The End of Steven


So apparently a lot of you people don’t like to hear about hernias the size of a small child’s head? What? Did it make you uncomfortable? Queasy? Was it the dizzying height? Or the hernia itself?

Well too bad, because I am still going to finish my story. Then maybe tomorrow I will do something more interesting like update you on the Doobster vs. vagina contest.

So, doctors make awful, awful patients. You may have heard this before but if you are keen for a really great example of this phenomenon, check out Surgery at Tiffany’s brush with near death here.

But now for my story:

Steven and I were literally inseparable for years. As Gibber pointed out yesterday, it probably took a lot of guts to jump off of that platform. It was too bad some of those guts ended up outside of my abdominal cavity.

The problem is that I know what goes on in the OR:

You are virtually naked. And frickin’ cold… like erect-nipple-shriveled-penis cold. They tie down your arms outstretched beside you in a crucifix, rendering you paralyzed even before they actually paralyze you with meds. If you are lucky you get some nice drug pushed in your IV in the holding area that makes you forget everything. Sometimes, though, you get an anesthesiologist who is a prick. You don’t get to pick or not pick the prick. Then someone shoves a tube down your throat and tapes your eyelids shut. Eventually, you ARE naked as they prep your belly. You may not be aware if it, but there is probably music playing in the background and it may be absolute drivel as far as you are concerned but no one ever even asked you. Your thighs and pubic hair and stretch marks and wobbly left over baby belly are on full display and even though no one may actually say anything, you know they are thinking “Eeeeeew….” because you used to think that, too, before it was you on that table.

So I put it off and put it off and put it off.

I was still wearing my maternity pants almost a year out from the end of the pregnancy because the elastic panel helped keep the bugger in check.

I made all sorts of excuses: Recovery time would take me away from patient care for too long. What if I ever wanted to stretch my belly out by having another kid? My babies are too little to live without their mother in the event that I died from a botched procedure. I do too much lifting, a repair just wouldn’t hold. What about my Yoga? Not that I actually did yoga, but what if I actually WANTED to someday?

That was all just code for, “I’m a coward.”

Five years, Mr. Hernia and I lived together… each year becoming a larger and larger part of my life. People started asking me if I was pregnant again.

Finally, finally I gave in. I went to see my surgeon friend.

Then Steven was no more.

It was amazing how much weight I was carrying around from that sucker. Not weight in pounds, but rather emotional weight. It is hard to feel sexy and fun and joyful when there is a large fungating mass protruding from one’s belly. It was painful and embarrassing and all consuming.

How did I let something so little become so huge? By refusing to act on it.

I knew what I needed to do to fix it but I let fear rule me instead. So what should have been an easy repair turned into a major surgery.

And so it is with life. Little things become big things if we refuse to address them.

My advice? Deal with it. Sooner rather than later. It saves a whole ton of pain and heartache in the end.


82 thoughts on “The End of Steven

  1. I have never had a hernia, nor have I ever had to deal with childbirth, although, sometimes when I look in the mirror at my reflection, it sometimes looks as though I do have a “baby-belly.” It’s good that you finally built up the courage to get rid of Steven, and you’re advice to “deal with it sooner rather than later” is sound, although I tend to wait until death is knocking at my door before going to see a doctor.

    By the way, I somehow missed your “Doobster vs.vagina” post. I just went back and read it and it is worthy of reblogging, which I will do later today. I can’t wait to hear the results.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Are you talking to me? I think you are talking to me…
    Surgery wise, I felt the same way when I went in for my diagnostic lap/appy last year. I didn’t want to do it because I know EXACTLY what’s happening. I told my (not prick, thank goodness) anesthesiologist exactly what I wanted… except I kept it to myself that I didn’t want to be intubated. Midaz in holding, dex AND ondansetron at the end – no argument. I knew I couldn’t get away with abdominal surgery with just an LMA, so I refrained from looking stupid on that point. I totally get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love a doctor who’s also been a patient – it makes the doctor so much more understanding of the patient’s concerns.

    Now I have an anesthesia story for you (well, actually, a non-anesthesia story). As a young woman, I broke my finger playing softball – totally shattered the knuckle nearest to the hand. Being a young, stupid woman, I still went out drinking with my friends after the game, and of course, I had to drink enough to dull the pain, which never did get dulled enough. The next morning, I went to the ER, and my own doctor (who happened to be a surgeon) was called in. Finger needed surgery asap. But I was still hung over and apparently still had some alcohol in my veins, so my surgeon refused anything other than just a topical anesthesia to numb the surgical site. At the beginning of the surgery, my doctor and the head nurse got into an, ahem, “discussion” because of the lack of sterilized instruments, my case being an emergency procedure. In the middle of surgery, my doctor had to call in an orthopedic specialist for advice, and I listed to the orthopedic guy guide my doctor through cutting of the finger and alignment of the bone. The pain was horrendous. I started to cry. The nurse pointed out how upset I was, to which my doctor merely replied, “Well, maybe she shouldn’t have gone out drinking.”

