February 21, 2012

The year I turned 90 and got a bellybutton tuck

Jannika on the left, stealing my hospital bed. Me in the background, probably shuffling to the bathroom.
Speaking of bellybuttons...
I had an emergency appendectomy when Jannika was about 6 months old. While the surgeon was showing where she'd be inserting one laparoscope, she peered closely at my bellybutton and announced, "I could go right near that sucker and give it a little facelift while I'm at it."

Apparently my bellybutton (that had popped out at around 5 months into the pregnancy and never had quite sunk back into it's pre-pregnancy state) was ugly enough to be given pro bono plastic surgery.

My first reaction: laughter.
My second reaction: embarrassment.
My third reaction: irritation.
My fourth reaction: elation.

So, yeah, I've had a bellybutton tuck. What's it to you?

There's more.

I was so busy admiring my new bellybutton post-surgery (now that it didn't look like a blind mole emerging from a sand trap) that I kind of failed to notice something else. (Okay, caring for a 6-month-old in a hospital bed while shunning all painkillers so I could continue to breastfeed without drugging my kid might have had something to do with it as well. Just putting it out there.)

I hadn't peed in about 24 hours.

When I mentioned it, kind of laughing, to the nurse, she looked at me wide-eyed and immediately ordered a bladder scan and a catheter and cancelled the hospital release forms. And suddenly it wasn't so funny anymore.

The staff was sure I was somehow faking it. I was sure amputating my entire lower half would be less painful than enduring drug-free catheterizations and post-surgery wounds. The surgeon was sure that it was the funniest thing she had seen all year.

Because apparently it only happens to feeble 90-year-olds after surgery?

Meanwhile, everyone started calling, wanting to know what was going on and why I hadn't gone home. Some well-intentioned person notified our church and I was mentioned IN THE BULLETIN (which generated a whole new batch of curious people all concerned for my "facing surgical complications" issues and all asking questions).

I'm kind of a T.M.I. person anyways - surprise, surprise - but there is something so awkward about having a conversation at church the next week with a sweet grandma who's tracked me down to get more info.

"I saw you in the bulletin. Surgical complications, eh? I'm sorry sweetie. What did you get? Some infection?"
"Umm...well, not really..."
"Did you have a bad reaction?"
"I couldn't urinate."
"What, honey?"
"What? You're in a what?
"I COULDN'T URINATE." [as people standing near turn and stare]
[awkward silence] "Well, that is something, sweetie. How much longer were you in the hospital??"
"Three days."
"Oh my goodness!"

And then I got pregnant with another baby a year and a half later and wrecked my bellybutton again. BUT peed 42 times a day. With relish.

Speaking of pickles...
[hahaha! Worst wrap-up line ever.]

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