Friday, July 15, 2011

Simplicity in Complexity

Just over 3 weeks post-op. I've been spending the majority of my time feigning normalcy. Yesterday I took an hour-long walk to buy a ribbon. Normal, right? Then I spent the afternoon slaving away on extraneous wedding-related crafts, hunched over in a position that would cause someone without a hole in their abdomen to be sore for days. I decided to top that off with an evening of shopping. So when I tell you I was back at Dr. Procaccino's office this afternoon, I don't expect any sympathy.

The abscess is about as stubborn as my resolution to resume living the mind-numbingly chaotic, overly-strenuous, no time to even stop to take a shit, New York lifestyle. It's still there. After stabbing around in my wound for a while, Dr. Procaccino concluded that another round of Augmentin would be best. I was a bit testy today and got annoyed with Proc after he came back into the exam room just to say, "Oh, and put a little weight on, will yah? You're starting to look like a human railway and it's beginning to worry me." Thanks, Dr. Proc. I'll keep that one in mind. Maybe if you hadn't taken out a large section of my digestive tract, I wouldn't have this problem? When I hopped in the car in a tiff, my mother suggested that there must be something a little off with someone who slices into human bodies for a living. "Actually, I'm pretty sure that serial killer in California was a surgeon," were the words of comfort she offered me. "Thanks, ma. I'll be sure to remember that next time I go under the knife."

I don't mean to bash Dr. Proc. He's my here-on-earth superhero. I actually kind of worship the guy. I've even had deluded thoughts of becoming a surgeon myself; that's how cool I think he is. There is an indescribable bond that I think many patients feel with their surgeon. It isn't often that you relinquish 100% control of your body and place your trust with it in another human being. I have been through a lot with Dr. Procaccino; probably the most vulnerable and frightening moments of my life. But he has given me more than just a new organ. Through his infamous wit and intolerance of vanity or superfluity, Dr. Procaccino has given me the rare gift of lucidity. When I whined to him about the less-than-perfect belly button he left me with after the first surgery, he was less than happy. "I took out your entire colon, and you're seriously complaining about a 1 millimeter section of your abdomen!?!?!" he yelled. When I questioned his censure of laparoscopic total colectomies, he said, "Look. If your main priority is conserving your six pack, I'm not your man. If approaching these surgeries in the safest way possible is your goal, let's talk." Suddenly, my hairstyle choice for my wedding day that I have been fretting over ceased to be of great importance. I stopped being angry with my Italian grandfather for that hairy arm trait that I have long associated with his Mediterranean descent and I began to embrace that Eiffel Tower-sized big toe on my right foot. I have become, well…happy. And so it seems that the more complications I incur, the easier it is to see clearly. I'm lucky to be able to take that stroll to the grocery store later, and I will take joy in every step of the way there. But I'll still be working on securing that 65-hour per-week job. Hey, one thing that can't be surgically removed is an A-type personality.

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