The ride home from the hospital was brutal. Gritting my teeth, I tried desperately to find a position that took the pressure off my poor, aching butt. But I felt every move the car made. Searing pain radiated through my body each time the car jerked over the smallest bump, making me gasp and wince in pain. My mom drove home carefully, swerving out of harm’s way when she could, but she was cursed from the start. The road home from the hospital was dented with divots and craters. Trying to escape the pain, I curled into a ball and rested on my left side. It was no use, the residual pain from the abscess and the fresh pain from my recent surgery was so intense, I nearly threw up. Never before had I felt such overwhelming pain. I wanted to escape my body, if even for a moment to get a bit of relief, but I was stuck.
The 30-minute car ride lasted forever. By the time we got home, I was exhausted. We pulled into the driveway and I grimaced in pain. I tried not to take my anger out on my mom. After all, she was just the driver. Logically, I knew it wasn’t her fault the road was littered with potholes, but I was so enraged it wasn’t safe for anyone who crossed my path. Happy to finally be home, I hobbled towards the house, bracing myself against my mom. Limping, unable to put any pressure on my right side, I struggled to get inside. After climbing the garage stairs, one foot at a time, I finally made it safely into my house. I couldn’t wait to crash on the couch. I thought for sure I’d finally get some relief.
By the time I got inside, my butt had a heartbeat from the radiating pain, and I could hardly stand. While I stood waiting, my mom made me a comfy bed on the couch with my favorite comforter and plenty of pillows to prop myself up with. When she was finished, I limped myself over to the couch and gingerly laid down. I bundled a pile of pillows together, propped them up, and leaned my left side into them. I used another pillow to stuff under my right leg, to take the pressure off where the surgery had been. To my unbelievable disappointment, I quickly realized that no matter what position I placed myself in, no matter how I situated myself, I could always feel the pressure from the abscess. And it hurt like hell. Everything felt like a bad dream and I was ready to wake up.
Exhausted, frustrated, and in pain, all I wanted to do was sleep. Popping a couple of pain pills, I tried desperately to get cozy on the couch. Thankfully, sleep came swiftly. Worn out from the car ride home, if it’s even possible to be worn out from just sitting (it is), it didn’t take long for me to doze off. A few hours later I woke up to find my mom nervously watching over me. Upon seeing me stir, she immediately jumped up and insisted I get some food in my belly. At the time, I wasn’t yet used to having pills be the only thing in my stomach, so I agreed that food would be a good idea. After nibbling on toast and sipping chicken noodle soup (my mom is SUCH a mom), I immediately passed back out.
When I woke up later, I was disappointed to note I didn’t feel any better. At the time, the word “patience” wasn’t in my vocabulary. I was too accustomed to instant gratification, so I assumed healing would be a relatively quick process. I figured I’d sleep it off, and wake up feeling good as new, or at least a little better. But, that wasn’t the case. Despite the discomfort, I tried to stay positive by chalking everything up to surgery pains, hoping everything would heal up and go away in a few days. After all, I really didn’t have a choice, I had to get better, and fast. My college graduation was in a few days, and there was no way I was going to miss that. Not a chance. It was an honor I had worked too hard to achieve for it to be taken from me because of some silly pain in the butt. I was too proud of myself and all my hard work, there was no way some illness was going to rob me of that. Besides my graduation, the weekend was also my brother and sister’s (they’re twins) high school graduation party. It promised to be a good time, and I was excited to celebrate with friends and family. My body had better get its shit together, I had too many important events coming up, I just couldn’t afford to be sick.
Determined to be well enough to walk at my graduation, celebrate with friends afterward, and enjoy my brother and sister’s party, I put on a brave face and did my best to heal as quickly as possible. As if there were really anything I could do to speed up the recovery process. Mostly, I slept on the couch; I was new to taking pain pills, and they really knocked me out. The boy who I was dating at the time came over to visit, but I wasn’t much company after being sedated. He mostly sat on the couch next to me and stroked my hair. After a few days of resting, I convinced myself that I was feeling better. Pushing the pain aside and ignoring it as best I could, I pretended that I was fine. I forced myself to walk around the house as normal as possible, so I didn’t draw attention to the fact that I was still hurting. By joking and smiling, I put on a happy mask and thought, “fake it till ya make it,” with hopes that a positive attitude would be enough to help me feel better. Even though in the back of my mind I knew something wasn’t quite right, I had too much riding on these next few days to be sick; I decided to ignore the warning signs. So, with a slightly exaggerated clean bill of health, I reassured my parents that I was feeling better, packed a bag to take with me to school, and I headed out for graduation. The plan was to stay with my old roommates for a few nights so we could celebrate our graduation in style with one last, outrageous night on the town.
