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I feel like someone punched me in the vagina!

Issue Date: Monday, Apr. 02, 2007

Settle around little ones. It is story time. I have mentioned this topic in passing (very briefly); once in 2003 and another time in 2004; but I have yet to give you the full version. Would you like for me to tell you the story? Yes? Alrighty, then.

It all started the year I hit puberty. No, no… come back here y’all. I will be brief (cha-right), if not a little gory.

I started my period at school one day, while I was using the ladies room. I did not have one of those embarrassing wearing-white-trousers-on-the-first-day-of-your-first-cycle-ever stories. I started my period quietly. I had already been told about pads and tampons, but I did not have any with me. I stuffed a wad of toilet paper in my sensible cotton panties and called my mother.

I was very excited you see, because I knew that once I started my period? I was a woman.

My mother picked me up from middle school, took me to the drug store to pick up my purchases of pads and tampons and then I went home and tried everything out. Yes, my mother was the one who taught me how to insert a tampon and use a pad. My sister had started years before me but was so painfully shy and modest that she wouldn’t even utter the word “period”. “Oh, Susan, shut up, you are embarrassing me!” “Mom! Would you make her stop asking me these awful questions?” My mother would lead me into another room and try to give me the answers that I had asked my sister, but I wanted a teenage woman’s perspective.

When my father got home that evening I rushed into the living room and jumped into his lap exclaiming, “Daddy! I got my period today! I am NOW a woman [dramatic flair, back of the hand to the forehead or something just as gay]… can I get my ears pierced?” Luckily he did not instantaneously burst into flames with embarrassment but showed what I considered proper awe and the permission to get my ears pierced.

Rock on.

All the women in my family were blessed with heavy flows and monster cramps. We had prescription medication that was dolled out like it was manna from heaven. Little did I know that what I was taking would be released many years later in the form of Aleve (Aleve, recalled December 20, 2004 – awesome).

So, the heavy flow? Check. The cramps? Check. The changing pads and tampons many times daily (sometimes wearing both at once)? Checkity Check Check. (Bitches.)

I remember one Christmas when my parents were living in Colorado that we all went skiing as a family. My mother and I clomped into the bathroom stalls in the warming hut after a run down the mountain. Our ski boots making our strides ungainly. She and I took stalls side by side and after tinkling, when I went to wipe (guys… seriously, turn away if you are squeamish) my lady parts a massive blood clot and a quite impressive amount of blood splattered the stall, my boots and my hands. I asked for some more toilet paper from my mother in the stall next to me (I was trying to clean it all up… quietly). She went to hand me some more paper, saw the gore on the floor and on my boots and quite frankly, she freaked right the fuck out.

“Are you hemorrhaging? Oh, Dear Lord, this can not be good… Honey, are you okay?” “Mom, I am fine. It is just a heavy flow day.” “Heavy flow? HEAVY FLOW?!”

And it went downhill (heh, no ski pun intended) from there.

I was married in 1994 and got NoroPlant, then Depro Provera, then Ortho Novum 777, in quick succession. All made me throw up every morning, made me gain weight, made me lose weight or just made me sick. I was trying my best not to get pregnant. So along with the lower dosage birth control pill and a condom my husband and I had a normal* sex life.

(*shut up.)

One evening in May of 1997 I was up late chatting and smoking with a girlfriend. She was telling me about a miscarriage that she had a few months (or a year?) before. We talked about it, went over every detail, let her grieve and get mad and bonded over our shared secrets. She had left her car at the top of the red mud slip and slide that I called a driveway so at about 3 a.m. I took her back up to her car in my truck. We hugged and said good night. I watched her start her car and drive away.

I turned the truck back towards the house and the slip and slide of a driveway when the first cramp hit. It hit so hard that my foot slipped off of the clutch and I stalled the truck out. I breathed in through my nose and out my mouth for a few seconds to get the cramp back where it belonged (gone) and started the truck again. I made it halfway down the hill when another cramp hit. This one was bigger than the one before. I slid forward in my seat to make sure my feet didn’t slide off of the pedals of the clutch and the break and I made my way slowly down the hill.

