I am writing this blog sat in my hospital bed post surgery, the surgery on my foot took place 3 hours ago. So far I have been very pleased at both how we are being treated and also how the different parts of me are coping with this experience. Having surgery for anyone is difficult, but for someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder it has added complications.
Prior to coming into hospital I had to do a lot of internal dialogue as I tried to explain to all of me the procedure we were to undergo. I had no idea if the alters would grasp what was happening, but I did know that I needed them to stay calm during the procedure.
There was the fear that we would be triggered or switch in the middle of the operating room, fears that me, Carol, would freak out too, I’m not very comfortable in hospitals. There was the added fear of how the medical staff would treat us, especially given my file had a huge M marked on indicating we had a mental health issue,
If anything so far the staff have been extraordinarily helpful, they have regularly checked on us and ensured we are comfortable, they have been friendly, polite and very attentive to our needs. In fact every member of staff who has seen Ted have asked her name and have said hello to her, that has helped us more than they; the staff, realise. My surgeon and consultant who knows we have Dissociative Identity Disorder made certain we were ready for surgery, checking I was settled and adult when he started the operation. I was grateful that despite not fully getting D.I.D he comprehends I can become a child alter, and he granted us permission to take our teddy bear into theatre along with our own music to help us stay grounded. He also put us first on the theatre list hence we didn’t have to wait around anxiously for hours whilst others were whisked to theatre ahead of us, these little actions have made such a difference to today.
Throughout the surgery he explained what was happening and checked we were ok, he ensured we knew when things would hurt or be cold. At the end he was certain to tell us what would happen in post op and he did hand over that I had D.I.D though I doubt the nursing staff knew what it was.
Throughout the entire procedure I was focused on telling my alters we were safe and that it was going to be ok, I have never worked so hard on internal communication as I have today and I do feel exhausted by it all, I am certain we will sleep well tonight.
Truth be known the worst bit was when the saline solution ran down my leg, as a heighten sense of anxiety rose inside I had to fight the desire to both panic and dissociate. The consultant must have sensed we were struggling as he kept explaining it was just saline and it was ok, his words were enough to help us stay in the present and not kick out with our good foot. I was concerned they’d have to restrict our legs but thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and if was able to lay still on the operating table whilst I was tightly hugging Ted.
The pin in my foot protrudes about 1cm from my foot, and we are not able to weight bear on that part of the foot. Now whilst I understand this I’m not certain all of my alters will get this. I don’t wish to tempt fate but I will be surprised if we don’t have to return to the hospital early to repair damage to the pin. I’m unsure how I would explain that though, as it’s not so easy for healthcare professionals to comprehend D.I.D at the best of times.
Away from the theatre, the ward staff have been great too, my daughter who drove me here this morning has been allowed to stay, it’s been reassuring to have a familiar face close by. The nurses I know have little if any understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder but they are aware we have a mental health issue and are sensitive to that fact. They have plied me with plenty of tea and a meal that was actually quite tasty, they are not judging me in the way I had originally feared at my pre-op.
It’s not going to be an easy few weeks, with limited mobility I need to remind the little parts of me that we can’t move around as freely. Internal communication will continue to be vital over the coming weeks as I keep all of me informed and up to date with what is happening to this body we all share.
I’m not sure how we will cope when our stitches are removed in a few weeks, it’s just yet another hurdle we will have to face together. I truly believe it’s vital all of me are aware of what is happening to us and how we need to help our body heal, I have a key role in this though as I need to keep us all informed.
Now we lay in bed on a ward waiting to see if we can go home today and if we can weight bear at all on my heel, we know that we will have crutches but I am unsure if all of me will remember how to use them and move safely.
There is still internal talking going on and Teddy is close by being hugged like never before. Once we can go home the alters know that home a strawberry soya milkshake awaits us alongside a treat once we are fully healed. Perhaps that is bribery, it’s not meant to be, more that I’m accepting and realising my younger alters need me to accept they require nurturing by me especially at this time.
Having surgery at the best of times isn’t easy for anyone, but for those of us who are multiples, who have D.I.D it’s more of a challenge, a challenge which does benefit from understanding healthcare professionals and internal dialogue and reassurance which relies upon me being proactive at this time.
If you know me personally you might need to bear with me especially if I keep falling silent or seem extra distracted, it’s most probably me trying to communicate internally with my alters, the other parts of me.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014