This morning I woke up at 3:00 am and my mind immediately started to race. Typically the random nightly wake ups that have not receded since the day my oldest son was born are simply met with the act of stealing the covers back from Geoff (or the numerous cats), a shift in position, and the ability to almost instantly fall back asleep. But not last night. Instead, the wheels in my mind instantly start spinning (or as Geoff would say “the squirrels started running”) and among the other things that consistently race around in my head when I can’t sleep, I found myself stressing over this impending hernia surgery, less than 48 hours away.
It’s funny who two little words can completely change your outlook on something. Up until the other day, I was excited to have this surgery. I know, who gets excited over surgery? This girl right here who is thrilled to finally have health insurance again, that’s who. I miss being able to train hard, and even complete simple gym tasks such as holding a plank without pain and fear if intestinal impingement, so as far as I was concerned, the sooner the doctor cut me open the better. Surgical consultation went well, the doctor assured me that within 48 hours I’d be feeling better, and in 1-2 weeks I’d be back to my old shenanigans. No big deal.
And then the pre-op department at the hospital called. Among all of the questions they are mandated to ask, such as “have you recently left the country” or “are you allergic to latex”, the kind woman on the phone asked me if I had a living will in place or anyone assigned as a power of attorney.
I know these questions are simply formalities. And while I’m sure the risks of death or need of a living will with this specific surgery are probably minuscule at best, it still hit me like a ton of bricks. My body has failed and I need to be surgically cut open, fixed, and stitched closed. This is kind of a big deal after all. (Other than wisdom teeth extraction, I’ve never had surgery before, so forgive me if I sound a bit dramatic.)
So after hours of tossing and turning and wondering exactly how bad this “burning sensation in the abdomen” my doctor described is going to feel (Heartburn? Sunburn? Blistering hot coal poker being repeatedly stabbed into my gut?), I got out of bed and did what any good thirty something in this day and age would do:
I got on Facebook and asked complete strangers for their horror stories and opinions.
Yes, it’s true. A move even more sinful and controversial than Web-MD’ing your symptoms and convincing yourself you have the rarest form of a disease that likely isn’t even possible in the region you live in, is to go onto an online forum of complete, unqualified, strangers and ask for their medical opinions. Truth be told, it wasn’t opinions I was seeking, but more of war stories and battle scars…and how realistic this “2 weeks until resuming regular activity” statement could be (again, from complete strangers whose medical situations and complications may have been exactly – or nothing at all- like mine). As I suspected, from people who had similar surgeries both just last month and upwards of 25 years ago, the prognosis was not good.
Have no fear, internet, I’m not freaking out. Or at least not yet.
But I have suddenly realized that this little “bump” in the road may knock me down slightly longer than originally anticipated, and that in and of itself is something that needs to be anticipated. Because you see friends, I don’t sit still well.
Often I’m asked by non runners how I can enjoy running, or for that matter even exercise, as much as I do. The truth is, I don’t know how to function any differently. My body NEEDS movement, in the same way that it needs oxygen, water, and nutrients. During forced sedentary times, I feel my brain start to turn to mush the same way it would after watching a marathon of “The Real Housewives of (enter your city here)” or playing hours worth of Candy Crush. It’s not a lack of attention span, or adult onset ADHD (is that even a thing?) but instead some sort of deep, instinctual drive to just MOVE.
Therefore, NOT moving must be planned for as to avoid self implosion. Perhaps now would be a great time to start my continuing education reading for the next three years of my fitness credentials (which recently got updated by the way, I’m now an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist). I can finally finish reading “Born to Run”, and no longer wonder if I’m the last runner on earth to have NOT read that book. I’ll write the guest blog posts I agreed to writing months ago. I don’t really watch TV or movies…but I guess I could. At least for a bit. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually start practicing yoga again (and by again, I mean start back up with the very beginner basics I left off with. The stuff that won’t overly engage my core and bust open my stitches.)
Once again, I have no compelling conclusion to this blog post. It certainly wasn’t supposed to come across as a “woe is me” post (I’m quite grateful for the ability to have this issue corrected), but instead a “verbal vomit” piece. I do feel better having put these thoughts out into the universe. So we’ll conclude with the following bullet points:
- I’m more afraid of sitting still than surgery
- I’m looking for book, movie, and other things people do while sitting still recommendations