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The War Inside: Part 5

I don’t remember much about what happened during my stay in hospital, so most of my “memories” are from what I was told happened. Both my sisters are nurses. After I told them how scared I was, they both turned up at the hospital to stay with me when my husband couldn’t be there. (He worked in a different city to the one where the hospital was located.)

Surgery went well. Apparently I cracked everyone up by coming out of the anesthetic bellowing, “Rubber Duckie, you’re the one! You make bath time lots of fun!” over and over.

And over …

And over …

For which I was profoundly grateful. When I think of some of the things I could have shared with the world at top volume, singing “Rubber Duckie” was an excellent choice. Thank you, Subconscious!

Then, when I came back to my room something went wrong. I stopped breathing. I don’t remember the stopping-breathing part. My sisters—and the surgeon—told me about it later. I just remember feeling like total crap and wishing I was home … and 120 kilos lighter already. My sisters spent the first night waking me up every fifteen seconds to breathe. (Just as well they love me! The picture below isn’t them! I promised. :-))

I remember being so thirsty, and how good the water tasted. I also remember thinking I never wanted to eat again. (Spoiler: This feeling didn’t last!)

I remember the awful trip home in the car holding a pillow against my stitches—this wasn’t keyhole surgery!—for an hour and a half over the Rimutaka Hills and back home.

I remember coming into the house and seeing a brand new navy leather LazyBoy chair. My friend Anna and her husband had bought it as a gift when they heard I wouldn’t be able to sleep lying down in a bed for the next few months. That chair was an absolute godsend then, and still is today.

And I remember my husband taking this photo. 

Yes, this is really me—the day I got out of hospital. If I recall correctly, I’d already lost about five kilos. I was upset about him snapping the photo but he insisted. “You’ll want to look back one day and see how far you’ve come,” he told me. At the time I thought he was wrong.

I remember three months of post-operative infection, and my mum coming to stay to take care of me while my husband worked. She stayed six weeks, putting up with my shenanigans (her word) as I learned just what a hell of a change had happened in my body, and tried to cope with it.

And, because I’ve promised myself to be honest here, I also remember being crazy upset with her for washing my white clothes with the colored ones. And her telling me that she’d been washing clothes for longer than I’d been alive and to stop being such a precocious brat or she’d clip me around the ear.

She was wrong. I wasn’t a precocious brat. I was a complete bitch. Here were people who loved me, who were there in the night when I couldn’t sleep, and when I needed help in the bathroom, and when I cried and wondered what the hell I’d done—and was I nice to them? No. I really wasn’t.

I’m ashamed now to think of how I behaved to them then. I was so, SO angry. All the time! And I didn’t understand why.

Because here’s the huge reality I’d failed to take into account. Surgery could change the way my body functioned, but it couldn’t help the underlying problem in my head: my completely screwed-up and dependant relationship with food.  

If you could go back in time and mend one relationship or not do one thing that hurt someone else, what would it be? I know, it’s hard to think about, isn’t it? Share in the comments.



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You are a very brave lady. And yes, I have one of those moment of wishing I could take it back….a letter I sent to a close friend after a diabolical weekend – supposed holiday – explaining that maybe we should call it a day, that we were going in different directions blahblahblah..(stupid things that were a result of a bad day while dealing with divorce)…I wished the letter back the moment I posted it… amount of followups were able to repair things and for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to phone her….should have, could have, didn’t……when I finally… Read more »

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