  Then she began to cry.  I wasn’t sure exactly why she was crying, but I did my best to reassure her.  “It’s going to be okay,” she said, sniffling.  “Mommy’s back.”

There is one really annoying side effect from having had surgery, that is, evidently, inevitable.  Constipation.  For years, literally years Emma was plagued with gastro-intestinal problems, resulting in severe constipation.  I’ve written countless posts about it and our attempts to help her.  When I am feeling better and have the time, I plan to reorganize this blog into topics such as:  constipation, sensory issues, obsessions, etc.  I’m convinced Emma’s constipation was complicated by sensory issues and a whole host of other things I may never fully understand.  What I do know is that if you’ve never experienced  constipation, and I can gratefully say I never had until this surgery, it is not something that can be adequately described in all it’s horror.  However, I feel I have new insight into how awful it must have been for Emma, for all those years, unable to feel the need to go, yet trying, her sluggish intestines not able to do the work required, her sensory issues perhaps making it impossible for her to know what to do when she did feel any sensation that suggested a need to use the toilet.  The hours she would sit crying because no matter how hard she tried, nothing would come out, or if anything did it was so impacted and painful she wished it hadn’t.

In a moment of panic I decided that all I would eat were fresh fruits and yesterday I made a pot of brown rice with carrots, cauliflower and chicken broth.  Richard found some herbal tea with Senna that was the single best thing I’ve tried so far.  Knowing that the pain medication was contributing to the constipation, I stopped taking any pain meds after the first 24 hours.  I’m still taking a sleeping pill at night, but hopefully will be able to taper that off in the next few days.

One final word, thank you to everyone who has reached out to me over these past few days.  It has meant so much.  Richard is pampering me and making me laugh.  I’m not jewish, but I’ve picked up a couple of things in my life living in New York – in yiddish there’s a word for a man like Richard – mensch.  He’s a mensch.  I’m sure there’s an equivalent word for one’s children, I just don’t know what it is, in english it would be – blessings, they are blessings, and I am filled with gratitude.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:  Emma’s Hope Book

4 responses to “Surgery & Emma

  1. Yes, Richard is a Mensch, German for person, and in Yiddish I think it has the sense of being a real human being, a sensitive, compassionate person who can empathize, and love. Probably Richard would be nominated for a Mensch-Oscar, and in my book, he would win!

  2. I’m glad you’re on the mend, and that your husband is such a mensch. (Literally, it means “human being” and implies “a person of integrity and honor.”)

  3. So glad to hear you are on the mend!! Best wishes!!!

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