No Consent: Annie’s operation

This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

Annie’s operation
October 1994

Continued from… Odette & Nathalie (3)

10 October
Annie was admitted to the hospital at three o’clock in the afternoon, since her operation was scheduled for the next day. Fred and Fran accompanied and then had to leave.

Coincidence placed a colleague of Annie in the bed next to her, and they discovered they would have almost identical operations done. Both women felt better to have company. They spent their evening chatting and reading; anything to take their minds off the operations of the following day.

11 October
Annie woke up.

Her first sensation was: PAIN! Where her stomach was supposed to be, she felt one big terribly intense pain. A nurse gave her an injection and she slipped back to dreamland again.

“Hey sweetie.”

Annie heard Fred’s distant voice, coming to her through many layers of sleep. Immediately she was aware of the pain again. At the foot of her bed, Fred and Fran stood next to each other, watching her. Annie acted tough, hiding her discomfort. Even though the pain was almost overpowering and it took up most of her attention, she noticed the tender expression on Fred’s face. That melted her heart, but at the same time, she became aware of the irritation inside her — irritation because Fran was there too.

Fortunately, they didn’t stay long, and Annie drifted off to sleep again.

12 October
Only on this day did Annie fully become fully aware of her surroundings again. Her back rested against a couple of pillows. Under her knees, there were more pillows. The pillows held her body bent into a V-shape.

Later that day her colleague explained the reason for this position to Annie. One of the nurses had explained how the operation was done. The cut on their stomachs were made in the shape of a W, with the two upper ends of the W on their hips. The skin was then separated from the underlying muscles and the navel was removed. Everything was then pulled down and tight, and the muscles were sewn together with special sutures. Next the skin was fully stretched down and the excess skin was cut off. They created a new hole for the navel and put it in place. Then the wound was closed. When the skin was pulled down and stretched, the patient was put into a half sitting position — a V-shape — and this was the position in which patients were brought back to their beds.

The first couple of times Annie got out of bed, she could only walk bent over forward. Only two weeks after the operation, was she able to walk almost upright again. It took until three weeks after the operation before she could walk upright without making any effort.

14 October
While she was in the hospital, Fred had visited Annie every day. On Wednesday evening, he brought her children to see her too. On Thursday, he visited her twice, and he was going to do it again today, but Annie had called him to say that she was discharged from hospital.

On Thursday evening, Fred had given Annie’s life some meaning again, when he uttered the words: “You must come home soon. It’s empty and boring without you.”

In hospital, Annie had time to think. She knew she had to do something about her way of living. Somehow, she had to end the relationship with Fred and Fran. For some time now, Annie suspected — deep down she knew it —Fred didn’t love her at all. The only reason he wanted her in their lives was because it wasn’t enough for him to make love to only his wife. He wanted — no he needed — to see his wife with another woman, otherwise he wasn’t able to feel any excitement. It was all about sex for him, not about love. She had realized Fred was only friendly towards her when he wanted sex.

Annie knew she had to get off the smallholding. But how? How should she go about it? Fred used every opportunity he could to warn her: “if you ever try to leave me, I will make your life unbearable. You will have to quit the army and you better move to a place I’ve never heard of before!”

Worst of all was, Annie believed him. She knew he had friends in strange places. She was afraid he might succeed in carrying out all of his threats. Maybe that was the reason why she clutched at straws, putting more meaning than she should in the words Fred had spoken to her on Thursday evening. She kept on repeating those words in her mind. Against her better judgment, she deceived herself into believing Fred loved her. Those words kept her going. She clamped herself to it. Annie decided to give Fred another chance.

By mid-afternoon, Annie was back on the smallholding. She had just settled in comfortably in the living room when dark thunderclouds appeared in the leaden sky. Bolts of lightning cleaved through the sky. Then it started to rain. Water poured down from the skies. Hail accompanied the water and it hit the ground with force.

Only two months later did Annie think back to this day, seeing the prophecy of nature marking the beginning of the end of her stay on the smallholding.

To be continued… Disaster struck again

© Rebel’s Notes

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