Do you ever have those moments where you stop, slap your hand to your forehead, and realize that you had the PERFECT Halloween costume, and you didn’t even know it?
(No? Hmm…maybe it’s just me…awkward…)
People. I was dressed up as a Jack-o-lantern on Halloween, and I had no idea! I was so busy adjusting to my state of permanent robot, that I didn’t take advantage of the fact that I had a giant hole in the center of my abdomen!
Quite sad. I could have stuffed it with pumpkin seeds, or painted myself orange, or something fabulous!
Because clearly an adult in her 30’s painted orange with her arm in a sling, a robotic heart named Penelope, and an abdominal hole full of pumpkin seeds is totally normal…
So I have a hole. In fancy-schmancy words, it’s called a gastric fistula, and if we are being more specific, I have essentially created my very own permanent highway from my stomach to the outer world. I can put my dinner on my abdomen, without ever using my hands!
I know, I know! My resume just got a whole lot cooler! I mean, when was the last time you could say that you grew your own highway?
Autograph signing will resume tomorrow. Be kind, I tire easily.
It goes without saying that this is not exactly “the norm.” In fact, the medical community has gone out of their way to make sure I really understood the 2% factor over the past 3 weeks:
“Ma’am…this is the radiology clinic. I’ve been the head technician here for 11 years, but, um, I’ve never heard of this test, never done this test, and don’t have the materials to DO this test…uh…sorry?”
“Wait…what body part are we doing this test on again? Is it a rectal fistula?”
[Insert mild silent freak out over the phone. Um NO very kind sir, it is thankfully NOT.]
“Ok so it looks like you are swallowing this barium to test for a gastric fistula…where is that again?”
“So we usually give our patients a packet of information about the procedure…but…uh…for this we don’t actually have one…”
I think I need a new business card that I can hand out every time I meet a new medical professional:
“Lydia Buschenfeldt: Surprising the world with the rare and unusual since 1983. High maintenance, with a side of green juice, and a splash of glitter.”
(Clearly written in sparkly font. With bedazzled adornments. And maybe a giraffe.)
Keeping that business card in mind, I’m having surgery.
All of the tissue that has created the fistula will be removed, and then they will sew me up from the inside out, stomach to skin.
Anyone want to join?
Penelope and I did an excellent job of confusing everyone in the surgeon’s office, when I showed up 5 days post pacemaker surgery in a sling, moving a bit more like the tortoise than the hare, and requesting to see a surgeon about the hole in my…abdomen.
This really is excellent prep for the holidays, right? I’m losing a portion of my stomach, getting a bit of a tummy tuck, and recovering on a clear liquids diet…bring on the stuffing! Bring on the pie!
So while some people recover from pacemaker surgery with, say, resting or watching movies. Others may be so productive as to take up knitting or reading an entire series. I, on the other hand, recover by creating another situation from which to recover. What can I say, my dad didn’t refer to itty-bitty me as “Boo-Boo” (in reference to the massive consumption of bandaids) for nothing.
Under construction, my friends. Restarting my hard drive, one body part at a time.
(And some twice. Or maybe three times.)
It may not be what I planned, and it may not be what I had hoped for, but I’m ready to find smoother roads to travel. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for this highway to be permanently closed.
Grab your hard hat Penelope, we’re going in.