This won’t be terribly long (ha! no, seriously) because it turns out that Darvocet makes me feel like ass. Or maybe the after-effects of anaesthesia make me feel like ass. More to the point: I agreed to let them stab me in the arm repeatedly, and I agreed to let them slice open my breast, but I do NOT remember agreeing to let them trap me on a very small boat on a very turbulent ocean. So, just a quick recap as I cling to the railing for dear life.
Anyway! Hello! I am back, minus one “area of inflamed tissue” which has been sent for biopsy but the surgeon doesn’t anticipate it will tell us anything unusual or scary. Hopefully removal of said naughty area will be enough to end boobpusapalooza and its associated fun and games once and for all.
The morning started with one of those great philosophical questions, namely: When they say “no make-up,” does that include blemish concealer? Going without would cause me undue angst. Eventually I decided that that unless they intended to clip the oximeter to the zit on my forehead, it shouldn’t pose a problem.
My Lovely Surgery Chaperone (LSC) arrived to fetch me and we were off to the hospital. Once there, I checked in and we sat. And sat and sat and sat. I love how they demand you arrive at the butt-crack of dawn so that you can play “I wonder what they’re here for” with your friends. (One teenaged girl for a tonsillectomy; one older man for a knee replacement; one very crabby man whom I decided was there for a hemorrhoidectomy; a non-English-speaking pair where we were unable to ascertain who was there for treatment or why.)
A nice nurse with a perky student in tow brought me back for prep. I answered her questions and signed her forms and then changed into the provided gown and non-slip socks. Sexxxxxxxy! The nurse then explained that she needed me to lie down so that she could start my IV.
“Can’t I sit up?” I asked.
“Noooo, I need you flat for this,” she responded. “I’ve seen too many people faint while getting stuck. It’s just safest to have you laying down.”
I assured her that needles don’t bother me and it wouldn’t be a problem, but she insisted. On and on she went with stories of patients who pass out the second the needle penetrates the skin, and family members who are standing there watching and then *KLUNK* to the floor. We were laughing over these tales and then overheard the mother across the way (with the girl having the tonsillectomy) getting rather hysterical with the doctor. She was basically trying to get the doctor to assure her that her daughter wouldn’t be in pain after the procedure.
We three (the nursing student had been standing politely at the end of my gurney throughout) stopped talking and listened for a bit, then in a quiet voice (so as not to be heard by the mother and daughter) I started talking about how my tonsillectomy was by far the most unpleasant medical procedure I’ve ever had, including my total abdominal hysterectomy. “At least with that,” I laughed, “I got to stay here and have a morphine pump! If that doctor tells them she’s not going to be in pain, I’m gonna go over there and kick his ass.”
The nurse laughed and agreed that non-pediatric tonsillectomies are brutal, all the while slapping my hand to try to get a good vein. She asked who’d done my surgery, and I told her, and then we exchanged remarks about what a fabulous ENT that doc is as she grabbed the needle to start my IV. “Little pinch,” she said.
As she slid the needle in I continued, “Yeah, she told me my surgery took twice as long as usual because every time she tried to cut into my tonsils, they just crumbled. Sounded pretty gross.”
“Ohhhh, you really must’ve been filled with bacteria,” she agreed, poking and shoving with the needle. “Crap, I’m on a valve here, I need to redo it.” She pulled the needle out and my hand SPURTED blood while she grabbed for a wad of gauze to crush down on top of it. I was unbothered; she’d given me a shot of lidocaine and I couldn’t really feel it. “So, were your tonsils HUGE by the time you went in, too?”
“Oh, yeah. All big and pitted and stuff. I’m glad to be rid of them, but it was awful. That whole first week I would just sit around and CRY, it hurt so badly. So what happened with the needle just now?”
“Oh, well, your blood vessels have valves, you know, and sometimes when you insert the needle there it’s just too tough to push through. It’s like trying to force it through a brick, and if you push too hard you can blow the vein, and it’s just not good. Better to try again up by your elbow. Let’s have a look.” She lifted the gauze, clucked, and replaced it with a fresh wad. Suddenly her eyes darted down to the foot of the gurney. “You okay?”
“I feel kinda dizzy,” squeaked the nursing student.
“Hold this,” the nurse put my hand on the gauze and was up in a flash. She and another nurse parked the student in a chair with her head between her legs in about two seconds flat. She was so embarrassed, poor thing. They got her a ginger ale and she sat there, red-faced and sipping, for the next fifteen minutes.
