Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Check Up..

Shit ! Doctor Bob says that until the drains are less than half full for two days in a row I have to keep them in--so, that of course is fantastic news..NOT !
Two stupid bags hanging from my body for several more days. I should have lied about the amount of fluid. But this is what happens to people who don't read the Home Care instructions very carefully and inadvertently tell the truth.
Beyond depressing but I try to be a cheerful, upbeat patient as one does with a doctor, especially a surgeon who -and it's really just hitting me now - I will be seeing every week or two for the next three to four months as he puts dirty big needles into my breasts to expand the expanders before finally opening me up again to replace the expanders with permanent implants. At this rate it'll be 2010 before sex could even be a remote possibility. Literally.
I have so many questions - but try to keep them to a minimum especially when my opening salvo "Do you think my breasts will ever look less horrifying?" is met with a chuckle and "You're such a character!"
My next attempt, said even more pleasantly (I swear!) is "But has anyone ever looked this bad at this point?" meets with silence and the doc asks the lovely young nurse for more tape to bolster my misshapen breasts. Did he hear? Not sure but best not repeat it I feel in case it sounds accusatory.
It is just so odd the way one feels one feels one HAS to treat doctors with kid gloves and the utmost respect---After all, it's my ONLY body and my only life. Oh and let me be very clear about this....former questions to doc were not out of line. My breasts are NOT a good look. One breast is twice as big as the other and has a strange egg-shaped lump veering out crazily towards the armpit whilst old leftie (which was innocent and had just one old benign tumor ) is like a flattened pancake and has a downward-facing nipple....
BUT, lest you think I give my breasts no credit ---I have to admit that my main fun in life now is when - somewhat akin to a nervous tic, I compulsively push the expanders in and out so that they 'pop', simultaneously if I get the timing right -with a satisfying little "POOLOOP" sound.... good times.

Next couple of visits....
Okay, I am going to spare you the truly and deeply tedious details but suffice it to say that a couple of days after my drains have been taken out---my breast swells like a balloon and the doc has to get out the horse needle and drain my breast since fluid is collecting right around the underside where the cadaver skin--politely called Alloderm- has been placed. Now this is a day or two after another horse needle has injected MORE fluid into the and this is where my drug-addled brain loses the plot-I have been expanded and then drained- but in different spots though they feel like the same spot but since I am far too squeamish to look--what do I know...but none of it is really explained properly and I am tired of asking questions and think that perhaps ignorance is bliss.
I just know I am like human pin cushion and keep asking why my breast gets redder and angrier looking by the day. But he says it "all looks fine -- just fine " and who am I to argue.
Just know I am feeling BAD--- really bad, like "Can I actually stay awake and alert enough to keep driving the car down Olympic Boulevard?
Whoops, just ran a red light camera and GOT yet another bastard bunch of BAD points- as I speed home from the doc to my beckoning bed.
I suspect that maybe actually I'm really sick when I don't even have the energy to nag at my gorgeous but very distracted son about his homework every ten minutes. Then I know something's wrong when I lie in bed - completely lacking the energy to get up and make the breadcrumbed chicken breasts I had PROMISED TO COOK after three nights of takeaway. Was deeply grateful when child offered to microwave some mac n cheese. Organic, natch.

At about 8 pm he goes down to the underground car park to search for his special 'composition' book in the car and I wonder whether a quick nicotine hit will give me the energy to help him with the mission statement for a fictitious charity he has just told me he has to write for English and I swiftly turn on the stove’s gas burner to simultaneously light a stick of incense and my cig....and then in a flash of brilliance decide to get a protein hit with a quick spoonful of peanut butter.
Uh oh---I hear Nick outside the front door putting his key in the lock and grabbing a paper towel to wipe some tell-tale ash from the counter, I then make a lightning dash to my bathroom where I shut the door, take a last drag and spray the non-aerosol air freshener. (Even a very tolerant 14 year-old son draws the line at his cancer victim mother smoking)

I slip out a few moments later feeling positively lightheaded and dash to Nick's room to see if there is any way humanly possible to help him with the essay- other than by actually WRITING THE WHOLE THING MYSELF. I lie on his bed waiting for him to find his agenda and the essay directions.....that'll be twenty minutes..
But right about then I smell something burning and then there's a DEAFENING ALARM going it our smoke alarm--or the building alarm - or both?
Well okay, I don't actually recall turning off the gas burner and I MAY have flung the paper towels in the general proximity of the stove and well, in any event, the roll of paper towels is now very much ALIGHT on top of stove!
I shriek like a banshee as my brave darling son comes to the rescue, grabs the frying pan scoops it up and manages to hurl the flaming missile into the sink before turning off the burner on the stove and turning to give me an accusing look.
"What did you do??" he shouts.
"NOTHING! " I shout back as I grab a towel and start waving it under the alarm. But it doesn't stop and as Nick opens the front door to get some air we both note that lights are flashing, the alarm is loud enough to reach the Valley and we see residents fleeing to the Stairs carrying small dogs and cats and crying babies in their arms. A huge German Shepherd practically runs me over as I rush out to look.
“Oh I bet it's a false alarm,” I mutter guiltily--though it does seem like a weird coincidence.

Any thoughts of sticking it out soon leave my pounding brain---This alarm is PREPOSTEROUSLY LOUD and so I reluctantly don Uggs, grab keys and follow my son who is thrilled to be leaving homework to join the rushing throng of residents hurrying down the stairs. I decide on the elevator but find that a huge iron door has appeared out of nowhere and shut off access to the foyer where the elevators yes, even I have to backtrack and use the bloody stairs.
And there they were - the entire population of this enormous apartment building gathered at the back of the building. But look, it was a lovely hot evening, a brilliant red sun was setting (which would otherwise have been missed.)..there were little kids in the pj's running round and shrieking like wild things, overexcited teens texting their pals and people laughing and cracking jokes as they petted each other's pooches. EVERYONE WAS HAVING A BLAST. Okay so a few cats in their carry boxes hissed a little and one new mother with screaming infant seemed a tad stressed but generally there was a sense of bonhomie- especially when about ten burly firemen arrived and everyone cheered. And there was no proof it was my fault.

Whatever--people were back in their apartments 25 minutes later, I had not been charged with arson and I still had to write the bloody mission statement as Nick was way too frenzied now to focus. I practically hallucinated as I wrote the last sentence at 11.35, Nick now snoozing happily in bed.
I empty the fucking drains and it's me for the hay.

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