I have been asking myself this question for some time “Why do I have so much fear that people around me even notice how it has affected me.
I have sleepless nights, my entire face has reacted badly with pimples and my body feels as if someone has been beating it with a Sjambok. I overeat for someone who shouldn’t be but apparently, my twin sister who by the way is very observant thinks that I have lost a few kilos and she has seen that every time she massages me.
A part of me feels as if I have underestimated how the thought of going for a Post Ventral Hernia Repair had an effect on both mental and physical spirit. Having to deal with it now was the hardest thing most especially because it has always been on my mind ever since and also, there has been a lot of changes in my life and I needed to adjust in so many areas of it. so much happened in a few months, getting baptised at Olive Tree Church on Florida, getting a new job at Gorilla Creative Media, shooting of my documentary by a well-known TV Media based in London called Barcroft.TV and preparing for my operation just to mention a few.
I believe none of you was aware of this but I have postponed the surgery dates twice and both times was due to fear. Not so much fear of physical pain but of body transformation and learning to accept my body again. Not only had I find comfort and satisfaction in my current body transformation but I had promised myself that I will do anything to avoid hospital stay even if it means I drag my surgery date. Everything about that place takes me back into the world I would rather forget. I can’t bear the memories I have of both ICU and High Care Unit not to mention the horrendous experience at 4Fward unit. Believe me, I can write series of stories about what nurses do to patients at 4F Ward Unit and how vital it is for the Minister of Health to interfere and look into it with in-depth lenses.
It is clear that the unconsciousness from the nurses goes a long way and that, there is more to it than just the statement “They mean and abusive to patients”. Had the Minister looked to ways to better their days at the workplace through counselling sessions? searching for a purpose and calling, and maybe they will find it again. Reminding them that there is more to their job than just an every month paycheck. They nurse and save lives.
We had a serious emotional chat with my brother in law – Zolani Masemola and his lovely wife Sinethemba Masemola about the staff nurses and what had gone wrong with their conscious, Zolani suggested that counselling could help, he continued to state that “nurses bear too much daily” how he had stated it awakened me to see beyond what I have concluded about their behaviour towards patients.
I have a tendency not to stick to the original story, enough about the nurses for now and back to the OS…
When I told my Doctor’s that I am going back to work, they did not seem to approve of it, I could see it in their faces and their response as I engage with some of them on WhatsApp but they never said I should not go back. I believe they did not want to make decisions for me but they kept telling me to take a good care of myself. They would say, “Be gentle Neli, you need to rest, rest”. little did I know that all along, they feared for my health, both physical and emotional.
A few weeks after I went back to work, I would disappear now and then and go to the ladies room where I used to cry my lungs out, then come out after I have outdone my facial. and that wasn’t because of Nkonzo’s passing and had nothing to do with my struggle to adjust to my new life with a colostomy bag at work or that my back was in pain due to using the public transport but it was something small as the sound of a printing machine. Every time it would beep Ti…Ti…Ti, something awakens memories of deep pain.
At first, I thought it would stop and that I will get over it. I would say ” I will take it like a strong black lady and not show that it has an effect in me” but until this day I am still in fear that the machine will make a sound and I would react with a bucket of tears out of nowhere. “What if people think I was hallucinating or that I had PTSD”. It is never my intention to frighten or drag anyone into my world of fear with me but the sound of a printing machine takes me straight to the first time I woke up in ICU after three weeks. The sound of ICU equipment was the first thing I could hear and apparently “I started panicking, I began to pull out all the plugs and pipes that were in my mouth and my nose”. I remember waking up and both my arms were attached to the hospital bed that I was lying on. It was the first time I felt like a prison 🙂
Maybe I am losing it but that sound, that noise, no matter how far it is. It leaves me fearing for my life, freezing and drowning in my own thoughts, thoughts that I wish no one can ever experience. hopeless and dead thoughts.
With all that fear, at first, I thought to myself “What damage would it make if I do not go for the post ventral hernia surgery and just keep my stomach the way it is – I mean, “I have already found comfort in it, people are aware of it and seem to be comfortable with it”.
Sometimes, I honestly feel like I was born this way, with a skin graft stomach. I have grown to fall in love with how my intestines dance inside of me and make a funny noise when they are hungry, grumpy or happily full after feasting. There is no part of me that wish any better than what I am right now besides my spinal back operation. I look good, feel good and I do good for myself. Why should I go for this surgery” – I would asking myself.
But I guess my questions were all not thoughts well off. firstly, I have no muscles in my stomach, meaning that I cannot control my intestines. The more I eat, the more they expand. I have been battling to go on dates with guys because I would fear that if I eat a lot, I would look totally unsexy and totally different in my outfit. I know you might be thinking, then you should try to eat less when you go on dates. I am sorry hun, but when they smell food, there is no compromising for “THEM”. It is all about “THEM”. and worse of it all, they can smell good food from the distance and begin to jive on my stomach like a baby kicking on its mummies stomach. I could feel and see every move they make and I can tell when they react out of hunger and not gladly full.
Also, they dislike when I less feed them, they will humiliate me with a loud noise and that means “We are still hungry, feed us more”. They behave the same as when I had a colostomy bag.
Secondly, having a stomach like mine means that you are always at risk. It would not be wise decision to get pregnant while still have a patch because HELLO, I have no control over it, remember it keeps expanding. I can imagine what would happen, KABOOM :).
And thirdly, I am easily open to danger. Let’s say that by any bad luck I engage in any misfortune fight and some ratchet person stab my stomach – deep in the bottom, it would go straight to my intestines and they might burst and that would cost going back to having a colostomy bag and that is the last thing I would want to happen. not having a colostomy bag was a highlight of my LIFE.
This Wednesday, the 9th of May 2018, is the day I have been avoiding for months but it has finally arrived and yes, I still have fear and I am so damn tired of having to get used to my body transformation that comes with so much package; discomfort, pains, bandage dressings every two days, visit at the nearest clinics, dealing with the staff nurse bull shark, blood, infections, unhealthiness and feeling sick and not being able to do things for my self-sucks big time..
But, let me be real for a second and share wise words that I have received from a friend. “You have survived a lot of surgeries Neli, so this is nothing but a last stamp from God” – “Lungi Mthethwa”
How has fear been a liar in your life?