My first night back at school was amazing. I drank enough to not feel the pain, danced the night away with my best friends, and laughed until I cried. My roommates and I reminisced about living together and all the shenanigans we got into, and I completely forgot about being sick. It was a great night. The following day was my graduation. My family and boyfriend arrived in the afternoon, leaving us plenty of time to have an early dinner and do a bit of celebrating before the big ceremony. We went to a nice steakhouse, had a few celebratory drinks, and then it was time to make the big walk. Before we left for dinner, my mom cornered me and asked me how I was feeling. I lied and assured her I was feeling just fine. But by this point of the night, it was becoming apparent that I wasn’t feeling well, more than just being slightly hungover. I was doing my best to hide it behind a bright smile and laughter, but I was having a hell of a time sitting still. My family eventually noticed I was favoring my right side and asked if it was the butt pain again. I shook my head no, and tried, yet again, to make excuses. I lied that I was just uncomfortable sitting in a dress and that I was walking weird because it’s hard to walk in heels. My family didn’t buy it, they know that I’m a pro at walking in heels. They didn’t have time to argue with me because it was time to line up for graduation, so we separated to find our respective seats. Before I walked away, my dad stopped me and said, “you know, you don’t have to do this. If you’re not feeling up for it we can go home right now. We know you graduated, this whole thing is just bullshit.” I wish I had listened to my dad.
Once seated, I knew I had made a grave mistake. Not only were the plastic seats uncomfortable to begin with, sitting on them after having butt surgery was excruciating. I shifted in my seat, trying desperately to find a comfortable position, but to no avail. I scooched back and forth, trying to cross my legs and take the pressure off the right side without drawing too much attention to myself. I thought about making a run for it, but all hope was lost when the ceremony began, and I was trapped. I couldn’t pay attention to anything being said. My head swam as I tried desperately to come up with an exit strategy. I texted my parents to find out where they were sitting, and I plotted my exit. I worried to myself, “Should I just get up and walk out? Should I leave after they call my name? Should I just wait till the end?” The next thing I knew, I was being ushered out of my seat to the front of the auditorium. Momentarily distracted, I excitedly thought, this is it, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for! Walking up the steps to the stage, I handed a sheet of paper with my name to the reader. Moments later, I heard “Brittany Creasor” boom in my ears. Are you kidding me? BRITTANY?! Um. you mean, Britten! Typical.
I was furious. Not only had I sat through three hours of pure torture just to hear my name called, it turns out it wasn’t even my name that I got to hear. Feeling defeated, enraged, and exhausted, I carefully walked across the stage, received my diploma, and walked down the four steps to freedom. On my way back to my chair I truly debated just walking straight through the back doors, but my nerves got the better of me. I didn’t want to make a scene, so reluctantly I returned to my seat. When the ceremony finally ended and I was free to find my family I, again, put on a brave face. I didn’t want them to see how badly I was hurting because, honestly, I wanted to spend one last night with all of my friends before we all went home for summer and started our “big kid” jobs.
After noticing how drained I looked, my parents insisted I come home with them, reasoning that my friends and I could just get together over the summer. They didn’t understand, it wouldn’t be the same. Reassuring them that my boyfriend would drive me home the next day and that I really felt fine, my family reluctantly left and we went back to my old apartment to get ready for our night out. I tried to get into the party mood and forget about the pain, but it was so severe I was having a hard time. After being at the apartment for about an hour I finally gave up, I pulled my boyfriend aside and told him how much pain I was in; I couldn’t fake it any longer, I had to go home. Unwillingly, I explained to my friends that I wasn’t feeling well and said brief goodbye, promising to catch up with them over the summer. I didn’t go into detail about why I was really leaving. None of them knew I had even had surgery or was struggling with a chronic illness. I was too scared, embarrassed, and unsure of the situation to say anything. Even though I knew leaving was the right thing to do, I was still devastated to miss my last night of college because of this pain in my ass. It was so ironic that I almost had to laugh.