It was still dark when I arrived at the hospital in Bangkok early last Saturday morning. I was strong and healthy, all alone and very nervous. I signed a heap of paperwork, popped my ring, passport and wallet into a safe, changed into a very fetching surgical gown and was wheeled into surgery. There, a surgeon sliced me open and rummaged around my insides for a few hours to repair an umbilical hernia and reconnect my abdominal wall where the muscles were permanently separated during my pregnancies (I don’t remember that bit thank goodness).
I spent the next 36 hours unable to get up from my bed. I had tubes protruding from my stomach collecting blood into small bottles that looked like grenades. I was catheterised, heavily sedated and in a great deal of pain and discomfort.
It was at this point that I, somewhat ironically, reflected that the procedure took longer than the total time of my three labours, was more painful, more invasive and would take longer to recover from!
The tubes were gradually removed and the sweet, sweet sedatives administered less often. On Monday I was able to walk, with great trepidation, to the bathroom where a gentle nurse helped me wash my hair, the first step toward humanity. Yesterday, I was given a bag full of medicines and, somewhat tentatively, caught a taxi back to the hotel.
Today, I removed the bandages covering the 20cm wound across my abdomen and showered for the first time. I also walked, very slowly, to my favourite coffee shop and back again, caffeine being a great motivator for the suggested exercise. I am on the mend, missing home and looking forward to seeing my family when I return next week, though it will be six weeks before I am in full working order again.
Why have I put myself through such a trauma?
This is my reward.
Over the last 10 months, I have undergone a major physical transformation. I am strong and fit and healthy. I am not skinny but I have released 9 kilos from my frame. Regular exercise, a change in diet and a change in attitude mean that for the FIRST time in 40 years, I love and appreciate my body.
Nevertheless, the hernia has been a persistent and painful problem that no amount of Pilates or core strengthening has been able to alleviate. The bloody thing would ‘pop out’ at the gym or during more ‘intimate exercise’ (yep, you DO know what I mean, not a turn on baby!) It was sore and often swollen. Though my bikini days are long behind me, it was also pretty weird looking.
So this New Year, G and I added “Fix Pippy’s Hernia” to our annual bucket list and now it has actually happened.
I am very grateful to my mum who has flown over to help wrangle the kids during my absence and recovery. I also know that G will step up and take care of his girls. But still, I have worried and fretted about going away. I bought enough toilet paper, detergent, nappies and soap to last until christmas. I wrote lists and allocated jobs and even hired someone to drive mum and the kids to school, but in the end they will all be fine without me.
I am going to rest, recover, watch Madmen, 30 Rock and Game of Thrones, sleep until 8am every morning and read a book… maybe even two.
I will return to my family a little stronger, a little tighter around the middle and a just little closer to FABULOUS!
Thanks for reading. It makes me feel Fabulous!