He lay in the bed with a hospital gown. Having woken from sedative-induced sleep and gunshot injuries for the first time in days, he was alone. That’s when she walked into the room, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you woke up.”
Abruptly and unexpectedly, I burst into tears.
This relatively innocuous scene from a television show triggered powerful emotions of vulnerability and personal trauma in me.
I had abdominal surgery nine and one-half months ago. Two days after my first routine colonoscopy, the surgeon removed my right colon. The end of the story is I am healthy. Though I had precancerous cells in my body, I did not have cancer.
Apparently, the random itching at the wound site is not the only residual sensation from my experience of last spring. My body and my psyche continues to heal even as I tell myself and others, “I’m healthier than I’ve ever been!”
This causes me to wonder. If my body is still healing, as indicated by the occasional itchiness at the wound site, why would I think I’ve fully recovered emotionally? The short answer, of course, is that I’m good at repressing feelings.
The more complex answer is that each of us are, well, complex. Our emotions are much like onions with multiple layers. When we have gotten to the bottom of a feeling or experience, there are still more layers to peel. Sometimes we repress feelings as a psychological coping strategy. That can be healthy for a time but not forever.
Less than a year ago I experienced the trauma of bodily violation, of utter dependence, and the recognition that I am mortal. If I ignore or forcibly repress these feelings, they will come out in harmful ways.
I have more psycho-emotional work to do. Time to peel another layer off this onion and allow some tears to flow.
This is the tenth of multiple posts about my experiences of surgery and recovery following a colonoscopy.
God Hides God’s Face From Me! May 20, 2014
Unnatural, May 21, 2014
Out of Chaos, May 27, 2014
No Big Deal, May 29, 2014
Mortality, June 3, 2014
Wiped Memories, June 6, 2014
Perseverance, June 10, 2014
Scars, June 19, 2014
Embracing Emotions, July 2, 2014
An Unexpected Onion, January 14, 2015