Progressively Moving Backward

04 Aug

I am incredibly frustrated at how slowly I seem to be healing. Is this my body’s way of saying “Sit down and shut up!”? I had a couple days of higher level activity and last night I ended up taking half a Darvocet because I was spiking a 3-4 on the Oh-My-God-It-Really-Fucking-Hurts o’meter. Today I was a little sore but no big deal so I sorted piles of old mail. Now I’m at about a three again. I feel like I did two weeks out of surgery. I am ready and raring to go but my body itself keeps planting a metaphorical hand in my chest and shoving me back into the chair. I can almost hear some big tough guy from the Bent Nose Brigade telling me “Siddown an Shaddap”.

What’s sad is that in the back of my mind I feel like I’m being lazy. I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING. Yes I understand on a logical level that writing this blog helps people and that’s doing something. With our finances the way they are though and this being our business slow season I feel like I should be doing something to contribute economically to our household.

People tell me, and I’ve passed this advice on to others, my job is to heal. But for how LONG? Someone emailed me a few days ago saying she wants her life back.

So do I sweetie. So do I.


2 responses to “Progressively Moving Backward

  1. Mark J Bennett

    August 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Everything you wanted to know but were unable to find out…

    My name is Mark and I am the husband. My wife had a double mastectomy with latissimus flap reconstruction and they were able to save the nipples. The care and skills used were exemplary but in dealing with the after care, I was not prepared or well informed. I am writing on the off chance that anyone looking for some information or solace will end up here as I did.
    My wife had all procedures done at one time, 8 hours of surgery, and awoke in the ICU. Despite a morphine drip and additional shots of the same I can only describe her pain as staggering. She is the strongest woman I have ever known when it comes to physical pain and, although everyone is different, she was in absolute agony. The next few couple of days was spent holding her hand and wishing there was some way of taking the pain from her. Frustrating, exhausting and soul destroying and there was nothing I could do except be there every second. Transferring from the ICU to another floor where the nurses had more patient to deal with, getting pain medication and attention was not quite so efficient or forthcoming. On day 3 I took her home. Despite the continued pain and distress she was no longer allowed morphine and was put on oxycodone which barely kept her at pain level 8 (10 being unbearable). We made this decision together because the food sucked, the environment was not conducive to healing and the constant awakening by staff meant no peace at all.
    Pain level 8, weak, miserable we got her into the car and home. The pain killers were set for every 4 hours – when you wife is crying and looking at you with eyes that say ‘please help me’…I’m not that strong and when she needed the pain to go away I would give her the pain killers. I never gave her so many that it was dangerous but the bottle we were given dissapeared and I can only thank the stars for the bottle of percocet I had in the closet from a recent dental visit. Those vanished as well.
    For any man who’s partner is about to go through this or is currently dealing with post surgical care I would relay these thoughts: be prepared for a tough road. You will have to do everything for her and no matter how compassionate or empathic you may be it will start to drain you. You must get rest or sleep if you can and if you can reel in some help you trust, then do so. Cooking, cleaning, washing, changing the bandages, draining the bottles and stripping the tubes, assisting with bathing and bathroom – all easy. the hardest part is the worry and the stress that sneaks up on you. When she wants to see the scars and sees the back where they cut…I didn’t want her to see because when she first came out of surgery the only word I could think of was ‘butchery’. Be patient. 3 days after and the back was healing up well and the swelling was down 50%. There was always the worry about the skin or the nipples dying and when her left breast was still stone cold 3 days later and began forming blood sack blisters I was terrified but could not let her know of my fears. Although all logic told me that if the breast was dying there would not be sensation (which there was) nor would there be bright red skin with purple and brown from blood and bruising (which there was) I needed to hear her surgeon say everything was fine.
    Combined with her inability to sleep more than a couple of hours before waking up in pain and the tightness and swelling and….the list goes on we called the surgeon, expressed our concerns and went back in. Everything was good! RELIEF!. Nothing was dying. New paid meds which I recommend from day one: HYDROMORPHONE 4mg. What a difference. Pain completely manageable and sleeping well – she’s smiling and mobile, no more agony or tears and I can now focus on helping her potter around and get better.
    Synopsis: Be strong and when you fell stressed and unable to cope without resentment or being snappy take a break. Step back. You need micro breaks and rest. Once you have your partner to a point of ‘stable’ you will find the relief quite substantial, as will she. Her job is to get well and yours is everything else but don’t judge everything from what is immediate – she will heal and get better as the days go by and it will be quicker ans easier for her the more she knows she can rely on you to just be there. Try and imagine her perspective and just be there.

    • Herbwoman

      August 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm


      I am SO proud of you for being such an amazing, stand-up guy for your wife. Thanks for contributing your personal experiences here. I appreciate what you have shared and I know my other readers will appreciate you reaching out and sharing during such a difficult time.


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