Do you think it was the blood or the description of my tonsils? Either way, I feel sort of powerful.
The nurse returned and inserted my IV with no further problems, then told me she’d go fetch LSC. As soon as she came back to see me, I whispered to her that I’d made the nursing student sick, and I thought it was going to be a very exciting day indeed!
The anaesthesiologist showed up and we had a nice chat. He explained about “twilight sleep” not really being any different, experientially–I wouldn’t remember a thing, and it would be as if I’d been asleep, even though I might not be completely asleep. Sounded good to me. He was about to leave when I asked if they planned to give me anything beforehand to help me relax a little. (Hey, if I’m putting on the johnny and letting them cut me, THEY OWE ME a little high, I say.) “Sure thing,” he said. “I can have them bring you something right now.” He grinned at me and headed towards the nursing station. “Oh, bartender!” he called.
I think I love him. Then again, I am known for falling deeply in love with my anaesthesiologists.
My surgeon showed up, and we talked about the confusion about whether this was to be core-needle or excision, and she explained that because the mass was not well-defined on the mammogram, a needle would be a guessing game. Which was fine. She then scolded me for not calling her office for this explanation earlier. Hmph.
Then the real fun began: She asked me if I could still pinpoint the mass. “Didn’t we have this conversation before?” I asked her. “I can pinpoint LOTS of masses in my lumpy boobs. If you want one of them in particular, I think you’re gonna have to find it yourself.” She laughed and said fine, she would. She took out a purple Sharpie, then glanced at LSC and asked me if I wanted her to leave for a minute.
“Nah,” I said. “She can stay. I bet you’ll be doing something fun with that pen and I would hate for her to miss it!”
I wasn’t wrong. The surgeon flipped open the top of my gown and started feeling around. She located the mass and then commented that she thought it had moved a bit since last time. “It’s the mystical magical travelling mass! I’m SPECIAL!” She chuckled and took the cap off the pen.
“Oh!” said LSC, “your mystical mass is gonna be colored purple! How lucky!”
We watched at the surgeon made an X on the side of my breast, the traced a half-moon on the outer edge of the areola and explained that that was where she’d be cutting. She felt around some more and added a couple of dots (I’m not convinced those were anything other than her messing with me) and then wrote YES in gigantic letters over my left breast. I stared at her.
“Did you just write YES on my boob??”
Her eyes twinkled. “What’s the matter? Want me to write NO over the other one?” All three of us burst into laughter. The surgeon made a comment about how it beats having the wrong leg amputated, and then told me she’d see me in there.
As soon as she left, the nurse came back with my happy injection. I was mid-sentence with LSC when I said, “There it is! What was I talking about? No, wait, I DON’T CARE.” But I had mere moments to enjoy my happy stupor before they took me in. And they gave me that forgetting medicine, too, because I don’t even remember arriving in the OR or what happened after that. I hope I wasn’t flashing people or anything. Oh well. If I did, I don’t remember!
My ice pack and I are going to sleep now. I’m hoping to be on dry land tomorrow. Or find my sea legs.
How long do you think it would take to train Chickadee in cooking yummy good-for-Mir foods in the kitchen and for Monkey to calmly carry them to your bedside?
Well, one can dream.
As fun a word as “boobspuspalooza” is, I’ll be happy when you no longer need to use it in your blog. Feel better!
I hope your happy pills for tomorrow bring you sweet relief and less sea-sickness!
Wishing you and your boobs the best.
Darvocet makes me feel like ass, too. I get all sick to my stomach and the room spins and I’ve never understood the attraction. So, I feel your pain.
I am laughing so hard right now because when I had an excisional biopsy a few months ago, the surgeon came in with a marker and she did indeed write YES on one breast and NO on the other.
Glad you got through it ok!
The YES boob is cracking me up. So glad that things went well. Get some rest!
I’m glad you can the the humor in this situation and wish you a speedy recoverary.
So glad you and your boobs came out of it with your sense of humour (and a possibly false sense of dignity) intact.
I had an adult tonsillectomy too. With the ginormous, swolllen to 3X normal size, tonsils, That was the experience that lead to the realization that I am allergic to Demerol. Fun times, that.
I have known people to write “yes” and “no” or “right” and “wrong” on their own body parts before going in for surgery.
