One of the questions that I have a hard time answering and struggle with is what actually constitutes a major surgery. I know this is something that is different for everyone so why am I even talking about this you ask? Well to be honest this is something that has always bothered me when speaking with certain people but it wasn’t until a few days ago following a conversation that I had with someone that I felt the need to write about it.
There are some people who feel putting an IV in qualifies as having a “major operation.” I do not. There are those who believe that anything that requires sedation or anesthesia is a surgery. I do not. And I am sure that I can find people who think the moment someone puts their hands on them in a hospital setting they just had a surgical procedure. Needless to say, I do not feel that way.
The bottom line is that everyone’s definition of what qualifies as “surgery” or even “major surgery” is different. I only consider major surgery to be when my stomach was sliced open in the middle of my abdomen thus the reason why I tell people I had 14 major operations. If I went on to include the number of central and pic lines I had or the amount of procedures that required sedation or anesthesia, I would be running around telling people that I’ve had to endure about 982 major operations which is obviously just ludicrous.
Why does this bother me so much? I think it does because I have tried so hard to minimize my disease and everything I have been through to the rest of the world. I have spent so much time and energy trying to be “normal” and not a whiny, complaining baby. I did this because most people couldn’t possibly understand and I didn’t want to be looked at as a downer. So when I hear a fellow IBDr tell me that they have had 10 “major operations” and I find out 9 out of 10 of those so called major operations were minor procedures that I had but completely forgot about, it makes me really angry.
I don’t want it to. I wish it didn’t. But it really does.
There is no answer to the question of what constitutes a surgery or a major surgery; we all have our own opinions but I just wanted to bring this topic up. I believe my friend Sara spoke about it many months ago – I honestly don’t remember, but it has been on my mind since that conversation a number of days ago.
What do you all think? How do you define a major surgery? Or even just surgery in general?