What I’ve been up to for the past week: 

I had minor surgery a week ago. Outpatient, only a couple hours long. I went shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond on the way home.

This past Saturday, six days post-op,  I went through a depressive freak-out of pubescent proportions. Now, I happen to have gotten pretty good at recognizing my depressive cycles over the past few years, so I lucked out and was able to work my way through it. 

But, I’m a little ticked off that no one – not the surgeon, my doctor, the surgical nurse, my sister who works for an outpatient surgery center – no one mentioned post-surgical depression.

I know my own depression. It’s not crippling, by any means, but it can be very disruptive and destructive in my life if I don’t pay attention to  it. Before the surgery, between my healthier diet, improved work life, and a number of other factors, I was actually thinking of working with my doctor to wean off the mild anti-depressant I’ve been taking for the last 8 years. 

Thank the gods I hadn’t done that yet.

Post-op depression is something of which, apparently, the plastics world is fully aware, but I found few resources outside that field for patients seeking information.

 But, as one site put it: “anesthesia seems to bring out our ‘sensitive sides’ and our anxiety.”

 I’ll say.

So, the whole point of this rant was to say that in the past, I’ve tried to be nothing but supportive for any friends and family who have gone through surgery. I’d imagined that there’s something inherently traumatic about the process. Modern medicine, while often amazing and life-giving, is just as frequently monstrous, to be frank.

I am here to tell you I had no f%#$ing idea what I was talking about and if I’ve ever been condescending or flippant on the subject, I beg forgiveness.

I’ve got a few staples in my left arm, and I’ve been pretty much pain-free thanks to the pills that got me through the worst of it. But on Saturday night my world quaked so as to make me feel as if nothing would ever be right again. For no reason. And I’m still wobbling through some of the aftershocks.

I can’t imagine what I would be going through if, say, someone had slit open my midsection and dug around in my guts for a while. Just the idea makes me want to curl into the fetal position and cry for days. Weeks, even.

To those of you who have braved such experiences and are here to tell of it, I raise my glass of water and down my daily SSRI …

I am truly in awe.

 PS … I’ve missed y’all.

This is Shelley, 35, and gradually healing in Iowa.

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