Surgery and the truth about why I hate it


I lied.

It’s not the surgery. It’s not the anesthetic.  It’s the last surgery I had. A simple gall bladder removal. 24 hours post op I was back in the ER with complications. From a simple gall bladder removal.  They thought I had a perforated bowel.  They transferred me by ambulance from the small local hospital to the major hospital at 4am for emergency surgery.  They told me it was very serious and asked me repeatedly who they should call.  Over and over. Who can we call for you.  That ambulance ride was terrifying.  I have never felt so alone and scared in my life.

Who can they call?


There’s nobody I can call at 4am.  No one.  Or nobody I would call.  Not even if doctors are telling me its serious and I might die and I really need to call someone.  Not even then.

It’s hard to feel that alone and that scared.  It has had a lasting impact on me, but of course I’ve buried it.  But another surgery brings it all rushing back makes me feel very, very alone again.   It doesn’t matter that I didn’t die, and I didn’t need emergency surgery, that another doctor came on shift, reviewed my case and decided I just needed to stay in for observation.  I didn’t know that in the ambulance and the experience of thinking I might die was real.  And the knowledge that there was no one I would call to come and hold my hand broke me in some way.

Of course it’s partly my fault.  Mostly my fault.  Ok, all my fault.

People offer to help, and I don’t let them.  I continue to tell myself I can manage on my own, even though the evidence is stacking up and very clear that I can’t manage on my own at all anymore.  I’m not so strong anymore.  And I screw up on a regular basis.  Simple things like making it to an appointment on time.

Years of constant pain have changed me too. I’m much more broken down now.  Needier.  And still I don’t want to rely on anyone. I don’t want to depend on anyone, because history says that as soon I do, they go away.

But until I man up and trust someone, nothing is going to change.  Right now all I do is piss people off and drive them away. Great plan. Keep that up.  See how well that works out.  (Hint: not great)

I don’t want to turn up alone tomorrow.  My mother would have come with me, but I wouldn’t let her.  I wouldn’t let anyone else either. Everyone else will be there with a partner or family member.  Everyone else will wake up to someone from recovery. Everyone else will have someone there.  Except me.  That never bothered me before.  That emergency ambulance ride changed me.  Now I have to change back.  Calm the F down.  And I accept help when its offered.  Let people be kind to me.  Let people help.  I make everything a big deal.  I don’t know why.  If people offer, that means they’re happy to help. It’s not a big deal.

This probably doesn’t make any sense at all.  But I’m going to post it, because I know I’ll need more surgery. It’s a given.  I have to remember this, how I’m feeling, and fix it. Because in about five hours I’ll be awake and feeling fine.   It’ll all be behind me.  But I’ll take it to Dr Mike and talk it through with him. And not sweep it under the carpet until next time.  I won’t do this next time.

I’m glad I’m having afternoon surgery.  I’ll be in at 1:30. In theatre maybe at 3:30.  Two hour (ish) surgery.  In recovery, then awake and back on the ward between 6 and 7pm.  They’ll give me some food, and I’ll call my kids and make sure they’re Ok.  No, that’s bullshit. They’ll be fine. I’ll call them because I’ll want to talk to them.  And then I’ll be dosed up on pain killers and probably asleep again by 8pm.  I’ll be discharged around 11am the next morning.  Over.  Done.  Quick.

No time to be alone.


  1. there is a terrific Bob Dylan song “Forever Young” with the lyric:

    May you always do for others
    And let others do for you

    For most of my life I felt the same as you, I never want help. But then I heard this lyric and it spoke to me for some reason. Since then I have changed my belief system a bit. I think we are better when we help others but also let others help us.

    Maybe you will agree or perhaps not.

    Best ….

  2. These words ring so true with me. Never wanting to rely on someone because if you do, they will go away. Having surgery and doing it on your own. It is humbling and warming to read these words. Thank you for sharing.


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