Wishing you a speedy recovery!
I’ve been thinking about your boob today. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Your boob has been on my mind…nope, that won’t work either. Um, really glad that the boob thing went well today! Yay, for drugs and ice packs.
Get the Mederma! I’ve got a yucky scar from mine.
Only you can make something like this sound like fun.
Hope that your “Yes”-boob gets well soon and that the biopsy lab report finds everything ok!
Glad to hear everything went well and you are back home.
Hope you are feeling better today.
now you can advertise to potential mates that you have an AMA certified breast with their exclusive “YES” of approval.
I’m glad that it was a non-event (yay drugs!) and you came out of it with an intact sense of, sense of, well – sense.
keep up the ice pack, it worked well for mom.
I’m glad you are ok.
What, no pictures?
Thanks for making me smile.
You should be thankful that in your drug induced stupor you did not conjure up Dick Buttons providing a negative narrative of the surgical procedure and commenting that the “yes boob” could have been better.
God, I’m glad this procedure and the Olympics are over.
I sincerely hope you DID flash people with your “yes” boob. I also sincerely hope there was punctuation, i.e, “yes!”. And I’m glad it’s all over, and that you’re doing just fine. (I’m inspired to write messages on my boobs with a Sharpie now, for my husband to find)
I am so glad the procedure went as well as it could, and here’s hoping you feel better soon and that this was the end of the boob trouble!
I’m very glad to hear it went well, and that you’ve fallen in love with your anesthesiologist. That could be handy! As for the Sharpie thing, that could catch on.
Glad everything went well.
wow, it really did make me green! I am no stranger to sticks, and I have a pretty good stomach, but this entry made me feel sick enough to think I was gonna pass out. Poor you! I ended up coming home from work, so I think it’s actually a real, live, illness.
Here’s hoping for good results, lack of boobpuspalooza and quick relief to boob pain!
Let us know the trick for getting the YES off the boob. Because I have a three-year-old who wrote on himself with a Sharpie yesterday (he’s practicing to be a surgeon, maybe?) and IT’S NOT COMING OFF. Gah.
Feel better, pretty Mir!
We need official t-shirts for Boobpusapalooza, and they will be like those t-shirts suburned middle-ages men wear that have a woman’s top-half wearing a bikini painted on them. You know the ones I mean. Except we will just have boobs instead of the bikini, and one of the boobs will say YES! And on the back, they’ll say Boobpusapalooza 2006: The Mystical Magical Traveling Mass!
I am relieved the procedure went well! Hopefully tomorrow is an even better day!
You remain in my thoughts, Mir! Ugh, and you made me retch a little with the story about your i.v., even though I’ve gotten way better about needles.
Glad to hear that you and your boobie are doing okay. Hope you can get some uninterrupted and pain-free rest.
So glad you’re home and ok! And sorry you feel like ass. Pain meds do that to me, too. Hopefully you’ll be better by the time you read this. Lots of love your way!
Ahoy matey! All narcotics bring out the sea-sick sailor in me. Here’s hoping for calm seas ahead.
What I really want to know is whether or not you still have YES on your boob. You have to post a picture if you do.
I see you subscribe, as do I, to the “make your doctor laugh and she will perform her finest work for you” school of patientism.
Glad it’s over, hope the results are shiny clean!
Holy Cow! I can’t believe you blogged the same day you got home from surgery! Thanks for letting all of us know that you’re ok. I hope this is the end of boobpusapalooza.
But I thought it was a rule that you have to fall in love with your anaesthesiologist! Plus tell them how pretty they are!
This was the best post ever. I can totally relate to: guessing what the other people are there for, loving your anesthesiologist, the crappy little socks, the inane banter that goes on, the horrible yuckiness when you come out of it, yes!
Hoping all is well and recovery is swift.
You are so amazingly funny. I love drugs and yet I can’t seem to handle narcotic pain killers so I hope you can get a better prescription! Yes, you totally deserve a high. I’m sending good thoughts to your boob–the boob that says ‘yes’ to the universe. Yes, yes, the boob says yes! Such a life affirming boob has got to have only OK lumps.
It’s a rare writer who can make hell funny. Rock on Mir. Hang in there.
I took a Darvocet once.
I puked in the toilet at work, then went back to the teller line at NationsBank, cashing cheques.
I did feel better though.