I was interested to read Pamela’s article the other day about being mentally prepared for an operation – what had surprised me was how protective I felt about my hip. I actually stroked it a few times – yes, I know – in the couple of weeks leading up to the operation. I felt sorry that a part of me that I cherished was going to be sawn off, and I’d made the decision to have it done.
I didn’t feel resentful or angry at any time, by the way, though a bit unlucky. Although, when I saw that there was no arthritis in the other hip and asked why I’d got it at all then, the consultant pointed out that the bad hip had a slightly shallower cup than the good one – a reasonable explanation, and one that showed nothing could have been done to prevent it happening (I’d never had any sign of a problem in my life before) completely satisfied me and I was able to shrug it off.
No, it’s the caring and protective feeling I have towards myself that I hadn’t expected, and I’m interested to find out that this isn’t unusual. Not everyone has it, I’m sure – the other thing that gelled with me was Mago commenting the other day that he’d never have laser treatment on his eye. Nor would I, just to correct my eyesight, although I would for a cataract or anything like that. I mean, not for cosmetic or convenient purposes. I’d feel irresponsible. I’m afraid I’m stuck with my body as it is or as I can make it with general overeating and slobbing around.
Obviously, lots of people don’t feel the same way, or the cosmetic surgery business would never had got going. Of course, it’s well known that one can go through a period of mourning after an operation such as a mastectomy, but I’ve always read rather glib things that breasts are such a part of womanhood that she feels she has lost her femininity – now I’m wondering if it’s any body part, even an internal one, that makes you feel that way? And is there a difference if the part is diseased, or worn out?
I think that the sudden need for an operation after an accident is a slightly different matter – there’s the shock, for one thing. I’m thinking more of a necessary or elective operation that one has time to prepare for. I’d love to know if any of you has any views on this?