Pretty funny, my friend who immediately compared my surgery tomorrow to a car getting detailed. Doing a little body work to smooth out some dents and bumps, repairing a scratch and adjusting the headlights. Cracks me up – only a guy would compare the tweaking surgery after mastectomy reconstruction to something related to a car!
So tomorrow should finish me up. Well almost. I suppose I still have a little tattoo work coming after the skin heals. Amazing what they can do. I will have a 3-D nipple where there is none now and then the colors tattoed to match the other side…
This entire topic brings out some interesting reactions from people. Some men get tremendously embarrassed. Some men are tremendously curious as are some women. Some people shut down the conversation and others want more details. It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round, doesn’t it?
I will be sure to arrive at Same Day Surgery at CMC Main prior to 8:30 am. I’m sure I’ll get antsy before they call my name to “come back” to the prep area….you know, that tiny room that barely fits the bed they’ll soon wheel me to the OR on plus the little cabinet that holds nothing. I will have dry mouth and a growling stomach and be slightly self-conscious about the way I look because I can’t put on any make-up. I will feel like I need to apply antiperspirant but I can’t. I don’t really need it anyway since I have yet to grow any hair back in my armpits to speak of and haven’t been able to detect any body odor. I always wear it for fear that the day that I don’t, I will suddenly develop BO again.
But soon enough, I will go back and adorn my lovely wardrobe of a hard-to-tie gown made of slightly scratchy fabric in a rather tasteless pattern with grippy socks (probably the same nasty looking brownish color that I was given the last time I was there). I deposit my clothing in the plastic bag with my name written in Sharpie and take my position on the bed. It’s cold in the room and my feet are soon icecubes. I always need a warmed blanket wrapped around them. (BTW, those warm hospital blankets are the BEST.) Next comes the fun of getting my IV port so the anesthesiologist can easily drug me up. Used to this by now. It’s sort of a guessing game when I meet my prep nurse as to whether she is good at the needles. It seems like they all would be. After all, they get oodles of practice.
At this point, I may or may not remember the ride around to the OR. This is one thing that has not been the same for each of my surgeries. I have felt really clear-headed all the way into the OR. Clearly remembering the amazingly huge screen they see everything on and the meat-locker cold temperature in there. Wondering how the surgeon’s fingers aren’t frozen stiff…. I even talked to the nurses – telling them that I bet they wanted me to be quiet. Other times I’ve conked out before I make it around the corner.
Regardless of how it begins, it will seem like only 15 minutes have passed when I awaken. Usually I’m not even very groggy, although the time it takes me to come out from under the anesthesia differs. Hoping nothing changes in my reaction to anesthesia.
The one who gets the *@*! end of the stick is Dennis. He will have a looooonnnnggg day. Starting at 8:30am, he’ll be in that waiting room, waiting through the 3 hours that it’s predicted surgery will take. He’ll watch my number move across the progress panels and eventually see that I’ve been moved to recovery. My plastic surgeon will report results to him and eventually he’ll get to come to my recovery partition and wait for me to gain enough focus to be kicked out.
I’m guessing we won’t be headed back down Providence Road until at least 3pm. I’m imagining that I will be hungry and thirsty and want to lie down soon. Not sure if I’ll have pain at this point. But I will probably be sore. I try to avoid pain meds. Not just because of their digestive impact but because the ones that work make me goofy as goofy can be.
Maybe I will be up to telling you more tomorrow night while it’s fresh in my mind….or I’ll be resting in goofy land.
The thing is….my partner in crime will be there the entire time. He won’t even leave to get lunch…. or maybe just a quick walk to the cafeteria to grab a snack. He will take me in and bring me home. He will get my pillow and put a blanket over me on the couch so I can doze in front of the TV and then – even though he will want to watch some far-off golf tournament or soccer game or another game of the World Series – he will ask me what I want to watch….knowing that I will soon be asleep and never know the difference.
I don’t know what I would do without him. I can’t imagine any day since April 15, 2015 (when I got my needle biopsy results) without him. He’s a loving husband, a generous soul, s funny spirit and a real trouper. He’s made the journey with me and it’s coming to some sort of finality.
For this part anyway.
For sure I know that any test or procedure I have from here on out will be tempered with the thought that it could resurface somewhere else. I know because I had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago and I suddenly thought as I was prepping for the procedure (and what fun THAT is) that this procedure could show colon cancer. Aek! I suppose I will feel the same way when I have a gynecological exam just after Thanksgiving and a mammogram in February. It will never end – the lurking fear. Never end.