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  • Writer's pictureHannah Crazyhawk

Emergency Surgery

I am still here. My surgeon yanked out both my gallbladder and appendix. It was one of the most horrific, terrifying, and painful surgeries that I've ever had.

My symptoms (101° fever, extreme right upper quadrant abdominal pain, sternum pain, 150 HR at resting, vomiting, bile reflux, fatigue, jaundice, lack of appetite, not eating, etc...) have all been present for a YEAR. And my former primary "doctor" literally kept telling me to stretch and do yoga and that these things were, "probably just my Crohn's." I am livid pissed that it went so far and almost ended my life. This is pure medical negligence. I have suffered so much.

I found a new doctor last month. She is very proactive (and skilled at working with chronically ill patients) and told me to get to the ER immediately for diagnostics. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be writing this now.

I literally almost didn't call that ambulance. I felt like I should be strong and tough it out. This is why toxic positivity is a problem. This is why it is vital to believe people when they are in pain. The ableism that surrounds me every day, despite my best efforts to eradicate it, is still an insidious and horrible judgment cast upon us by others who have no clue what life is like in our bodies.

When I was admitted to the hospital they placed me in a horrible, tiny, stuffy "recovery room." This was not a room for anyone staying longer than an outpatient procedure and certainly not for more than one night. The room also had no air conditioning. It's been in the mid 90's here. It was the worst thing having to cope with the relentless heat and a fever after major abdominal surgery. The whole ordeal was bullshit. I asked the nurse (who was a kind human) why they placed me there and not a real room, she said it was because of my insurance. I am disgusted. I had to suffer because I am poor. I hate this country's "medical system."

This surgery was definitely not my first rodeo. So, I knew what to expect - but this time I underestimated and had no idea the hell that was to come. The one biggest difference in this was that I went through it alone and I am still alone. That is devastatingly difficult and hurts my entire being inside and out. All the past times when I've been wheeled into the operating room, I've been drugged enough to make silly remarks about how shiny the equipment was. I was even that way going under for my brain surgery two years ago. But this time, the anesthesia didn't work. I was there for a long time crying out in fear and pain. I remember the anesthesiologist kept saying, "she's gonna need higher and higher doses." I felt the chilling drugs pumping into my veins while terror overcame me and the knowledge that I am doing this alone ripped away my hope.

The next thing I remember is dying. I remember a woman's voice calling my name telling me to come back. I remember that I couldn't breathe. I remember pain so severe that it felt like being stabbed over and over. I had a rare adverse reaction to the anesthesia. My tongue became so swollen that it was choking me to death. They had to intubate me again and give me medications to counteract the reaction. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see, I remember pointing at my chest in pain, but the nurse telling me I couldn't have anything for pain because of my depressed respiration. So, I went the next 24 hours without any pain medication. It was absolute hell. I was so scared. I am still scared. The glimpse I saw to whatever there is after death, is not a place I ever want to see again anytime soon. There was no peace there. After a long time in recovery I was taken back to my 85° room to swelter and hold on through the endless pain.

The fact that these two acute problems turned into chronic issues that needed emergency surgery - makes me want to crush something, I am so angry, so hurt, and so lonely. I want justice.

I am finally home and very grateful for my tiny air conditioner and soft bed. I know healing won't be linear and the road is long, but I do know that not having two organs slowly poisoning me will make a huge difference in the long run. Also, please don't think that this surgery has "cured" me. I'm still chronically ill, facing a brain tumor and starting back up on chemotherapy soon. Just know that I am still here and I am still fighting.

And all I want is a fucking hug.

If you want to send me some cheer, I would love Audible Credit for books to listen to during my recovery. My email is:

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