Posted by: lifeonislandtime | October 2, 2011

Anger and letting go

So, as a sufferer of chronic illness, I frequently find myself ill.  Makes sense.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be chronic.  Every time I become ill, I have a difficult time not questioning, pitying and demanding.  I think everyone who has some form of chronic illness succumbs to this mentality at some time or another, typically during a “flare up” or episode of their illness.  Unlike most sufferers, however, I don’t have the universe/God/higher power to blame for my issues.  I have one person:  my surgeon.

One April day, my gall bladder surgery got moved back from 9 am to 11am.  I still don’t know why.  The reason they gave, “things happen in surgery.  Nothing is written in stone” should have given me a clue as to how things would come out.  My call time was 9am, and I was delayed until after 10.  When they finally took me back, there was a bit of a rush to get my IV line in and get enough fluids and medication into me.  When the surgeon finally came in to talk to me, he apologized for running late, but said that we’d all get going soon.  I remember rolling into the operating room and I remember them rolling over the medication to put me under.  I don’t remember anything else until later.

I woke up later in excruciating pain, and couldn’t stop screaming.  The nurse told me to stop.  I couldn’t.  She gave me an injection, and I went back under.  I woke again in horrible pain.  I asked for my parents, but they weren’t there.  I got another injection.  After the third or fourth injection, my mom finally came.  I asked her what had happened, as the nurse wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me.  She told me that “the doctor had a whoops” while performing my operation.  Those were his exact words.  He explained it to my parents while drawing a diagram on a napkin he had in his pocket.  That was why the surgery had taken so long.  He had to repair the common bile duct that he had severed in his haste to complete the operation.  The fact that he had a napkin in his pocket indicated to me that he was hurrying to get to lunch.

His “whoops” has left me with chronic digestive issues.  I’m having a flare-up right now, and as always, have to deal with the anger that goes along with it.

The last serious flare-up occurred in the spring of 2007, and in that time, I’ve found that my anger has mellowed.  Maybe it’s just that I’ve found so much more purpose and caring in my life that it’s no longer front and center.  Maybe it’s that the ensuing years have deadened the anger.  Maybe I’ve just mellowed.  I don’t know, but instead of an over-riding sense of righteous anger, I now feel disappointment.  I’m disappointed that my surgeon decided that his lunch was more important than my well-being.  I’m disappointed that the phrase “first, do no harm” was not first and foremost in his mind.  I’m disappointed that he chose to act in a cavalier manner when speaking to my parents about my well-being and possible harm.

I hope that the damage he caused me has been a wake-up call to him, and that he does keep in mind his oaths and other people’s-well being.  I hope that he has reevaluated his priorities or at least realized that he is human and that he has the power to rearrange his schedule to keep his patients safe.  I would love to think that this wouldn’t happen to another person under his care.

Have I let go?  I’m not so sure.  I feel that when I have completely let go, I won’t feel anything when I have a flare-up, other than the flare-up itself.  Perhaps that is naive of me.  He certainly stole that from me.  I’d like to think I’m getting some of that and my trust back.  I’m not so sure it will ever return entirely, nor will the nagging pissed-off-ishness toward the person responsible.

I think I need to just accept that I’ve mellowed, and leave it at that.



  1. I hope you at least hung him from the litigatory mast.

  2. Well, as a matter of fact, it happened shortly after Washington approved “frivolous lawsuit” and “lawsuit award caps” as laws, and my judgement wouldn’t even cover the legal bills. My attorney and I decided not to prosecute, especially since I signed the Informed Consent, and my mishap was the first item listed. That is where the “letting go” comes in. For what it’s worth, I’m doing much better these days…

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