Before I had my hysterectomy last year, I did some research, but I relied pretty heavily on word of mouth experiences. A friend from the gym told me that hers was "nothing," "easy to get over," and "a piece of cake." Another woman told me that her aunt was up on the treadmill five days later, cruising away, none the worse for wear after having an organ removed.
Great, thought I, showing up the day of the surgery as prepared as I thought I needed to be.
I was wrong in so many ways; I hadn't marshaled the forces I needed, taken off enough time from work, or asked for enough help. It was about day three when I told Michael that I needed some food as I couldn't drive down to the store myself. He needed, I told him, to make food. I had to take an additional three days off, and I went in for an early follow up because I wasn't clear on the after-effects, of which I'd thought there'd be few.
Now, over a year later, it's almost like it was a dream, and I could be like my gym friend, telling someone that it wasn't that bad. But it was. So when a friend of mine called me asking me about the surgery, I remembered what was true and I told her to ask for help. Lots of it. Food and driving and work help.
"Don't be afraid to ask for whatever it is you want," I told her. Because the truth is, you can always call off the hounds. It's harder, though, to get the dogs to assemble in the first place.
Asking for what we want is something we are untaught and untried in. We are told, conversely, to suck it up, hold it in, let go. When we want, teachers, parents, friends tell us, we are greedy, spoiled, needy, or selfish. No one wants an asker, we learn. What people want are givers. Givers are very handy to have around, as we, well, are given to.
We need classes on asking. "I need help," I finally told Michael. "I need food."
Well, he was astounded that he hadn't given me food, and by the evening, I had food and a hot meal in front of me.
"I need you to substitute for me one more day," I asked my colleague. And by Jove, the class was handled.
We need things as we go along because the going can get rough. It's hard to do everything on our own, and despite what we've been taught, we need help to move on. We need lots of lovely food and support after surgeries. In general, we need bended ears and helping hands. We need others to carry us for a while, and then we will carry them back.
But getting to the point of the question can be excruciating. All we need to do is practice. Ask.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org