Monday, May 30, 2011

Pending surgery brings out the control freak within

I was once told by a well-meaning doctor that the “human body isn’t meant to carry a litter."  Given that I somehow carried our triplets for 36 weeks and a collective birth weight over 17 pounds, I absolutely agree. My midsection looks like a deflated party tent. On a good day, it conjures up that childhood favorite “The Saggy Baggy Elephant” ; on a bad day, it is more reminiscent of Freddie from “Nightmare on Elm Street.” In both cases, it is wrinkly and wiggly – wrinkly thanks to being stretched to accommodate the three bouncing baby boys who once resided within (not to mention their preceding big brother and sister!) and wiggly thanks to my intestines, which are now closer to the surface than they should be. The “litter” that I carried for far longer than anyone would have anticipated left me with severe diastasis (separation of the abdominal muscles) and an umbilical hernia, essentially a weak spot that bulges in a most unsightly way, causing the kids to ask “why is your belly button growing Mama?”

So, while wiggly, wrinkly skin can be overlooked or least cleverly concealed, an umbilical hernia can not. It must be fixed. As my doctor so gracefully put it, “you can get it fixed on your schedule, in an outpatient procedure OR you can wait until one of your intestines gets strangulated and you find yourself in an ambulance facing emergency surgery, possibly in a life-threatening situation.” Um, ok, got it Doc. Sign me up. I scheduled the surgery for May 10th. Then I found out I had a new boss starting on May 9th and it just didn’t seem prudent to disappear the next day so, I cancelled it. Why my nice doctor called again, he gently reminded me that left untreated, my hernia could cause a lot more trouble than out-patient surgery and a few days out of work. So, this time I’m doing it. For real. And I am FREAKING out.

Aside from my fear of the surgery itself and a lot of anxiety about the aftermath of pain and recovery, there is the daunting fact that I will not be able to lift anything more than 20 pounds for six weeks. SIX weeks! To put things in perspective, each triplet now weighs about 28 pounds. I’m pretty sure that with my laptop, reading materials, files, wallet, and motley collection of lip balm, eye drops, and the occasional Lego, my work bag weighs about 30 pounds. So, as I consider the next six weeks, I’m not sure how I will put my little guys in their cribs, high chairs or car seats and it’s unclear how I can get my job done if I can’t lift up my bag! As I prepare myself and the rest of the Lyons Den for MaMa Lyons being benched, I know I’ve gone a bit overboard.

We now have enough groceries to survive a nuclear winter. I figure that if I can’t lift the kids, at least I can feed them. On the work front, I’ve bombarded that new boss with a status report a mile long. I figure that if I can’t be in the office, at least I've left copious notes and detailed instructions. This weekend, I jumped into the icy cold pool and caught the kids as they gleefully jumped to me. I figured I’d better do it now because six weeks is a really long time to just say no to those sweet smilng faces. I also suggested that Des stay at a Memorial Day Barbeque and have another beer while I took the five kids home, bathed them and put them to bed. Because I could. And as long as I can, I will. I need to. I am the Queen of Control. As you might imagine, this is not always a good thing. In some ways, it serves me well. It allows me the organizational expertise and just enough perfectionist prowess to keep the kids in line and the house in shape. On the flip side, it makes me, well, a control freak. And, on top of the multi-faceted fear and anxiety this surgery presents, it also presents a total loss of control. From surrendering to the anesthesia to suspending my responsibilities at home and work for the next week, the loss of control is looming and I don’t like it. Not one little bit. But, I have no choice. As Doc so kindly mentioned, at least I’m controlling when and where this is going down. Beyond that though, it’s out of my hands. I will have to trust the good doctors to take me apart and put me together again, just as I have to trust that my husband, family and friends will keep keep things on track at home.  Wish us all luck and stay tuned to see how it all turns out...

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