My Fascia Sling Surgery Part Nineteen

My body is now a toxic waste dump of antibiotics that will remain in my body a long time and perhaps forever. I now live on a rolling boat on the high seas and the only time I get relief is to lie down and close my eyes. That is what the gentomicin overload has done to me. But I am alive and have to learn how to cope and live with it.

I had a poor me day yesterday and then had to pull myself up because I know that what I have gone through and am going through now, is not a patch on what other women have and are going through because of bladder sling mesh complications. I remind myself I can get out of bed, regardless of how rocky it feels. I have not lost my power to think and as long as I keep my head still I can type and tell you what this is like. It is the least I can do for every woman who is going through her own daily life of hell.

When Dr. Hain answered my email, I felt really down. Two years to know what I am left with and how much this will improve. That was a lot to take in. You can read his answer to my email and the condition I am suffering from on this blog link I wrote a few days ago.

Last night I knew I could not dwell on the down side and I had to learn how to live with it and see what can be done to improve my situation. My daughter is wonderful and immediately began researching and gave me a small hope and a new plan. Then a lady who left a comment on that blog gave me another. I now have to go to UCLA before I can figure things out and really work at something to help me improve this situation. I can’t cancel this trip because I need these tests done to find out what is going on.

It was round nine in the evening yesterday when I realized I had no choice but to work with my situation and never give up. All day I had thought about removing the sheets from my bed and putting clean ones on, but I worried if I could do it without falling over. I finally decided that I had to try, so slowly but surely I did it and wound up feeling satisfaction that I could still be independent. No it was not easy. I balanced by leaning against the bed and moving very slowly. A quick turn of my head means instant unbalance and danger. I am learning move slow but sure.

This morning I wanted to wash my hair and shower. I normally do this at night, but changing the bed wore me out. You see the constant rolling of my open, rolling ship on high seas, is tiring. Once I have completed something I have to lie down and close my eyes to rest before I can tackle anything else. Every movement is slow but takes a lot out of me. I have a corner shower with three sides of glass. There is not a hand rail and lately my daughter has realized how this needs to be changed and she will do it while I am away. The shower needs to be larger, big enough to accommodate a stool for me to sit on when I don’t feel good or unsteady, with a hand rail for me to grasp. Today in the shower I realized how great it will be because all I could do was lean against the wall to stop myself from falling with the constant movement of my head as I washed my hair, and I only had the door lip to hold onto. A door that could easily open if I swayed. So I will appreciate her efforts to build a new shower while I am away at UCLA.

My independence is very important to me as it is to every human being. So much of it has been taken away from me over this time since the sling was placed into my body. I try to continue doing small things and yet everything seems to be against me at times, with even more new challenges. But I remind myself never to give up. I love life and living and I will find a way to bring myself back. This is not the first drug that took a great deal out of me and although it took time, I fought hard to come back. Rest assured, I will do it this time because I am stubborn and refuse to give in.

Many women have told me of their concerns for me travelling out to UCLA alone. I thank you all greatly and it is wonderful to know that women whom I have never met, truly care for my well being. It is humbling and utterly extraordinary. The depth of caring from injured women is like a warm blanket I wrap around myself and it is very much appreciated. But there is a lot about me you don’t know that explains why I will be okay as I travel alone to UCLA.

I grew up not knowing independence in my life. I was not allowed freedom of choice or thinking until the day I married. Hugh Thomas Kilpatrick gave me my new found freedom of choice and living. He encouraged me to explore and enjoy life, not merely exit. He was American and I British by birth. I am now American by choice. We met one weekend in 1969 and fate took over. A year later I flew eighteen hours to Singapore for the first flight of my life. He was already there working offshore Indonesia. He had made a deal with the company he worked for that if they wanted him to go there then they had to allow me to join him and we would marry. He told them he was not going there if they said no. The deal was done.

It took three months for me to obtain a passport and visa and I then made that first plane ride of my life at twenty-two years of age. I had left disapproving parents and a life of order and orders. I had taken a leap of faith on a feeling that this man was the right man for me.

The man I would later marry was on the rig the day I arrived. A company person was supposed to meet me but my husband had a back-up plan just in case no one was there. He had mailed me Singapore dollars and instructions of the hotel and what the taxi should cost. He did not want me to be taken in by a driver who recognized I was a green horn. His preparations were completely appreciated when I found no one waiting to greet me. I knew what I had to do, even though this new found country scared me with the hustle and bustle of the dark evening with so much heat and humidity. I knew I could do what had to be done and I fought my fear.

