Friday, March 26, 2010
Sunday 21st march
Well I truly don't wish to sound like a sniveling, whining jerk, but I do suspect that the bastard cancer –or at least its repercussions -has finally beaten me into submission. It has had its way with me and I now officially feel—as my old mum used to say – like I’ve been hit by a ten ton truck. I am also somewhat gobsmacked by what happened just a few days ago after my major reconstruction surgery. Yep, there I was, regaining consciousness and entering that netherworld state that, for a little while, resembles a bad trip with nausea, dizziness and just plain terror mixed in for good measure. (“Where am I ? Am I alive? Did I lose any limbs?? PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THEY HAD TO AMPUTATE!”) when a cranky, business-like nurse appears and asks, as if she’s just finished my leg wax and now has another client waiting, “Is somebody picking you up? Your daughter is listed to call but I’m not getting any answer.”
WHATTT? I look about and notice that I am not in nice cozy hospital room of own but on the factory floor-like Recovery Room.
I try to focus. “My daughter’s in Bali. Why would you call her?” I ask but the penny is starting to drop. I’m being hustled the hell out of dodge and good old Dr Bob has outdone himself and somehow forgotten or not bothered to sort out whatever the hell needs to be sorted out with Anthem FUCKING Blue Cross. Because the bastards at the preposterously profitable Anthem, who, what a SHOCK, have just seen fit to raise my monthly premium by 40% due to my unfortunate cancer episode, don’t let double mastectomy reconstruction patients stay for several nights in hospital as is de rigeur in civilized joints like England and Australia, it means Dr Bob is meant to put in a request. At some point on the day of the op he just tells them I need to stay. Seriously. That’s how it works. (In the UK reconstruction surgery patients are kept in hospital 3-5 days though that may be gilding the lily somewhat.)
So when Dr Bob finally appeared that morning prior to surgery to start carving me up with his permanent marker, I pathetically and very sweetly ask him once more, (I’d casually called, texted and emailed him about it in recent days) if I will be having a sleepover at St John’s or do I need to desperately text up my friend Andrew to be on call to ferry me home later ? It takes him a good thirty seconds of concentrated staring to decide where the middle of my torso is before starting to draw from my collarbone on down. It seems I’m assymetrical. (And I could care less at this point about being naked from the waist down. It’s having your bum flapping in the breeze that really bugs me- as the security guard hovers behind me writing down endless receipts for my belongings)
“No, no, you can stay” he finally says, in a monotone faintly reminiscent of Yul Brynner in The King and I. (As in -I am a surgeon, I am God. You may stay.)
And yet and yet. Here I am, nearly five hours after being knocked out with a good old dose of trusty Propofol and I’m racking my brains to think of whom I can call. By the time the OCD security guard shows up with my wallet and phone – the same fool who insisted on counting every dollar of my money and then separating the credit cards and receipts before putting everything into separate clear plastic bags, I grab my phone and call the first person I can think because I feel guilty about the friend I already told I would be staying overnight… …and….she’s getting dressed to go out to dinner…and then I call an old boyfriend and it goes to voicemail---and sobbing hysterically by now, I call poor Andrew who thought he was off the hook and he foolishly answers the phone and yes, he very sweetly agrees to come get me.
APPARENTLY, I managed to get dressed and into my pal’s car and home though I have, literally, NO recollection of this. (I’m sorry Andrew—I still appreciate it so much!!) I must have also turned on the TV, taken off boots and gotten into bed but alas, did not manage to empty those dreaded drains because I woke up at about 4am and saw that the stopper to one drain had accomplished amazing feat of escaping and was dripping out onto my ---LUCKILY !!_identically-colored red cotton jersey sheets. (For the uninitiated …it works like this---they somehow thread a tube from inside your tit, up inside the body and then it appears in the armpit where it then extends for about 15 inches down, draining the excess fluid into a big plastic bulb, safety-pinned to some part of clothing like your sweat pants or bottom of bra and the bulb MUST be carefully squeezed in tight whenever you empty so that the pressure or something makes ‘em fill up again. )
Okay. So I wake up at about 8am and any semblance of numbing medicine has gone from my system, leaving me in SEARING pain. Not totally surprising since yet again my tits have been sliced open, right under the nipple again, expanders have been dragged out along with scar tissue and brand new gel implants have been whacked in. And this is where it is stunningly upsetting to realize, once more, that had I been still in hospital I would have still been hooked up to an IV and I would have simply squeezed a button, thus releasing pain medicine into my system for a day or two.. Like last time.
But nooo, I now have to swallow Vicodin like crazy for relief—thus ensuring a sure-fire state of constipation for a week at least. (The IV meds bypass your stomach and thus—no constipation). I walk like a hunched-over snail to the kitchen to start guzzling both the pain-killers and the dreaded antibiotics I have on hand, and realize that to avoid nausea one should eat something with them.
