I had no idea how exhausting I would find going back to work, but since I started back on Monday, I have been getting a pretty clear idea. I originally had this completely unfounded notion that two months following my hysterectomy would find me up and about and ready to take on cubicle life with a vigor heretofore unknown in the world of cubicle farms. I obviously did not do my research.
On Monday morning, I walked to the bus filled with an orderly sense of purpose. I was going to work! My life was back where it should be! I felt a completeness when I revisited my pre-hysterectomy habits and purchased a coffee and a muffin on my way to the office. I could do this work thing! It was time! I sat at my desk, drank my coffee, and started working my way through a backlog of four hundred and seventy plus e-mails. I felt productive and, for the first time in a long while, pleasant.
Until 10:30 a.m. Halfway through my morning and two hundred e-mails later, a sodden lump of exhaustion settled itself into my lap, and before I knew it, I felt like several hundred pounds of wet sludge. My skin ached, I was so drained. So, in an effort to battle the fatigue, do you think I took deeper breaths? That I got up to get more coffee? No. I wept. Actually, what I did was more pathetic than true weeping. I dropped my head to my chest, stopped breathing, and allowed three or four hot tears to seep out from my lowered lids. Luckily, I have a quick turnaround time when I get that pathetic, because I have a cousin who used to do the head-drop, tear-squeeze move when we were kids, and I hated it. I hated watching it happen to someone else then, but it is quite another, much more serious, matter to feel your own face contorting into a display of abject wretchedness, even if the only witnesses are a tape dispenser and a broken calculator.
I dabbed a few tears from my eyes, took some deep breaths, told myself that I could too get another cup of coffee, and plunged myself into a battle with sleep that has lasted for four days. No one told me that I would be this tired even after my body began to feel normal again. Were I the sort who lived in reality, I might have taken note of the fact that, as recently as two weeks ago, doing a simple task such as washing dishes meant I had to take a nap, but no, I prefer to wander around in a peachy denial that would have me believe I was going to be running lively and free through green fields, glorying in being alive as though life were a shampoo commercial. I have done some asking around to find out if what I am experiencing is reasonable, and apparently, this weariness could go on for months. Months. M-O-N-T-H-S.
I guess that I could decide to be cup-half-full about it and look at this as an opportunity. I have been getting a lot of e-mails from Russian women who offer to send me photos of themselves, but not before they tell me how tired they are. They write to me and say: I am tired this evening. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you... Mind me sending some of my pictures to you? We have photography and tiredness in common! We could be friends! Those Russians are such a tired but friendly people.
This took me a very long time to write, because 1) I was tired, 2) I was hungry, and 3) I kept taking breaks to drop hints to the Palinode that we need Asian takeout, stat. The wonton soup and fresh rolls rallied me a bit, but I kept nodding off. I think I'm thirty-four going on eighty-five.