Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More Projections: Flying Solo

My decision to have weight loss surgery is not unique by any means.  It's not even uncommon at this point.  But there is something that seems to set me apart from most of my WLS brethren, and that is that I am doing this all by myself.  I have no spouse, no partner, no significant other to hold my hand through all of this.

Sure, yes, I have friends.  A healthy number of them, in fact. And I have family.  And several individuals have offered their services as support team members at various points.  But a partner, I think, is something different.  It's someone who's there day and night, even when they're not.  It's a ready-made ride to the hospital, a guaranteed familiar face to wake up to, an administrator of steady support, and a reliable spooner of jello.  I don't have a lot of experience with actual serious relationships, so I guess I imagine it as having someone who will just be there for me.  It's having someone around all the time, who won't just come in for a couple hours and leave, or stay one night or two and then go back to their own life.  It's someone to help with the day-to-day stuff around the house so that I don't have to worry about it.  It's having to not think about who to ask for help, having to not try and coordinate people, having to not worry about creating impositions on a whole bunch of other people with my needs.  A partner, by virtue of the very position, is the default for all of that.  And not having one sort of makes me feel like I've got to work that much harder to get through all of this shit.  

Let me make it perfectly clear that I'm NOT knocking the support I do have.  I am grateful for those who have pledged their support, and I know I'll be checked in on frequently. But I do sometimes wonder how I'm ultimately going to do this all by myself.   I know I can do it, and it's not like I'm afraid.  But I know it's probably a hell of a lot easier when there's someone else there to feed the cats and clean the litter boxes, and who doesn't care if you want to spend the entire recovery period hanging out in a Mr. Rogers t-shirt and a tattered pair of granny briefs.  

I got a bunch of information in the mail yesterday outlining a number of things I still need to do between now and surgery day.  One of the things I have to do is attend a 2-hour class at the end of March for information regarding the special pre-op diet and post-op nutrition and exercise guidelines.  They "strongly recommend" that you come accompanied by the person who will be responsible for your care during recovery.  At this stage in the game I've managed to coordinate a (very early morning) surgery day ride to the hospital from my aunt, and my sister is planning to be around at some point.  Someone is bringing me home. But who's actually "responsible" for my aftercare?   Who's going to get the pleasure of watching me retch?  Who's going to help me to the bathroom when I'm too zonked on Lortabs to stand up?  Most importantly, who's going to wake me up to remind me to eat my jello every two hours?

Looks like I'll be showing up to that class with me, myself, and I.

I've never been one to need someone to take care of me.  I might not always take the best care of myself, and I frequently fall behind on a lot of things that are easier to deal with when one has a partner - things like housework and the electric bill and cooking actual food - but I have spent most of my adult life as a single unit, and have lived more than 16 of the last 20 years by myself.  It's kind of the only way I know how to be.  I've always been fiercely independent, always marched to the beat of my own drum, and have for most of my life been a fair bit quirky about - and protective of - my privacy.  In fact the last time I did try to live with someone it was a disaster because I couldn't deal with someone encroaching on the space that had been exclusively mine for so many years.

So like I am prone to doing, I'm projecting more than anything else here.  I'll probably welcome the solitude.  I'll probably want to be left alone.  I'll probably sleep most of the time anyway.  And if I pee myself because I can't get up, or if I don't wake up in time to eat my jello...oh well.  I'll get the hang of it eventually.  I always do.


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