This has been a really stressful last couple of days. I have been going back and forth mentally trying to decide whether or not to write anything more about the catheter situation here on my blog... I feel embarrassed and a plethora of other not-so-fun emotions and I wouldn't be me if I wasn't trying to deny the existence of such emotional pain.
But, I decided this morning to put on my Big Girl Panties and share.
At times it still seems completely surreal that I have a catheter. I mean, it constantly hurts and it's not that I forget that it is there, but more that I my brain can't quite process that I actually went through with getting one. I have now had it placed for just shy of 3 days and I can't express enough how much I hate it. Physically I don't think that it is helping me; and instead I believe that it is making things worse. I have majorly increased my fluid intake, but I am still producing such small amounts of urine... Based on my intake, I am falling majorly short in the output end. I have been talking with Barney's sister (who is a nurse) and am more convinced now that placing the catheter was probably not what actually needed to happen as it may not be that I "can't pee" but more that my kidneys aren't producing enough urine, which no catheter can help.
I am still spinning mentally about how everything went down at the hospital on Thursday. I tried to muster whatever courage that I could when talking to the doctor about why this fairly routine procedure was going to be so hard for me based on my trauma history. I NEVER want to tell people that I have "weaknesses" or limitations because of my past. And while I couldn't guarantee that disclosing any of that information would make it easier, but I had to at least try.
I could feel the mammoth-sized lump in my throat and the shake in my voice as I told the doctor that I was feeling so hesitant to have this done and wondered if I could have something for anxiety through the procedure as I have severe PTSD. The response, "Were you assaulted or something?" Yeah... Something like that.
He said that he could give me a small dose of Ativan pushed through my IV. I agreed, feeling dejected as I already take that dose of Ativan for general anxiety management every day. After a few minutes with medication in my system, the nurse came back and was shocked that I couldn't feel any difference. She left and came back with another small dose. I was so terrified of having this procedure done that the 2nd dose didn't help me either. Genevieve (RN) said that I wouldn't be allowed another dose for a while so "we might as well just get it done." I hesitated and agreed.
I tried to look at my friend J who was sitting with me as a distraction and as a source of strength in order to ground myself. Genevieve asked me to remove my undergarments and open my legs. I froze, and felt myself rushing out of that room mentally. I vaguely heard her repeat the instruction and then felt her force me to do it for me, as I wasn't "cooperating" with her. Next moment the tube was placed. I felt a few silent tears leave my eyes as the nurse quickly left me in the room. I was crushed that even with all my "bravery" and raw honesty, that these medical professionals didn't treat me with more gentleness and sensitivity.
Since Thursday, this lovely catheter has been my shadow, my toilet, and my constantly painful reminder of my abuse. I have slept less than 4 hours total in the 3 nights that I have had it... I can't shut my brain down before bed. I can't manage laying in bed, in the dark, trying to sleep with something that isn't "supposed" to be there.
I can't help but feel so discouraged that this experience is turning into such a setback. I have spent several months and almost an entire Inpatient stay at The Mansion working specifically through my trauma as it relates to the restroom (being in that room and the goings-on in there as well). Timmy and I tirelessly and excruciatingly processed the events of my past, doing increasingly difficult Exposure therapy and slowly but surely moving away from my fears. And while, it wasn't "cured," I had come so far in that aspect, that most of the time I don't think twice about needing to plan skills and giving myself pep talks before I try to pee.
But, even with all that Exposure-ing, I finally admitted yesterday to my Sis P, that this experience ended up becoming the Worst Case Scenario... That this procedure was close enough to some of my abuse that having the catheter placed re-traumatized me..that term just looks and feels so pathetic... but I guess a spade is a spade, no matter how stupid the spade looks. I have almost completely reverted to dissociation and deadening myself in order to survive each moment... I have closed myself off from all emotion. Flying between terror and panic to La-La-Land and back again.
I don't know how all of this medical stuff is going to play out. I have no idea how long I will be carting around my Golden Purse, or what it is going to take in order to get me up and runnin' again. And if I think about how long this process is likely to take, I will be so overwhelmed and want to just curl up and give in. So, no future-tripping allowed!
I feel like this post is an extreme case of Oversharing... So, I think I shall stop while I'm behind. I do feel so much gratitude for the people who have been calling to check in or sending a text just to say I love you. Grateful to J for making the journey to make sure that I didn't sit in that hospital room alone, even though I can only imagine how awkward that would be to witness. To my Sis for listening to all of my madness, for worrying enough to help me brainstorm how to proceed and then to get me laughing when my brain hits overload. I don't know what I would do without my friends. J posted a blog talking about how lonely PTSD gets... (Her Wisdom Here) And, as per usual, J is completely right. Trauma leaves everyone to feel completely alienated from people, from love, from hope. And I know that without the people in my life who hold my hand and lovingly urge me forward I likely would have drowned in my trauma ocean a long time ago.
Together is the only way forward.