Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

What's Bothering Me Right Now

Everything. Or maybe not a lot but just so intensely it feels like a lot. Two main things bothering me right now about this week: Skills check-off for nursing school and my surgical consult this week (Yeah, I need surgery.). Check-offs bother everyone in nursing school, and I really dislike check-offs because it’s hands-on, not theory. I like theory—obviously, I’ve got four degrees and plan to go back to school for at least five more degrees (Master’s this time! But maybe also some more Bachelor’s later.). I dislike that I’m going to mess up. That fear paralyzes me, and I cope with overwhelm by avoidance already as it is. I feel as if I don’t know where to start, so I don’t start until I absolutely have no choice but to do so—for example, if I’m standing at a station to practice at school in a room of teachers and other students practicing. I can only stand there doing nothing for so long. I am hyperaware of how awkward I appear at every moment in public. Another strategy I use to avoid but look busy is to read my instructions and usually one step over and over and over because I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t focus on what I’m reading, and I can’t stand to read further until I know I’ve consciously read what’s in front of me. And what makes these check-offs worse is I have to practice at home because it’s been so long since I’ve done them that even though I have a pretty good idea of what to do, I don’t have an exact idea, and when people’s lives are in your hands, you need a pretty close to the exact idea, and it’s going to take more than once, I’m sure, to get the skills right. And I was reading the steps, and even those didn’t tell me everything I need to know—for example, the equipment necessary for inserting an indwelling urinary catheter. What do I know to grab? Whatever’s in the kit. That’s not good enough, and our kits are so used from practicing the first time we learned that who knows if all the pieces are in there. So I’m going to have to watch the skills videos and read instructions and practice using my own two hands. Ugh, life is hard. I’m mocking myself. So I’m so worried, right? I know the answer is to perhaps practice what I remember first and I’ll probably surprise myself with how much I remember. Then, I can watch the videos. Then, I can read. Then, I can practice, practice, practice. You know what’s more fun than doing that, though? (A lot of things.) Vegging out and listening to music (Yungblud), maybe even filling out my planner with my copious amounts of assignments due this semester. Blah!

Second thing bothering me—surgical consult. I found out December 28, 2020, when I had my first appointment with my new holistic dentist enlightenDENTAL (Dr. Jimani Blackwell and her staff are AWESOME!) that I had a narrowing in my airway that might require surgery. Part of the exam included a cone beam CT (less radiation to patients and puts out less chemicals into the environment than traditional CT), which is how she detected the narrowing of my airway. She had to send the scans to a radiologist to interpret the results. January 4, 2021, the results were back, and I found out that I did indeed need surgery. I have a lingual (tongue) tonsil that is enlarged and pressing into my throat above my epiglottis and closing my airway probably 80-90%, so I need surgery to get the tonsil removed. On the bright side, since that’s restricting my oxygen intake, Dr. Blackwell is confident that I’ll notice a world of difference in how I feel after the tonsil is removed. Getting to that point is freaking me out, though. I’m convinced I will never wake up from anesthesia for whatever reason or that something will go wrong physically with the surgery itself and kill me or leave me gravely injured for the rest of my life. I think about how they’re likely going to cut from inside my throat, remove the tonsil, and sew it back up, but I imagine my airway collapsing or junk from my throat (because mouths are pretty dirty) getting into my body cavity (which NOTHING belongs there besides organs, which house the “things” in our body) and causing a deadly infection or things from my body cavity or trauma from the surgery (blood since there’s supposed to be nothing in those body cavities) getting into my lungs and causing pneumonia and killing me or causing asphyxiation. Also worried that the tonsil has stretched my throat and therefore when they remove the tonsil, I’ll have a floppy throat that will create pockets where food will get trapped and either choke me and cause pneumonia or asphyxiation or cause infection. Also scared that since the surgery is on my airway and I’ll be intubated (UGH. ONE OF THE WORST THINGS IMAGINABLE IN MY ANXIOUS MIND.), they’ll break my jaw or break a tooth or something. Also worried that since I am so nervous my blood pressure will be sky high and then anesthesia will bring it so low that I’ll bottom out, they won’t be able to bring it back up, and then I’ll die from that. Less horrible things I’m worried about but still largely worried about is THE PAIN. I am being cut into. My throat is being manually manipulated and possibly forcibly. They will wake me up with the intubation tube still down my throat the check my gag reflex. They will give me a sternal rub. The intubation will hurt my throat. The SURGERY will hurt my throat. The process of intubation will hurt my throat or jaw. I’ve observed surgery as part of nursing school. I observed two robotic hysterectomies, and they were ROUGH with those patients. I now know why my throat hurt so damn much when I woke up from my tonsillectomy when I was four (Actually, I don’t know because I have no idea if they intubated me. It was very likely just the physical trauma of having something cut out from your body.). Y’all better have me hopped up on goof balls for a long time. I am so scared for so many reasons if you couldn’t tell. I’m scared to believe that I will survive this surgery. I’m scared that if I believe I’ll survive it, God will laugh at me and say, “Bitch, you thought.” Okay, God probably doesn’t do stuff like that, but we don’t know why he does the things he does. He might be ready for me to move onto the next life. That scares the shit out of me. I’m not ready for that. Please, don’t do that to me right now, God. Don’t do that to my family if doing it for me is not enough. We’ve had enough shit with Daddy dying, please. And I guess if I see my dad while I’m in surgery (A. I’ll probably shit myself, first of all.), I need to stay away from him. I’ve seen too many TV shows and heard too many stories IN REAL LIFE of people talking to those who have died before them soon before they die. Uuuuuugh. I do feel like it’s likely that I’ll live but anxiety. I will cry my eyes out when I’m wheeled to the OR alone without my family. I hate that. I’m so scared to be alone possibly before I do. I know I won’t be “alone” because I’ll have doctors, nurses, and techs around me, but y’all all (Yeah, I know that’s redundant, but it sounds good in my head right now.) know that that’s not the same. I wish I could be put under anesthesia while holding my loved ones' hands. But maybe I’ll look dead and it will scare them. Ugh. I hope it’s a fast surgery. I’m scared it will be an hour or more since they have to be so careful with my airway. I’m scared (besides not waking up) of waking up alone and having to wait an hour in recovery before I get to see my family. I know I’ll probably not notice any of that time because it will take time for the anesthesia to wear off, but fuck, it still scares me and bothers me. And how will I know if I survived or if I’m in some hybrid weirdo limbo? Okay, fine, I’m sure I’ll know. I told my mom I’m gonna scream for her at the top of my lungs again like I did when I had my tonsil removed when I was four, heh heh heh. Fine, no, I won’t, especially since I’m scared of pain and dying or being injured. For someone who hates religion, I really want some prayers/good thoughts/whatever you want to call it. And I know that prayers don’t equal religion. It equals spirituality, but for someone who doesn’t regularly practice religion or spirituality, it seems extremely hypocritical to ask for prayers, but I’m desperate, y’all. And I’m sure you don’t have to do anything to earn or deserve prayers, but it feels like I have to. Catholic guilt.

(On a smartphone, rotate screen to landscape for pictures to show up well/correctly.)


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