So, I had this thyroid issue which meant that half of it had to come out, which was fine with me since it was causing me some difficulty swallowing. I wasn't worried about the surgery, or the recovery or the no food for 18 hours. No. The only thing I was worried about was the fact that I couldn't have coffee or cigarettes for 12 hours before the surgery and probably not for five or six afterwards, Turns out, that was the least of my worries.
I wasn't really anticipating any problems. I'd had another, more extensive, surgery six years ago, and I was up and raring to go the next day but, apparently, six years makes a big difference. It was an outpatient procedure, which meant I went home the same day, and, lucky for me, the surgery scheduled right before mine was cancelled so I was whisked through admissions and into the operating room without having to wait. In recovery, they got my pain under control fairly quickly, but I was dizzy and I had the shakes and a massive headache, which made it difficult to move my head. But I held it together long enough to get discharged, thinking that everything would be okay once I got home.
I thought the side effects were probably the result of a lack of food, coffee and cigarettes, but the thought of any of that stuff made me nauseous, All I wanted was a bowl of ice cream, and since the only ice cream we had in the house was Sam's low calorie, no-taste vanilla, that's what I ate. It tasted flat, but it felt good on my throat. I went to bed early, but got up around one. The dizziness and shakes were gone, but the pain was back, so I took another pain pill. Ten minutes later the shakes were back, and I finally put two and two together, and when I woke up again six hours later, I abandoned the pain pills prescribed by the doctor and took two Tylenol instead, which got the headache and pain under control without making me unsteady and disoriented.
I spent most of Tuesday on the couch binge watching The Good Wife and eating Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, which Arthur was only too happy to go out and get for me. I didn't do any of the things I'd planned to do, which, believe me, I didn't fret about. The only thing that upset me was the fact that even though I'd had no food to speak of for 24 hours, I had gained four pounds, which aggravated me to no end because I was expecting to lose four pounds, or six or ten, and jump start a diet. Of all things, that motivated me to drag myself to the internet to find out what in the hell was going on, which, as it turns out, has something to do with fluid retention and anesthesia.
Though I planned a shopping trip for Wednesday, that was a no go, because I woke up with a low grade headache and I ached all over. I was so out of it that I didn't even want potato chips, and that's saying something. I spent another day on the couch with Season Two of The Good Wife and a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
I thought for sure that I'd be back to normal by Thursday, but it didn't work out that way. I felt like I had gone ten rounds with Joe Frazier and barely made it out alive. By that time I was starting to worry about all of the things I should have been doing to promote Dear Heart but I just couldn't summon the wherewithal to concentrate. I did manage to send out a short Facebook post to let my friends know I was still alive, but that took so much out of me that I went back to bed and slept for eight more hours.
When I woke up, I was feeling a little better, and I was hungry for the kind of thin-slice, greasy, gooey pizza I used to get as a kid, which was enough to motivate me to shower and dress and put on make-up so I could go out and get some. Arthur drove me, thank God, because by the time we got home from the twenty-minute trip, I was exhausted again, but not too exhausted to eat a couple of slices of pizza, a small bag of chips and a bowl of ice cream. Starting to feel better, I checked the book sales for Dear Heart and discovered that on Wednesday, the sales ranking for the paperback went from 1,344,374 to 128,843, which meant that roughly twenty-seven books sold in one day! I'm convinced that that news did more for me than any medicine could have, and put me on the road to recovery.
By Friday, I had turned the corner, and was able to go through my emails and start this blog post and organize my desk for the week ahead. I still had to take it slow, but I didn't push myself like I normally do, having finally admitted that I'm not twenty anymore.
As I write this, I am fully back into the swing of things, and I have to say I am glad to be back to work. I missed exploring promotional opportunities for Dear Heart and working on the screenplay. But I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to relax and do nothing, even if it goes against your nature, because if you don't, the Universe will find a way to do it for you.