Tuesday, October 6, 2015

That thing on a Mac where the little beachball spins and spins and spins...

That feels like my life right now.  Hurry up and wait.

It's maddening.

At least I'm getting my house clean in the meantime. There's no cleaning like stress cleaning.

But enough about that.
About 2-3 weeks post op

SO you have heart surgery and you're left with this big fuck off scar on your chest that you have to go out in the world with. There are two approaches to this.

1. High necks, and scarves, cover that bitch up, hate it, think it's ugly, let it make you unhappy, ignore the fact that it's the reason you get to stay alive, agonize over WHAT PEOPLE WILL THINK.

2. Wear it. Wear it loud, wear it proud. Get a kickass bra and push your tits up around it. Look you had another person SAW OPEN YOUR RIBCAGE AND PHYSICALLY HANDLE YOUR HEART. That's pretty bad ass. Think about it, we've all dated that that person who turns into the biggest whiny baby the second they get a head cold, or the one who gets a wrist fracture and acts like they need to go on disability or something. Meanwhile you've had your guts stripped and reassembled. Bitch please.

Guess what my suggested approach to this is. Directly after surgery I *did* cover it up as I was healing when I was out and about,  point blank, it looked pretty gnarly, and I just didn't want to look at it. Also, going out with an exposed wound is a gateway to potential infection - it's almost guaranteed if you go out with your incision hanging out you'll inevitably get thrown up on, shit on by a bird, hit in the chest with a piece of raw pork...You never think those things will happen to you, UNTIL THEY DO.  Sure I've never been hit in the chest with a piece of raw pork. YET. The second you let your guard down tho, it's raining pork. Guaranteed. Once it was no longer scabby and angry looking however, I was all about tank tops and v-necks. Summer was on the way and when you're on the mend from OHS, comfort is key and I'm not comfortable in binding necklines. Also, new scar tissue is pretty sensitive, the less irritation the better (pro-tip: once you're driving again, wrap your seatbelt in something soft, I just used an old t`shirt - that belt fabric will feel like its trying to saw you in half if its resting on your scar tissue).

You might find that some people (strangers) feel it's their business to ask you about your scar. You don't need to tell them. Telling people you've had OHS is weird enough when it's your friends & family but then with strangers, well, you're under no obligation to tell anyone anything about your health. SO just in case this happens to you, and you're not comfortable telling your story, here is the appropriate response:

Fuck. Off.

It takes a while to get used to this new feature of your body's landscape and there are going to be times when it gets you down. Healing isn't just the body, it's also the mind. I think any major illness and or surgery can really do your head in, you don't just wander through unscathed. Something I found helped me was finding others out there who had been through  the same experience - the hashtags #openheartsurgery #zipperclub and #scarsarebeautiful on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with connect you with lots of folks who are going or did go through similar surgeries. Having my little network was great for when I had questions that weren't really doctor questions, but things that only those who have been through it know, like after your sternum is almost healed completely is it normal for it to ache like a bastard when the weather changes?* Apparently with some folks, yes.

So I have been struggling to end this post for what feels like hours and can't come up with a good wrap up.  So I'm just going to go. I know, it's awkward right? Oh well, can't do anything about that now.

*You know your body, if you even THINK it's your heart hurting, get it looked at, but you can tell the difference between bone achy and heart muscle complaining achy, but again, not sure? DOCTOR.