It all started about three hours after my surgery. I ran my tongue along the gums of my bottom jaw and felt the telltale peel-back of skin. For some reason, I’m “difficult to intubate” resulting in getting scraped clear to the bone with the intubation tube somewhere in the process. It’s happened once before, during a finger surgery, nine years ago. I felt the hole in my gum and mentally began preparing for battle.
Week One – no problem. I was down for the count with Mom and Mark on the home front caring for Miller while I cocooned in my sweet bedroom suite.
Week Two – Here comes the mouth pain, which is far worse than my recovering belly. I called the dentist for a sample of Orabase – a paste that dries to the gum creating a type of Band-Aid. It worked last time. Unfortunately, this time the scrape was low enough that my tongue kept dislodging the paste, even after I waited the recommended drying time. Fail. So I try to chew only on the left side of my mouth and stop eating once the pain reaches my temple.
Week Three – Post-op appointment at which my surgeon says the word you never want to hear: “Infection.” Followed by week-long doses of antibiotic. Good news: my mouth stops hurting.
Week Four – I get a weird taste in my mouth that won’t go away – well you did just change toothpaste – and my throat feels slightly cotton-ball like – you know, one step before scratchy. Corn pollen, Jamie. That’s the corn pollen.
Week Five – I take a selfie with my niece to discover this weird alien appendage, formerly known as a tongue, protruding from my mouth.
Wtf. I get home and use a tongue scraper on it, and then a straw on the way back stuff, and then my toothbrush making me retch like a fur-ball laden cat.
Finally, I cave and mention it to Dr. Mark. “Jamie, that’s Thrush. Side effect from the antibiotic.”
COME ON MAN!!! No wonder my mouth had a funny taste and my throat felt funny.
This whole debacle reminds me of a pesky sibling who irritates you for the sheer pleasure of getting a reaction. My brother used to stick his finger within inches of my face sending me to shrieking.
“What, I’m not touching you,” he’d say making a poking gesture.
“Jamie, just ignore him for goodness’ sake” mom intoned.
Sometimes siblings can’t be ignored. They keep jabbing at you with a mocking, “I know you are but what am I?” comeback.
The past five weeks have been an annoying sibling. Each new surgical setback is another jab with the finger, another mocking response.
So here’s my retaliation – a good ole fashioned airing of grievances. This isn’t whining, and it isn’t tattling. It’s a simple acknowledgment. Yes I see you, I hear you, and I’m done being affected by you. Are you finished now?
You know what doesn’t help an airing of grievances? Any type of reply, either self-imposed or from others, that begins with “at least”.
At least you had the surgery.
At least you feel better.
At least you didn’t die!
(For the record, no one besides Snarky has actually said these things to me.)
You know what “at leasts” are? Guilt trips disguised as perspective. Negativity guised as a glass-half full reaction. In other words, they’re bullshit.
At least nothing. My mouth hurt, antibiotics made my bowels a mess, everything tasted bad, and then I got Thrush. Fact, fact, fact, fact. No at least. Just fact.
But in the meantime, here’s what else has been going on in my life. I’ve been working nearly every day on the Light Series that launches here tomorrow, and I’m beyond excited about it. It has single-handedly been the biggest, most welcome distraction through all of this. My brother-in-law stayed with us for a few nights this past week (he’s cool), and we spent time with family whom we don’t see often yesterday (they’re fun). I’ve had playdates and lunch dates and Skype dates with girlfriends (girlfriends are lifesavers). I started incorporating bright colors into my wardrobe (and love it). Oh, and my fingernails look amazing. Oh! AND I CAN START WORKING OUT AGAIN NEXT WEEK!!!
That’s the good stuff. That’s where my focus goes. I’m not ignoring the facts; I’m acknowledging them.
Yep, my tongue still feels weird. And yep, it’s really not that interesting at all. But writing this installment?
Now that’s worth my time and attention, for goodness’ sake.