Medical Drama of the Week

A few months ago I had post-partum surgery #1. I wouldn’t call it a success, exactly, but things did improve – so much so that I returned to work after a year and a half of unpaid sick time.

I didn’t return to my old work (there’s a long and fascinating story there which I do intend to tell someday), but to a brand new private babysitting gig. It’s a very easy job, and is JUST within my capability at the moment. I’ve completed three weeks with no dramas, and I’m starting to feel vaguely competent. Also, I really like the family – and I get to take my kids along some of the time too. I adore watching kids interact with each other, so taking my kids along is much more than convenient – it makes the job glow.

About a month ago I saw a surgeon for post-partum surgery #2. He was a stranger to me, and I hoped going into the appointment that he’d be going over surgery stuff (fasting, etc), and giving me a bunch of pamphlets to read over. Instead he told me that although I certainly needed surgery, my GP might have misdiagnosed me (with a large gap in my abdominal muscles – a common post-pregnancy thing) and the public health system would therefore not cover me. He sent me to get a CT scan.

The CT scan was cool. I lay down on a table experiencing wacky effects from the contrast injection, all while alone in a giant room as the mechanical table passed me back and forth through a large ring, and a mechanical voice told me periodically to hold my breath. The ring part reminded me of Stargate.

The results were sent to the surgeon and to my GP.

My GP knows my entire family (four generations of us!) and I have so many medical dramas that I just keep a list of non-urgent things and then when someone is properly sick (eg Louisette had bronchitis last week) I take them all in to get sorted out. I went in for something else and asked for the CT results.

It turned out that why yes I DO have an abdominal gap…. of nine centimetres. So my guts are literally hanging out. (The abdominal muscles separate in every pregnancy, but generally go back together – or at least within a couple of centimetres.) This is brilliant news, because it means that I can still get the surgery I need, plus I feel like way less of a wimp now.

The CT also revealed two other things. One is a minor thing, but will probably require preventative surgery all the same (I’m hoping that it can be done at the same time as my stomach, but we’ll see – I’ll ask the surgeon on Thursday, when I next see him). It’s interesting mainly because I went to two different doctors a couple of months ago because of intense pain in my side. After googling, I figured it was appendicitis. They both said it was “yeah I dunno” and the pain faded after a few days, leaving me feeling kinda dumb. Actually it’s a splenal hemangioma – which sounds bad, but it basically just a benign lump – but one that’s big enough (2.2cm) that it really should be chopped out. The funny thing is that I would have come across splenal hemangiomas in my googling, and dismissed them for being too rare. Presumably this also means that I’m infested with dozens of fascinating diseases that haven’t yet been seen in Australia.

The other thing revealed by the CT scan is damage to my spine – damage that is degenerative.

The up side is that I feel a lot better about all the times I’ve chosen not to lift a kid/stand up/help someone/change a nappy/etc because of my back. The down side is that bones are a bit tricky to fix. Also, I’m not sure if it’s degenerative (that is, getting worse) because of the stomach stuff (which will be fixed), because of my usual bad posture (which is not an easy thing to fix, especially when everything already hurts), or because of my body just being annoying/aging.

And a big part of my post-partum depression has been fear of further injury due to picking up/playing with my kids. That fear had been fading, but now it’s been given a new lease of life. Congratulations?

Again, something to talk to the surgeon about.

And here’s TJ in his best suit, because why not?

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