I had hip replacement surgery on March 11th, 2013. I wrote the following the day before surgery, but didn’t post it because…well. I didn’t. But here you go, if you’re interested in what goes on in my head when I’m not writing dick jokes for children.
I’m getting a new hip tomorrow. This will be my fourth major surgery in, oh…26 months? I rarely talk about this, but I have a degenerative joint disorder that’s sort of like arthritis and a lot like having quick drying cement in between all your bones. It’s called Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia. It’s extremely painful. I don’t like talking about it. Little Karla still has a lot of bitterness about walking like a goddamn duck through most of grade school, until some nice doctors broke both her legs at age 13 (It was a corrective procedure, I didn’t owe them money or anything. Though presumably my parents did after the surgery). Things got a little better after that, but I’ve know since I was 8 years old that multiple hip replacements and probably a wheelchair were in my future. It sucks, it hurts, it’s often humiliating and embarrassing, and I deal with it.
I don’t necessarily deal with it well (see, 36 years of semi-to-outright reckless behavior), but I deal with it.
My left hip has been replaced three times (twice in the past two years), and on Monday doctors will finally swap precision ceramic and metal “science stuff” for the crumpled newspapers and broken light bulbs that are currently making up my right hip. On the outside, it will still look like an outrageus shelf booty…on the inside? I look like an AT-AT walker.
On top of the hip surgeries, I also had a hysterectomy not too long ago. My body finally realized I should have been eaten by wolves long ago, and decided to hit the self-destruct button on my uterus for the good of the herd. Not having children was the choice I probably would have made – because children are selfish, vile little buckets of hate and nastiness and I don’t like them – but it’s never fun having your decisions made for you.
Once again, I dealt with it.
In the days and weeks leading up to surgery you are repeatedly warned about all the complications that “probably-won’t-but-we’re-legally-obligated-to-tell-you-in-graphic-horrifying-detail-MIGHT occur.” I know them by heart now: bleeding, infection, death, nerve damage, paralysis, coma, brain damage…I have a stack of papers on file with the hospital that can be summarized “Pull the plug.” If I need a feeding tube, pull the plug. Need a respirator, pull the plug. Taking a nap and look pretty comfortable…pull the plug. My greatest fear is getting trapped in this shitty, broken down body.
The closest I’ll ever come to knowing how an athlete feels before a big game (for pretty fucking obvious reasons) is in the few days before a surgery. I start shutting the outside world down. I crawl into my head and methodically close off my emotions, my fear. The worry the surgery will go wrong or fail (it happened two years ago, and I spent a year in pain before they fixed it), that a scalpel will slip…it’s so overwhelming that I HAVE to shut it all down. I have to seal the scared part of me away and look straight ahead, unwavering.
I am a professional. I will deal with this.
There’s not a lot of room for the people who love me during this time. I’m vulnerable and raw and nervy. I make a lot of truly horrifying jokes, but other than that, I’m silent. I’ve got my game face on. I don’t have room for you in my head right now. I love you, but I’m busy dealing with this.
I am a machine. I will deal with this.
I prioritize. I viciously slash what has to be done now and what can wait. I delegate housecleaning and dog walking and I pay all the bills and I grocery shop for nourishing, easy to prepare foods that won’t be too much trouble for Jay to fix, and I pack my hospital bag, and I wash myself with antiseptic soap twice daily as ordered by my doctor and I masturbate until I run out of batteries (because I won’t get a chance to for a while), and I do laundry and load books I’ll never read on my Kindle, and I delete all my porn in case I die.
I am selfish and do what I want. I eat non-stop and play video games and pop an extra vicodin to make the video games more fun.
I love you, but I have to deal with this.
Fingers crossed (and legs very much not) it will go okay tomorrow. But if it doesn’t…We’ll deal with it
Note: The surgery did not go well. When I woke up after the surgery I was informed my leg had been broken during the procedure. I spent 36 hours waiting for them to redo the replacement, which required five hours of surgery, four units of blood, and a week recovering in the hospital.
I dealt with it.
I’m fine now.
Update to the Update:
I am participating in my first Triathlon on August 9th, 2014. I dealt the FUCK out of this year.
It’ll be good to get my game face on for real.