When it Hurts to Laugh Everyone is a Comedian
My body doesn’t seem to have a lot of patience with non-essential organs. I don’t know if it’s trying to make room in my abdomen for more pizza and Italian wedding cake or if I’m just prone to inflammation, but I’ve lost several over the years. What surgeons love to refer to as non-essential organs, for me, includes two ovaries, a cervix and a uterus, removed when I was 49, which I guess made them largely non-essential for me at that point in time, my appendix, and most recently my gall bladder.
I was ten years old when I had the appendectomy. This was back in 1968, when any abdominal surgery was open surgery resulting in a decent sized incision held together with black prickly stitches. The kind they had to remove after a few weeks, which created the strangest sensation of tickling, haunted by subtle back notes of stinging pain. Totally weird stuff.
The open surgeries that were common in those days definitely required longer recovery times, which resulted in longer hospital stays. With my appendectomy, I was in the hospital forever, like a week or ten days. Now most surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, and for better or for worse, that isn’t likely to change any time soon.
Like my most recent surgery, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, more commonly known as gall bladder removal. Yes, it was laparoscopic, and while I don’t have any major incision, I do have four punctures wounds of varying sizes in my abdominal wall through which several tools were inserted and my wretched non-essential organ was unceremoniously released and removed.
So I was a little overwhelmed last Tuesday, when, after the gall bladder surgery, the recovery nurse asked me immediately upon waking if I was ready to go home?
Wait, What? Um, my head is spinning from anesthesia, can I have a little time? Sure, how long? Well like maybe ten minutes? Okay, you can have ten minutes.
Ten minutes later she was yanking open the curtain that separated me from the rest of the outpatient surgery ward and handing me my clothes with a very business like, no BS demeanor, a lot like a tiger Mom dealing with a surly child trying to avoid a math quiz.
My head was still spinning slightly, but I dutifully got dressed with my husbands assistance and was whisked outta there…pronto. Thanks again, Nurse Diesel.
Now, one of the things I remember vividly about my first abdominal surgery was how, after I got home, my four older brothers thought it was hilarious to make me laugh. This caused excruciating pain. They pretended to be innocent about the pain component and acted like they were cutting up to cheer me up after my long ordeal, which was total bullshit. And we all knew it. You see, two of my brothers had already had appendectomies and knew first hand how painful it is to laugh afterwards.
I was strangely conflicted by all this. You see, in my family the winner was not who had the most money or the nicest clothes or the highest grades. The winner was the one who made you laugh the hardest. So that even as I was in pain with tears running down my face begging them to stop making me laugh, I couldn’t help but love them a little for it.
It was weird, kind of like getting those stitches pulled out.
Let’s face it, surgery is hard. Abdominal surgery is especially hard, because it shouldn’t hurt to laugh. But it does. Oh God does it ever.
That’s the other thing that became painfully evident again this last week also–I married a funny man. Go figure.
I guess I forget sometimes how many times a day the old man makes me laugh. Damn him for being so funny!
It’s weird to have conflicted feelings about someone making you laugh.
You love them for being funny. Who doesn’t love a funny person?
You don’t quite trust them though, because you know that they know that laughing right now is gonna hurt for you.
And they’re making you laugh anyways.
But’s it’s all getting easier every day.
I can pee. I can raise my head while lying down. I can even roll over in bed without feeling like a lump of Pillsbury dough still stuck in the can.
And I can laugh without excruciating pain.
No more tickling sensation with subtle back notes of stinging pain.
Life is good.
©2019 by Ilona Elliott
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