What Was I Made For?

As I mentioned in my last Weeknotes, I had a scheduled surgery, which was unexpected. This experience has had a profound impact on me and will likely have a lasting effect. While I generally dislike change, I believe that this particular change is for the better.

I had just a few hours to decide whether or not to go through with the surgery, and I didn’t even have the luxury to really think it over because it was a matter of life and death. All I could think about was the expenses. The healthcare system in the Philippines is known to be one of the worst. In my own experience, I bought prepaid insurance from ██████, but it turned out to be a waste of money because they didn’t cover my diagnosis. Thankfully, it was a wise decision to keep my PhilHealth membership active prior to my surgery, and I’m grateful that it was accepted. (I admit, it was my fault for not keeping up with the payments after getting the membership though.)

Much has been said that we can all live without our gallbladder, but if you really love food it’s not true. Who are the doctors kidding?

Going into the operating room felt like it lasted forever, yet it happened so quickly. Music filled the room, and I could see the doctors and nurses dancing and singing along to a song by Dua Lipa. It was a moment of relief for me. Even though I was already feeling anxious, there was a strange calmness within me. It felt like I was already sedated, with everything around me feeling light and serene. Perhaps the medical team knew that patients would naturally be scared in that situation, so the music helped to ease our fears. The anesthesiologist was still searching for my small nerves (which has been a problem ever since.) As they were preparing, a song from the Barbie movie, “What Was I Made For” by Billie Eilish, played in the background. It was a deeply emotional song for such a pathetic moment, although perhaps not the most suitable choice for someone as anxious as myself. I couldn’t help but cry, and I asked the nurse to gently wipe away my tears.

Then, everything went blank.

The next thing I heard was that the surgery was successful, and I was being taken to the recovery room.

The recovery room was filled with noise, but it a comforting kind of noise because it meant I’m conscious and returning to life. The first thing I asked was if I could see my dog, Nooning, whom I had missed dearly. The nurse kindly replied that she’s sorry but I would have to wait until I got home. And then, I took a momentous step by moving my feet. My partner’s parents had emphasized the importance of this action every time they called. It wasn’t quite the dramatic flair of Uma Thurman from Kill Bill trying to wiggle her feet. My vision was blurry and the effects of anesthesia and painkillers made everything feel slow and surreal.

After my surgery, I endured the dreaded hours of waking up every 4 hours as a nurse would come in and administer my (IV) antibiotics. I wholeheartedly agree with Craig Mod when he wrote, “we should throw open our front doors and shout into the fresh morning air: ‘Thank you, antibiotics!’” Those little pills were my saviors, ensuring my recovery and bringing me back to life. It was a moment that filled me with an overwhelming sense of relief and deep appreciation for the wonders of modern medicine. The power of those antibiotics was nothing short of miraculous, and I will always be thankful for their existence.

So I guess, it’s a “new year, new me” kind of situation now. In my case I HAVE TO completely turn my lifestyle around and prioritize my health to avoid any potential side effects. It hasn’t been easy. Those first few days at home were tough. I needed help to sit down, get up from bed, go to the bathroom, and walk in general because the right side of my body is still numb.

Being in this situation feels like attending a family get-together on a Sunday. Seeing my family move around the room was stressful, but I am incredibly grateful for their unwavering support. My family’s support has meant the world to me, especially my partner who has been by my side through it all. She continues to help me make meal plans so I can recover quickly.

Just the thought of the foods I should avoid was painful because I absolutely love food. I love to cook, and I thrive on the flavors in my dishes. But it’s not the end of the world. I can still enjoy some of my favorite dishes, I just have to be mindful and get creative with my cooking.

I don’t know how to feel about all this. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m up for it. After all, life is full of twists and turns, and this is just another chapter in my journey towards better health.

Polaroid of me post-surgery
First time sitting down after surgery. It took a village to help me up from the bed 🤘🏻

Thoughts? Email me.

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