About a week before my surgery, I returned a book to my neighbour. It was at that time that I told her about my upcoming operation. She told me, “Well, you look good.” Which I took to mean, “You look healthy.” I didn’t appear to be ailing and in need of surgery.
On the day after my surgery, I had a few friends visit. One of them told me, “Well, you look good.” Which I took to mean, “You look good for someone who just came out of a major bowel surgery.” I was weak and in pain at the time, but apparently I didn’t look like a sickly hospital patient. Over the nearly four weeks I spent in hospital after the operation, I heard the same “you look good” compliment from visitors, and sometimes even from the doctors and nurses. I thought I looked atrocious with my greasy hair, dandruff, and worryingly skinny frame.
Last week I walked over to the drug store and asked the pharmacist about taking supplements. Since I have less GI tract to play with, he suggested I take a liquid or a chewable multivitamin. He showed me a few of the chewable options in stock.
“Are these… weaker than the pill kind?” I asked.
“Well they’re not as potent, but as long as you’re eating well it’s still a good supplement. You look like you’re in good shape so these should work out fine,” he said.
Another compliment, and they’re always wonderful to receive, but I still have a hard time really believing it myself. When I look at myself, I still focus on my skinny frame, the bandages covering my wound, the bag over my crappy ostomy, the tube running into my right butt cheek, and the drainage bag strapped to my right thigh. I’m covered in body hair and medical appliances. But at least I can cover most of that up.
Which brings me to another issue I’ve had since the surgery – clothing. I really like clothes. I get excited when the new J. Crew catalogue arrives in my mailbox. I routinely check in on several online stores just to see what good-looking pieces they have. I try to dress well to impress people. Being able to wear some decent threads makes me feel better about my appearance, and myself.
Having lost some 20 lbs. since the surgery, many articles in my closet are baggy on me now – even my skinny jeans (oh the irony). Even if my previously slim fitting attire still fit me, I have the added challenge of working them around my wound (which I right on my waistline) and ostomy. I went to a little get-together with friends about a week ago, and I wore track pants, a white t-shirt, and my Blue Jays cap. Even though I received the “you look good” compliment on more than one occasion that night, I felt like quite the douchebag.
When someone tells me I look good, it’s nice to hear, but lately I haven’t felt good, and that’s why I don’t exactly light up when I receive the compliment. I just don’t feel good. I don’t feel like myself, and I haven’t since before the surgery. All these damn things on my body and this elastic waistband only dress code, it’s not me. And it’s getting harder to keep living one day after another not really feeling like myself.
Image via uuLyrics