When I got to the bottom, I stopped the truck as close to the porch entry as I could and I basically fell out of the cab. I kept my footing and headed into the house. I knew better than to call my husband who was on night shift for the local police department so I thought I would just take an Ibuprophen or two and head to bed.

When my husband got home at 6:30 the next morning I told him about the cramps, what had happened the night before and that I did not think I could go to work. He handed me the phone to call my boss. I did so, with regret as we had several contracts to finalize that day. I told my boss that it was a girl thing and that I would be in as soon as I could.

After I hung up the phone I tried to make myself go to sleep. No luck. I had been tossing and turning with pain since I got back to the house just after 3 a.m. I kept tossing and turning and I even went into the office to the little twin sized bed that was my comfort place when I lived with the redneck mafia. Still no luck with the sleeping. I needed drugs. I needed … I don’t know, chocolate… I needed to not hurt. I gave my husband a few hours rest and then I asked him to take me into town to the drug store. You read that right. THE drug store. Gah.

He took me into town to an Eckerd’s on North Street and I called my girlfriend who had been with me the night before. I asked her to meet me at the Eckerd’s and that I thought something was wrong. In no time the ex had parked in front of the Eckerd’s and had gone inside to mouth breath all over the things he didn’t understand that I needed. Pain medication? Chocolate? Pads and tampons? Huh? Gah, just go. Here’s a list. Ask for some help, as I am having trouble staying upright and I don’t feel like taking a face plant into the asphalt or the tile floor inside.

My girlfriend arrived and came to the side of the car I was in. She knelt beside me, asked me what was going on… while another girlfriend stood over us looking worried. I told her everything that was happening and she said, “Hold on baby, let me call my mother.” She called her brilliant doctor mother and repeated all of my symptoms via phone. Her mother told her, “Do not wait. Get her to the emergency room right now… RIGHT NOW.”

One girlfriend ran into the Eckerd’s to collect the husband and the other told me to hold on. By this time it was about 6 p.m. and the pain had gotten worse with each hour.

They all raced around and got me to the emergency room and there I was triaged (is that a verb?... whatever) and then they sent me into a lab where they asked if I was pregnant. “No. pe-shaw.” They sent me into another lab where they did a sonogram and then an internal sonogram. The radiologist or tech or whomever was shoving that thing so far up into my innards that I am sure she found New England. She also had a grim expression on her face. I am not sure if it was because of what she was seeing on the monitor, or because of the sheer force she was using and straining her arm muscles trying to find Nova Scotia in my uterus as well.

After the vaginal assault I was taken into another room. In this one my husband was standing in a corner, and the resident OB-GYN (Haskins?) was sitting on a stool. He told me that he was going to have to do a pelvic exam. Oh, joy. I had been in solid pain since 3 a.m. the night before, I had been through triage, an external and an internal sonogram (sonogram tech: “I found Hoffa!”) and now he wanted to shove a speculum or maybe his whole forearm up into my princess. I took a deep breath, steeled myself for the pain and breathed my way through it.

When he was through, the doctor stood up, turned to me and my husband (after slipping off the surgical gloves) and said this, “I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that you are pregnant. The bad news is that we have to take the baby. You have a tubal pregnancy and we need to get you into surgery now.”

First of all. Who says that? What part of that is good news? And why would he personalize what was basically going to be an abortion by telling me, “We have to take the baby.” Huh?

So, yeah. I was sort of in shock. With the news, the pain, the … well, everything. I needed someone to take my hand, or even touch my face and tell me that everything was going to be okay. I just needed a little bit of support. I turned to my husband and his face was blank. No, “It’s going to be alright baby. You are going to do fine.” No, “I am so sorry love.” Nothing. Blank. Dead.

So, as I had always done, I turned to the matter at hand and took over. “How long until I go into surgery?” “Immediately, we can not wait another minute, with you being in labor, your body is pushing to deliver a baby that is in your right tube. I don’t know how you got this far along without your tube bursting and you bleeding out.” “Okay, so… now.” “Yes, now.” “Alright.”

