Nervous Nellie

by Jillian Bogater (Exile From Hysteria)

I made it to 24 hours from my meeting with the surgeon before anxiety almost suffocated me.

With so many unanswered questions, I worried. Just an little bit. Mostly, I fixated on whether or not the doctor would be able to provide me with a surgery date.

Deciding to undergo a hysterectomy was a hellish process. Having to confront my concepts about family. Redefining my relationship with my boyfriend. Exploring the meaning of femininity, and the emotional/political implications of losing my uterus. Once I pushed through all of that and made a decision … I was ready. Now I’m desperate for the process to start, for me to have a solid goal to move toward.

I told myself I could wait to make the call to the OB/GYN. I looked at the clock. How could it be that only one minute had passed?

I picked up the phone and dialed the number out of memory.

The receptionist had a calm voice, undeterred by my nervous Nellie energy. I explained that I wanted to know if I would be assigned a surgery date when I came in. She promptly told me no.

This was unexpected. Not that I had Googled “surgery date assignments” or anything. Still, I stammered then quickly regrouped. I then proceeded to ask the same question at least four different ways.

The bottom line: I will not receive a surgery date tomorrow. Much of it depends upon the availability of hospital surgery suites, and the number of surgeries that the doctor already has to schedule. The surgeon will have to skillfully juggle three different calendars before deciding upon a date.

The receptionist paused to look at my file, then said the doctor would most likely not schedule my surgery on the same day as another patient.

“It looks like she’ll be working on you for quite a while,” she said.

The reality of the situation hit me hard in the gut. I imagined my endometriosis shattering, then dissolving into nothing. Instead, I knew it would involve a several-hours-long procedure in which she painstakingly scrapes the endo from my internal organs. I’m not sure if she’ll do this before or after she takes my uterus.

Tomorrow is almost here. It will validate what I feared would evaporate into a hypochondriac’s illusion. This is real. I will have a hysterectomy. And tomorrow I will be able to ask all the questions I want.

For a nervous Nelllie, this is a good thing.