And THEN IT HITS ME. Despite being quite convinced that I am of reasonable intelligence –except when Buck Henry points out my grammatical errors in the most annoying, schoolteacherly way imaginable, it seems I was wrong. Apparently I have gone along , erroneously thinking I was fairly bright, cheered by school reports and teachers who noted that “Lindy is very intelligent. If only she could settle down and focus she could go far” Yes, reasonably on the ball, I thought... Not emotionally smart or even cunningly intelligent in a way that might have somehow hooked me a man or a job –and yet, when some CNN dude asks his guest why they think so many Americans are terrified of Obama’s health care bill, it’s only right that I condescendingly scream at the TV –“BECAUSE THEY'RE COMPLETE MORONS, THAT’S WHY !!”
But if I am so fuckin’ smart, how come, in my infinite wisdom, my smart-ass clever clogs self thought it was a nifty idea to choose THIS precise day, after yet more traumatic surgery, to start a cleanse …A JUICE FAST THAT CONTAINS NO ACTUAL FOOD, FOR THE NEXT FIVE DAYS???!!!
I imagine you see where I’m heading with this. The sad truth must out that I am in fact a complete and utter fuckwit with the common sense of a senile slug. Why today?? Must I deprive myself of some wholesome goodies and treats the day RIGHT after surgery? In my own defense, it did, and still does seem smart to do this (a gift from a friend who had signed up for 14 days but gave up after 9—thus passing the five day credit on to me) with both kids away. Lola still swooning about in Bali with her young Aussie stud and Nick Hobbs away with dear pals in Cambria till Monday night. Much the best time to suffer through the horrors of a cleanse whilst no eggs and bacon or delicious pasta are being whipped up by my clever kitchen kiddies. And God knows, someone who’s had the toxic load of IV antibiotics, chemo drugs, Vicodin and anesthesia that I have in the last fourteen months could do with a nice healing cleanse. But the day after surgery??
In a state of horror at my ludicrous lack of timing, I stagger to the front door where a cooler of liquids should await me. I pray that they’ve screwed up and nothing is there. I could swing back towards the kitchen , swallow some gorgeous organic minty dark chocolate and stuff almond butter on toast with sliced bananas on top down my throat before having a nice 4 or 5 hour nap.
I open the front door but I’m outa luck. IT ‘S RIGHT WHERE IT SHOULD BE. The black cooler that weighs a ton and must now be gotten to kitchen somehow. I manage to inch myself down to get the strap and then drag it behind me, feeling like an ancient wench dragging some rock to Stonehenge. Me and the cooler make it to the kitchen. But it’s still on the friggin floor and I have to get it to bench. Wishing I had paid more attention to Nick’s current science studies about inclines and levers, I try to think what could help raise it four feet. But I’m hardly up to devising some cunning lifting apparatus in my state and so I pick the bastard up and heave it onto kitchen bench and unzip it. There’s an annoying letter welcoming me to this crappy cleanse and I see that it gives you the order in which to ingest your ten bottles of liquid. It starts off with a half jar of ANU water. Not even a freakin juice. Just some really hearty, filling, satisfying hyper-mineralised WATER. Does the fun ever stop ?
So I manage to unscrew the top of this annoying jar, drink the water and PLEASE, you have to believe me when I tell you this water tastes bad. I spit it out and check what’s next on the list. Should have guessed. My least favorite thing in the world. Super green juice. I despise green juices. They annoy me almost as much as people who don’t drink coffee. I have a swig, spit that out, feel guilty, swallow some more and try to keep it down. The gag reflex is strong but I fight it, whilst vowing to never let the “plethora of synergistically bound, organic green nutrients” touch my lips again.
I stagger back to bed, and pick up the 3000 page Izocleanze intro that I downloaded from the internet and printed out. No wonder it tastes like crap. It contains, amongst other things, Barley Grass juice, Oat Grass Juice, Broccoli juice, Alfalfa juice, Parsley juice, Moringa leaf, Nopal Cactus, Nori, Alaria, and Bladderwrack .
BLADDERWRACK, you ask? What dat? Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s that well-known member of the “Wild-Crafted Aquatic Vegetable Family”. Huh?
Time for a Xanax and a nap. I wake up around two. Not really hungry to be honest but bored out of my mind and in need of soothing treat. Gosh, I wonder what the Juice Feast (I swear- they call it a FEAST!) has in store for me now. Could it be that a genie will suddenly slip out of one of the bottles and whip up some steaming hot raisin toast slathered in butter? Perhaps he’ll appear with samosas and mango chutney … or will it be chicken pot pie with a crisp flaky crust?
OR… it COULD be a Chinese herb tea called ACTIVATE that enhances metabolism by way of “tonifying the spleen”. With things like Codonopsis, Proia, Jujube Date and Lo Hang Go, it’s a humdinger. Bitter, acrid, stinky and utterly foul. (I later read the directions properly and see that I could have actually heated it(ideally by putting it outside to ‘catch the blessed rays of the sun’ says the brochure) but like that would have made a difference !! I force myself to swallow at least half the bottle, freezing cold and realize that it can ‘tonify’ my spleen, purify my aura and metabolize my digestive system all it wants BUT how do you control the urge to SHOOT YOURSELF or at least shuffle one block to the scarily close 7/11 for cigs, a couple of the new dark chocolate Snickers bars and a Starbucks mocha iced coffee from the refrigerated section. Will I last the 5 day-distance? Wildly unlikely!