I turned to my husband. By this time it was almost time for him to go back into work. It was about 9:30 p.m., “I want you to go on into work. Please call my parents, assure them that I am alright, call Lisa… actually, you just go to work, have Sil call my parents and Lisa.” And with that I dismissed him. I only made one more request, that if Jay (a dear, dear friend) was working in the hospital that evening, I wanted him in on the scrub team.

I was wheeled out of the lab and into the OR, Jay was there and as I scooted my ass over onto that little crucifix looking table, he said, “It’s going to be alright Sue.” That was all I needed. They put me under.

During the surgery they made a small incision into my belly button and filled me up with CO2 or some type of gas. They tried to do the surgery via laparoscopy but when they got inside they found I was too far along in the pregnancy to do the surgery that way, so… they pulled out the equipment, pushed the air out (I think that is what they do after you have been blown up like a human balloon) and then gave me a c-section to work on my right tube that way.

I have no idea how far along I was. All I know it that it was about the size of a walnut. Or a pecan with its shell on. I haven’t really wanted to look up how far along I was. I really don’t want to know. So if you know the answer… please keep it to yourself.

When I woke up from (the second time, I was in recovery the first time) Jay was there. He was there to answer my questions and tell me why I was going to be sore. He was there to tell me that they had to shove all of my internal organs up into my chest cavity. He was there to tell me that my uterus was tiny, healthy and pink. He was there to tell me that the doctor did a good job on my tube. He said that the tube was very vascular and the blood supply was good. The doctor thought I could get pregnant again.

It was comforting knowing that I had someone on my team. That I knew someone that was in on my surgery.

What was not comforting was that I had no health insurance, so by 4 a.m. I was pacing the room, heedless to the twelve staples that traversed the skin of my lower abdomen from hip to hip and the IV stand that I drug around with me. I just wanted to go home. I was aware that this emergency operation was something that I could not afford. And I knew, I KNEW that even if my husband signed his name on the dotted line to take care of the finances that he wouldn’t.

I called my husband and asked him to take me home… I called the nurse on duty and asked her to release me. I called in every favor, I begged, I pleaded, I still didn’t get out of there until 11 am.

Two nights with no rest? No big deal. I got some sleep while under general anesthesia. I had stuff to do. I had to go back to work. I had hospital bills to pay.

And then? My mother came into town. She flew in from Denver the moment she heard about my surgery. She knew that my husband had to work the night shift and I had a six year old stepdaughter to take care of. She wanted to be there for me. She wanted to comfort me. She wanted to help me with housework, meals, laundry and driving me to and from my various doctors’ appointments.

I? Didn’t know how to let her. I was so hard, but so fragile. I thought if she showed me the smallest kindness that I would start screaming or crying or both and would never be able to stop. So instead? I made her cry. I told her that my friends could take me to the appointments. That I would make dinner, I would do the laundry. I am still not sure if it was that she needed to be needed and I didn’t know how to let her that made her break down. Or the fact that I was so far gone and hard to everything that made her cry, but cry she did.

It will be ten years this May that I had that surgery.

One thing that I was right about, X didn’t take care of the medical bill. When I divorced him I told him that I would take the majority of the bills but because his name was on the medical bills from the hospital that he would have to take that one. He agreed. Almost a year after I left and the divorce was final (three years after the surgery) he finally paid the bill. Only because I held the deed to his property when I took a loan out to keep us from going bankrupt. The deed that his mother forged his father’s name on.


Anyway, the reason that I am getting all wordy about this is because I have dropped several hints about this in the past and… I also went to have several procedures done on Tuesday of last week.

I went in to get a tubal ligation, an ablation and a bladder sling.

The tubal ligation was a given, the ablation was a secondary thing that would make sure that I couldn’t get pregnant… remember, when I got pregnant with X I was on the pill and we used a condom.

And the bladder sling? I was so incredibly sick of basically being incontinent at 34. Sneeze? I would pee. Laugh? I would pee. Run, jump on a trampoline, dance, orgasm, you name it… I would pee. Not a bunch, but do you know how self conscious it made me to believe I had a pee droplet on my britches somewhere? How I would have these awful daydreams that I smelled like a nursing home?

