The day of my surgery finally came, and not a moment too soon. I had worked myself up about my pilonidal cyst so much by this point that I was sure that no man would ever marry me and no director would ever hire me. I’d convinced myself that this cyst made me a disgusting and marked woman, probably for life. Imagine if I could harness all my anxiety into something productive, like telekinesis.
My mom was supposed to pick me up from the hospital, but in an event that proves that irritating inconveniences are genetic, her rental car overheated on the highway from Phoenix to Tucson, so she was stuck on the shoulder of the 10 for hours as her only daughter was fighting for her life in the operating room. I mean, not literally, but when a bunch of doctors are operating on your butt, even unconscious it’s difficult not to die of embarrassment.
But I am a fighter, and found the strength afterwards both to live and to get into my roommate’s dad’s van, slumped over the passenger seat backwards, like a roofied rag doll. When I came to in my own bed, my mom was there stroking my forehead the way only moms can do. Later that night, she did insist on changing my sheets to hers because she didn’t like mine, but I forgave her that moment of high maintenance, since she dressed and re-dressed my behind all weekend.
The next few weeks of recovery were the worst; my 19 year-old pride prevented me from using a donut to ease the pain of sitting and I was afraid to lean too heavily into the loving embrace of Percocet, though I couldn’t abstain entirely. One acting class, our teacher had us play “Hunter/Hunted”, a game where blindfolded people chase each other around a circle in an attempt to connect with our survival instincts. Percocet and I sat that game out. The silver lining to those first few weeks was that my well-worn Saturn was stolen right after my surgery, so I had a cushy rental car seat to sit in every morning.
It took about six months of midday naps for my body to heal and nearly two years for me to really sit comfortably for long periods of time. My butt surgery did not keep me from relationships or jobs, nor did it get me cut from my program. In retrospect, I am proud of myself for being able to actively terrify two grown men with the intensity of my temper tantrum and grateful that I am now slightly less ridiculous and can reserve tempestuous reactions for really serious issues, like missing the train when I’m in a hurry.