Blissful Ignorance

At the same time I am both eager and dreading the surgery on Tuesday. I am eager because my bones can really begin to heal once the pin is in, and I have hope that the pain will lessen. I dread it because I don’t know what the procedure will involve. I don’t actually want to know too much.

All my life I have always been so empathetic that seeing, reading, hearing about, or experiencing suffering has been problematic for me.  I’ve fainted–or come close to it–when given details of medical procedures, visiting people in the hospital, watching medical or violent movies, watching/reading the news, and sitting in science classes in school. I remember being required to read All Quiet on the Western Front in high school and struggling not to faint in class. I actually went to a behavioral specialist in my early 20s to learn techniques for handling this and did quite well through a number of years and surgeries, but when JJ was diagnosed with cancer, my sensitivity to suffering resurged. During JJ’s first visit with the oncologist, I became faint when we were told how bad his cancer was. The oncologist actually made JJ get off the exam table so I could lie down, which was extremely embarrassing. After that, we used to bet each other about whether I would faint or not at various stages of his treatment.

So while the unknown causes some anxiety, knowing too much detail is worse. I wouldn’t mind learning that the surgery wouldn’t hurt but I don’t want to hear that it will. I don’t know if I will be cut open, but don’t want to know ahead of time that I will. I don’t know if I will be completely under anesthesia or only have local anesthesia but even the thought of being awake and aware makes me nauseous. I don’t know how a pin is put in, but I don’t want to know. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. So if you know any details, don’t tell me, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. I prefer to find out when I get there.

I received pages of forms in the mail from the hand surgeon. I filled the out the forms this morning. I laughed a bit about how a person with a hand injury–requiring treatment from a hand surgeon–is supposed to fill out forms, but I used my left hand as a paper weight while I wrote with my right hand. Of course, EJ would have filled out the forms if I needed him to, but I was able to do it.

While filling out the forms, I read the info I received from the hospital the other day more closely. It was very general–not too much information. The summary said :You have a break or fracture in both bones in the forearm. The bones are not out of place and do not need to be set. This fracture usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to heal completely…” That was interesting because we had thought that I had only fractured one bone in my arm. I was glad that I will not need the bones to be set. I think that would be painful. I thought the simple diagram showing where the fractures are is interesting. I’m dismayed that it will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. That might be considered a short time medically but it feels like  a long time to be injured and unable to do my own tasks.

One Comment on “Blissful Ignorance

  1. I once worked for a lawyer and he wanted to be a doctor. That was his ambition for a very long time, and once he got to med school, the first event where he was required to be present at a procedure, he fainted dead away, onto the floor and had to be put on a bed with nurses hovering over him to revive him. That was the end of a career in medicine for him, so he became a lawyer instead. On the bright side, you will not have to help with any snow shoveling this year, but I am sure the guys probably do that anyway. You’ll be fine and being in the hands of a hand surgeon/specialist (pardon that pun) will help you get the best care possible. Can EJ or JJ post on your behalf and let us know how your surgery went? Good luck with the surgery TJ.


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