Family who knew us and knew of our plans were very supportive. One question kept coming up. “Why doesn’t Mister get snipped?” Well, to be honest, “Fuck off” is not something that bodes good will and joy within a family. And also to be honest. My shit was broken. There was already a large percentage that if I got pregnant again, it would be in my tube… and I refuse to go through that again. I wanted to be sure that I couldn’t get pregnant with the double whammy of tubal ligation (cut off the path) and an ablation (make the uterus uninhabitable). And also, Mister’s shit wasn’t broken, why mess with it? Hmmm? I like him just as he is. Perfect. And on a selfish note, the sneeze/pee combo was NOT a winner.

So last Tuesday, I went in for my triple threat operation: Uterus Barren… side note bladder.

To those of you who have had issues with getting pregnant and are taking offense at my cavalier attitude with being barren. You don’t know me. You don’t know all the decisions that mounted up to make this one the right one for Mister and I. You only know the one that I described above. This is nothing personal against or about you. It was our decision. Ours.

Everyone was so very kind at the hospital. They were friendly and kind and it was nothing like I had experienced before. The staff at Baylor Medical Center Frisco deserve 5 stars. They were comforting, they were gentle, they tried to put me at ease, they hovered around me like I was a queen. They did everything in their powers to do what they had promised to do.

My doctors, my OB-GYN and my Urologist were awesome and so very kind, they took care of me. I had taken off Tuesday and Wednesday and told my boss that I would like to keep Thursday and Friday in the hopper for Personal Time Off just in case. My boss knew I was having some sort of procedure having to do with girl stuff, but if I would have told him anything else, he would have turned purple and fainted.

So Tuesday Mister took me to the hospital and they triaged me, took my vitals, made me pee in a cup (for a pregnancy test!), weighed me, put anti-embolism stockings on me, took blood, hooked up my IV and all with a chatter, a pat, a smile, and talking sweetly to Mister and made us both feel very comfortable. By the time they rolled me out with a quick kiss from Mister it was a little after one.

They put me under after I scooted my ass onto the crucifix table with a little bit of déjà vu’ and then I woke up.

The surgeries were supposed to be about two hours total… so when I woke up in recovery the second thing I asked (the first was, “Do you have something I may throw up into, please?”.... see… a very considerate vomiter) was, “What time is it?” “Just past three thirty.” “Shit, is my husband freaking out?” “He’s fine honey.” “Seriously, can I have something to vomit into?... BLARGH”

I had to stay in recovery part one … and then recovery part two… where I kept throwing up. Mister said I was very polite about it. Held it in my mouth and everything until he could find something for me to spew into. See? I can be nice.

We were there until 6:30 p.m. and a little bit of the old panic came back, and I was all, “What’s it going to take for me to get out of here?” Nurse replied, “First you have to stop vomiting and second, you need to urinate.” I was all, “I’m on it.” And rushed to get up to go pee. Not remembering that I had health insurance and a husband who was there to help and protect me and take care of me.

Then the bad news came.

“Susan, we were not able to do the tubal ligation.” “What!?” “Well, there was so much scar tissue in there that we couldn’t get the tube in for the gas for the laparoscopy. We tried twice… you will be a bit** bruised and you have two incisions in your belly button.”

**a bit… AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh, my, that was funny. I feel as though someone cut off my legs and beat me with them. You should see the rainbow of bruising that is my tummy. Lord. I look like a Lifetime movie of the week.

So… they were able to do the ablation, and the bladder (neck) sling. I have vomited, laughed, sneezed, coughed and all!?!? With no pee. AWESOME!

But no tubal ligation. Booooooo.

On Monday next I have follow up doctor’s appointments with my OB-GYN and my Urologist. I am totally going to ask for this.

Oh, and the sweetest thing. Jules sent me a card to console me on my break up with cheese. I have to admit. It has been tough, and I did have a few slices (tee tiny ones) of Havarti the weekend of the Kerr Krew get together (it was all Marly’s fault… she is my cheese dealer) but other than that, I have been very good. And if the scale at the hospital is to be trusted, I am almost 5 pounds lighter than the Monday before last.

And about the Kerr Krew weekened? What happened at Kerr Krew stays at Kerr Krew.

Glad to be back, even though I feel like someone punched me in the vagina!


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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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