People tried to tell me that the surgery I underwent on my elbow last Thursday was a big deal. They tried to explain things to me. I'm sure I even listened. However, all that stuck in my head was “This is no big deal.” I mean, I've had moles removed before. This was just a bursa that developed under my skin due to that car accident I was in last year. It was growing and interfering with arm movement, and painful and unsightly to be sure, but they'll just nick it out and zip it shut! No big deal.
The first clue that things were not quite as simple as I had imagined was when they wheeled me into the operating room and I saw all the personnel on standby. “Hmm, this is going to be more complicated than a mole removal,” I thought to myself. Then, even after it took me five hours before I was ambulatory and able to leave the hospital, and another seven before I began to be free from the anesthesia, I was down on myself for being a baby. This was just a flesh wound. No big deal. Get over it already!
Four days of soreness, stiffness, fatigue, and wincing went by and I toughed it out, but all the while I wondered why I was making such a big fuss out of it internally. Outside, I was easy going. I was so laid back that I didn't even tell two of my daughters about the surgery. Inside, I was thinking, “Wow, this hurts more than I imagined!” Why couldn't I just ignore the pain and get on with things?
Then today I removed the bandages and could see the incision. It was two inches long, and there was bruising all over my arm. It looked like a sorry mess! I was making light of this? I was acting like this was no big deal? Was I crazy‽
I'm sure ADHD is involved in there somewhere. Certainly, we can point out that background noise becomes foreground noise for adults with ADHD. That was why I probably couldn't just ignore being one-armed and in pain over the weekend. But I think there was more involved. I don't believe that ADHD alone can be blamed for my downplaying the severity of the operation. I can't avoid laying responsibility on pig-headed pride, too.
Maybe after years of being my own stumbling block I am overly used to ignoring my body's signals when pushing forward to be productive. Maybe I just don't like to admit I'm weak, or scared, or overwhelmed. Maybe I'm just used to bone-headed pluck being one of my greatest attributes. Unfortunately for me, recovery from surgery isn't about denying doubts and grabbing bulls by the horns. It's more about sitting quietly on my couch and being glad I could finally shower today.
And now my elbow is informing me that I have typed enough for one day. With luck I will work on freelance assignments and my book revisions tomorrow, but only if I pace myself. I won't be doing myself any favors if my machismo lands me back in the OR.