A little over a week ago I had my gallbladder removed, sucked out through one of four little holes I now have in my torso (but more about that in another post). I went into the surgery fully intending to politely decline pain medication after the first few hours. I joked that gallbladder removal would be nothing compared to the c-section that I had 7 years ago, and that as long as no one demanded that I breastfeed them every hour after this surgery, I should be fine and dandy.
A couple things I forgot when I snarkily declared this to my surgeon and anyone who would listen:
- I’m no longer in my 20’s.
- I stayed in the hospital (and under their IV pain management) for four days post c-section, not four hours.
- I didn’t undergo general anesthesia with my c-section.
- There are no post-delivery, breastfeeding-induced euphoric hormones released when you deliver a stone-filled gallbladder through your navel.
In reality, I woke up from my surgery with the distinct impression that an elephant was sitting on my right shoulder and that my lower abdomen was on fire. I mumbled something about being ready for the drugs. The good drugs. The elephant chasing, fire extinguishing drugs.
It turns out that before they’ll give you the good drugs, you need to perform feats of strength. Couple that with the metal pole holding my IV bags and the airing of grievances heard coming from behind each of the curtains, and the recovery room was a lot like Festivus. Once I managed to move from the bed to a chair without landing flat on my face, I was given a pack of Saltines and some ginger ale and told that if I could eat something, I would get a Percocet. I ate half a cracker and prayed for it to stay down, reaching for the straw of my styrofoam cup with my misbehaving mouth. When the nurse happened by again, I showed her my amazing achievement, and she turned over the white circle of goodness. YES!
By the time the nurse sent me on my way, that little white circle had been joined by its twin, and together they made it possible for me to ride home in the car without screaming in agony. Over the next couple days, I leaned heavily on my new little friends to get me through my days and nights. And oh those nights…
It turns out that consuming narcotics alters your dreams. Who knew?
The first dream I remember involved a long conversation comprised of frustrated English and broken German. I was shopping for a souvenir and desperately wanted to know the name of the official stone of Germany. I kept trying to ask the saleslady in German,
“What is the official stone of Germany?”, but I couldn’t remember the German word for stone. Instead I kept saying Stein.
That crazy dream left me frustrated for most of the next morning, but thankfully Google translate saved the day. “Was ist die offizielle Stein Deutschland?” That’s right. The word is Stein. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an official German stone, but in case you’re playing at home, the official tree is the oak and the coat of arms bears an Eagle.
The next night starred a cast of my favorite bloggers, with my friend Andrea from Lil Kid Things and I deciding at the last minute to get pedicures at a shoe shine stand in a mall before heading to a blog conference event. On our way, we bumped into my friends Charlie and Andy from How To Be A Dad, who kindly offered to give away a carton of bananas on their site on my behalf. How nice of them! And for the low price of $9.99 including shipping!
As I started to slowly make my way back onto social media, each person I spoke with brought back more memories of strange dreams.
My hands down favorites, however, have been the food dreams. One of the first nights, I dreamed all night long about eating a blintz. I have no idea what a blintz is and can’t say for sure that I’ve ever really eaten one, but it sure seemed better than wheat toast with a little bit of butter. Mmmm, blintz…
It’s been over a week since my surgery and I now just take the occasional Tylenol or Advil if the four new holes in my body start to hurt or a little ache reminds me that just several days ago there were tiny knives and cameras moving around inside my body. As the effects of the medicine continue to wear off, the dreams linger. Had I known that pain killers make sleeping so exciting – and delicious – I wouldn’t have tried so hard to avoid them.
This post in no way promotes drug use, travel to Germany, or the eating of unidentified pastries. I’m a lightweight who gets giddy from a Venti chai, and my experiences may or may not be representative of the use of pain medication by the general public. Consult with your doctor before the taking of all medications and removal of all obsolete and aggravating organs.