    To this day, I have a fourth finger on my right hand which does not bend completely because the knuckle does not exist. Lesson learned. Never drink after breaking a bone, especially if your doctor is a screamer with no compassion whatsoever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always ask my patients “how long have you had this little friend?” when I see they have a hernia; the answer is almost always ages. Interesting that Steven was an emotional as well as a physical problem. I suspect that is true for a lot of people with hernias and stomas. Stay away from daredevil activities, keep him an only child!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha. This is a great story. You should have had it fixed earlier (that’s the pot calling the kettle black….) you know, we don’t actually take that much notice when people are lying baked on the table in the operating theatre… We see too many naked people to actually care anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Do you ever miss Steven? Did you hold a wake for his passing? After all, you were together for five years…

    BTW: I told my saintly GP about you yesterday. Not about the hernia, but about how you’re still young and full of hope. (We shared a good laugh at that!) Then I asked him how, at his age, he’s managed to stay full of hope and focused on his patients and he said: “I got a good office manager so I don’t have to mess with that stuff.” And I said, “That’s what I told her to do!” and he said he hopes you do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I guess congratulations are in order! πŸ˜‰ Enjoy your new, sexy, Steven-free life. I’ve heard from several doctors that they are the worst about taking care of themselves. Your hours are so long that the last thing you want to do when you have a break is engage in something medical. My own daughter just “treated” herself to a dental check-up;something she’d put off the entire time she was away at med school!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First, you are awesome. Seriously. I love your take on life. I love that you have real issues — health obstacles, imperfect relationships with family — and that you don’t pretend everything’s perfect and that you are upfront and honest about life. (And can I just say that I love that you admitted wearing maternity pants for nearly a year? I finally just put all my maternity clothes away and my baby will be one year in a few weeks.)

    Second, how does skydiving (is that what you were doing??) cause a hernia?

    Third, I love the moral of your story — do things now. I was so great at tending to things up until a few years ago. And due to many different things, I became depressed about life and let some things get out of hand. I’ve since been going back and trying to pick up the pieces, and it has been a painstakingly s l o w process. I’m learning the importance of tending, even when it seems boring or not important.

    Liked by 2 people

    • First, thank you so much for the fabulous complements! Woohoo for finally putting away the maternity pants and getting control of your life again. Last, not skidiving. The jump and incorrect form caused increased intraabdominal pressure which resulted in a hernia at an area of weakness in the fascia. Bunch of doctor mumbo-jumbo but there you have it!

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. I love your advice. I’m not glad for your experience with this, but I am glad to have such a physical example to think on when I find myself making reasons not to do something I know NEEDS to be done.


    What about my Yoga? Not that I actually did yoga, but what if I actually WANTED to someday?


    Liked by 2 people

  11. Note to self: Only let fat, ugly, old doctors see me naked. πŸ˜‰ (Actually I’m kidding. I already had that rule in place from my phobias long before your post.) I’m glad you and Steven parted ways. That’s gotta feel better! Did you bring him home in a jar? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Steven is the name of my x husband. Amazing how we can get used to something so uncomfortable. I carried him around for 20 years, until he, knowing it was only a matter of time, up and split. If only I’d read this 10 years ago, and had seen the humor in it then…….. Now, I’m glad he’s gone of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was the good patient who had her abdominal hernia repaired immediately. And then it ripped back open, so I kept it. Three and a half years later, it’s a subconscious act to push the little bubble of fat back through the hole. I used to gag at the feeling, but I don’t even notice it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. This post so cracks me up, the reality and horror both, along with the good message.

    I’m pending surgery next year for something I’ve put off terribly long as well since it doesn’t impede anything except a bit of vanity but if left untended, may. I have to have half of my face peeled off for the surgery, and that scares me more than the actual issue! Plus, six weeks at 60% pay scares me too since there’s no one to take up the slack. And, I have to move in with a co-worker to have any sort of semblance of help as my studio is too small for any family to come stay and help.

    Yeah, should have taken care of it when hubby was still alive, but it seemed so trivial then…

    Thanks for the encouragement (kind of), hah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You will be so glad to have it over with! I completely understand the anxiety over the whole thing but I assure you in the end my surgery and recovery were so much less awful than I had imagined. Yours will be, too! I am so glad that you have a friend that will help you out through it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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