The Hardest Two Weeks
There's something strange about having the same surgery as your son. My son Ethan had his tonsils out about a month before I did. It was tough for him, not easy, but I was surprised by how well he handled it.
He ate pudding and yogurt, played video games, and slept. He never complained though. He would say things like, I just don't feel good, but I'll be ok. He took pain meds only when he needed, about every 6-7 hours. Truly he was a trooper.
So after having cared for Ethan and seeing how well he did, how quickly he returned to homeschooling, I had very high expectations for myself. I felt I could handle pain well, I thought, I could get through this fairly quickly, and get back to work within a few days.
I could not have been more wrong.
The day after the surgery, which had gone off without a hitch, I was finished. When the pain meds from the hospital wore off, I was completely and totally ready to pack in for a month. I was thankful for my BYU sweatshirt, that saw me through the fevers, and I kept moving from room to room, trying to feel better just as best as I could. I never did find a place I could rest.
The worst part was the reference pain. There's a whole series of nerves that run right through the tonsil area that runs back up straight to my ears. So I had the worst ear infection style pain I had ever had in my life. I could not lay down, and spent 12 days sleeping upright in a chair.
At this point I chuckle. Everyone told me it was going to be bad, my doctor told me I would be out of commission for over 3 weeks minimum. Why now did I feel that I was somehow betrayed?
There was no amount of preparation I could have done to get ready for this pain. Even when the doctor increased the amount of my percocet, I felt that it did nothing for my pain. Every four hours, I anxiously waited for the moment I could take my meds, just trying to find some relief. Pulling my hoodie over my head, I would then try to sleep until they took effect, and then I drank as much water as I could.
My family members are the real heroes here. My brother had his tonsils out the week before (why was everyone doing this at the same time?) and called and texted all the time, checking in. We commiserated together. My sons, hugged me and cared for me. My dear wife carried all the family duties, listened to me complain nonstop, and put essential oils on my poor feet, which really helped. My dog sat with me in the living room, licking my hand, reminding me to just stay alive.
I have a friend at Church, Adam, who told me afterwards, that he would have tried to convince me out of it. He had his tonsils out, and it was bad, and he wished he hadn't done it. I assured him that by that point, I was set on my course, and there was relatively little he could have done to change my mind. Quietly, I wished he *had* talked me out of it.
The biggest problem I had with this, is that every kept saying, "It just gets so much harder when you get so old." "Well it's tougher for old guys like us." Even my doctor chimed in, "Well older people just don't deal with pain as well as children and younger people do."
When did I get old? Last time I checked I was only 37. Oh wait, yeah, that's the beginning of getting old isn't it? I guess the grey hairs in my beard are a dead giveaway.
I am feeling better. I'm back to work, back to homeschooling, back to playing video games. I even played basketball at church with "the old guys" this last week.
Am I glad I did it? Sure. I breathe easier now, hopefully I won't get sore throats anymore, and be a little less sick overall. Would I do it again? I'd be hard pressed to say I would. It was the hardest two weeks of my life.