I arrived at the hotel totally exhausted from the change in time and the long journey. I was grateful to feel the cool of the air-conditioning in my room and this was another first. England’s climate was far chillier and air-conditioning never needed. My new life was full of firsts from that point on.

I took a shower and fell into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by something that sounded like gun fire. Fear rose in my throat as I moved carefully towards the window to see what was going on. I had no clue I had arrived at the time of the Chinese New Year of 1970. The noise was firecrackers exploding during the festivities. I was relieved and fascinated. That was my first cultural experience of a lifetime of many. I did not realize it at that time, but it was the beginning of my growth as a free adult.

My husband arrived a day later and we began making our plans to marry. It was an extraordinary start to a new life where I would realize I could do or be anything I wanted during my lifetime. That was the greatest gift this man gave to me during the thirty five years I knew him. I will always treasure our many memories together.

We married on the 3rd March 1970 and had a wonderful year as a honeymoon living in a country full of color and inspiration. It was a hard year for me however, because I had never lived away from my family which consisted of eight siblings. I was completely alone for most of that year because my husband’s job was offshore, fourteen days on a rig and seven days home. Two of which took up most times travelling to and from the rig.

I had never been an independent woman before that time. It was a huge learning curve understanding that I did not have to account for anything I did and yet I was responsible for the things I chose to do. There was little communication with anyone. There was a telephone call through the company office in case of emergency, but no communication once my husband left our apartment, until he returned. There were no computers. No email or phones at hand. Phone calls to England were null and void due to the huge cost. All I had was conventional mail to stay in touch with family back home.

My husband knew it was going to be hard for me and bought me my first typewriter that was quite unusual because it typed out cursive print. I had never typed in my life and he signed me up for typing lessons at the American High School at night. I learned quickly and preferred gaining skills at home at my own speed of lightening. I have never enjoyed the slow pace of a classroom.

The cheapest cost of sending mail was to buy airmail letters at the Post Office that had a low price to send back home to my family. I learned to fill every space on the single sheet with my new found typing skills. I began to type with accuracy and speed and enjoyed being able to write as fast as my brain was thinking. I filled the page with details of the color and culture I could see from my window. It was a year of vast expansion for a brain that loved art and learning. It took away the feelings of loneliness I had for my husband.

A year later I arrived at the airport in Houston Texas with my husband of less than a year. I began a lifetime of new experiences and conquering my fears.

So yes I will be fine on this trip alone to UCLA and I will post after a few days of arrival. So please do not worry. I have learned many coping skills that have stayed with me throughout my life.

I will also be carrying with me your prayers and your words of comfort. And I know my husband will be looking over my shoulder and helping me if I need it. So thank you everyone. I will be okay……………..






  1. Lisa

    What a lovely loveletter and tribute to your husband …now I know you will be ok. Your independance is an example to me.

    1. lavalinda

      Independence is the greatest gift to give and receive Lisa. It costs nothing to bust is the most held back gift of all.

  2. patricia buchanan

    Yes, you will be OK. Everyone needs a pity party once in awhile. I appreciate your back story.
    Lotsa love to you.

    1. lavalinda

      Thank you Pat.

  3. batya sarah

    Thank you for painting that beautiful portrait of yourself over 35 years ago.
    You are braver now than you were then. Your husband sounds like he was very thoughtful. I have never seen a cursive typewriter but I do well remember what it was like to be overseas more than30 years ago and needing to write very small to be able to fit. on a one page airmail letter. Please keep writing, I really enjoy reading of your adventures, trials and tribulations. And I also remember the drunkin sailor tune, we sang it here too.

    1. lavalinda

      Batya Sarah, when I sang that song to my daughter and laughed about it, she had not heard of it. So thank you for saying you had. I wondered if it was my age.

      1. batya sarah

        I’m from the northeast where we do have a lot of drunkin’ sailors so maybe it’s not commonly sung in Texas?
        Hope to here more of your stay this week.
        Are you healing up?

  4. Barbara Vance

    Your story was like watching a Lifetime Movie playing in my head! I didn’t want it to end. You are an inspiration to all women. Continued prayers~


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