I had big plans for last Saturday. I was going to try to run eleven miles. It was going to be my testing ground. If I could run at least nine miles without stopping and then make the last two in some run walk combination, I was going to register for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Things were looking good. I was pretty confident. Unfortunately I didn’t confer with my appendix. It had some pretty big plans too. So after about four days of progressively worse pain that I continued to rationalize, I finally went to the hospital. Why did it take me four days? Well, because nobody goes to the hospital for gas pains. And when I look back now, I realize that I was sicker than I thought. But at the time, I just didn’t have time to deal with what seemed like gas? A stomach virus? Pulled muscle anyone? Just getting through the day was all I could manage, I would deal with it on Saturday.
But my husband talked me into going to the hospital on Friday morning as opposed to waiting for a doctor’s appointment later in the day. And I am so glad I went. By Friday evening I was in the operating room, having the angry little organ removed. So when Saturday morning came around, the day I was going to run eleven miles, I had some new goals: sit in a chair for awhile and fart. Seriously, doctors and nurses are very interested in having you fart after a surgery. So that became my new goal. The next day I was going to gather my tubes and push my little IV thingy out to the wall. It is about ten feet away, not quite eleven miles.
Since we originally thought I was only going to be in the hospital overnight, my husband brought a quick change of clothes. He brought a regular bra and a running bra, a race shirt, a pair of shorts and running socks. I don’t know why he brought all this But I will say, when I really couldn’t believe that I would ever walk further than ten feet, I looked at that shirt and that bra and those socks and it did help push me forward. I kept cracking jokes about running ten miles, and now being outpaced by the much older man with the walker. But really I was telling myself, you can do this, keep going. And those clothes that he packed were a constant reminder.
See, since I waited so long to go to the hospital, the surgeon believes that I had been walking around with a burst appendix since Tuesday afternoon. Every time he came to see me he asked, “How long did it hurt?” “It was really nasty in there, gangrene. ” I kept apologizing for my messy gut. Sorry. Had I known you were coming, really, I would have cleaned. I loved my surgeon, by the way, even though he kept calling me his stoic patient. He also constantly told me that I was going to be okay. But, it was going to take time. Like anyone who is regularly active, I wanted to know in the hospital on Friday before I went to the operating room, when I could go back to work and when could I start running again. Before the operation I was told I would be back to work in one or two weeks and we would see about the running. After the operation I was told about four weeks before I could return to work. Running was off the table for now.
Like anyone, I can’t help but wonder why this happened to me. Why did my appendix decide to throw a fit, and why was I so lucky to go to the hospital when I did and not be in worse shape than I am? I know, on some level, that going when I did may have saved my life, but I just can’t sink into that right now. I am one of those annoying people who is constantly looking for a greater purpose in life. I love my family and I’m so grateful for my life with my family and friends. I know that I am living a wonderful rich life, and I have been checked into this even before this little incident. But I still search for a greater purpose, something I am suppose to be doing to justify all I have. What I began to think when I was in the hospital, is that my greater purpose is to be me. To enjoy my life, continue to strive forward in my work and love the many gifts in my life. Does that mean I am never going to feel sorry for myself or act like an ass? Uh, no. But, there is a greater sense of peace about myself, about who I am and where I am in life.
So now what? Now, I get to start over. Well, not right now, first I have to build up my stamina to get through a regular day. First I have to finish taking the antibiotics (blah!!!!) and manage to get through a day without pain medication. And then, then I can begin again. In my forties there are a lot of things I’ve discovered about myself. I’m a cat person. I’m morphing into a librarian. And I am a runner. So, as soon as I get the chance, I will run. I can’t wait.