Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rapid In and Out is not Fast Food, The Tumor Pictures

*If medical/surgical photographs alarm you or make you uncomfortable, allow me please to forewarn you.

Almost at once that week Dr. Chin had a cancellation. When I was called to see if I wanted the spot on his surgery schedule, I had one hand on my car keys and the other on the door. But I tamed my renegade impatience long enough shave my legs, wash my hair and wait for my pillar/rock/anchor/emotional gravity/best friend to arrive: Mom. (I know, I know. Silly vanity. But I considered it a courtesy not to present my naked anesthetized body clad in a layer of scratchy unsightly Sasquatch fur. I wanted to smell all soapy nice and look just a little like I care about personal grooming. Little did I know how little that means to anyone along the line.)

Mom did so well with the punch biopsy so I tapped her to be my Big Surgery Girl. Things were moving quickly enough now that we barely had a second to play The Glad Game as we navigated the suddenly molasses-slow streets to the hospital where we were to report to “Rapid in & Out” for surgery prep. And oh! We got a call saying that the surgery could even be moved UP and hour if I were ready…

As such I delivered myself up to the Hospital Machine and donned my snap-on ass revealing gown and Big Bird yellow socks with no-slip treads. I was invited to jump up on the hospital rolling bed and the surgery prep nurse installed an IV. I am really picky now about my IV’s since she spoiled me rotten. She numbed up my arm at the site of the needle stick and went deep to a gorgeous plump unafraid vein that didn’t roll or blow out. It was in just the perfect spot where no matter what position the crook of my elbow adopted, it never clogged up, never hurt. What a pro!

Mom brushed and arranged my hair in a high ponytail/bun thing and observed that it had been around 45 years since she had last fixed my hair. That struck a cord. I welled up.

We chatted, we listened to the little boy in the next curtained room fight the nurses at every turn until they gave him the happy juice and he giggled, we watched half-sedated adults roll by perched like Mardi Gras floats amidst their IV bags and other beeping flashing monitors followed by their surgical teams, we even napped a little. They took my blood pressure about 7 times. Yes, there was a delay. That's me ----> and part of Mom's boob. Blurry self-portrait.  Dr. Chin popped his head in a couple of times as he picked up his surgery subjects who were scheduled before me. We reviewed details and joked around about preserving my modesty in the operating room, (like I have any modesty left at all!) and then again he was off in the slipstream of his big surgery day.

After 4 hours of waiting, when Mom’s head tipped back and her eyes closed for a cat nap, I was surprised to find myself at peace. No fear. I felt every person who offered to hold my hand in spirit, offered to pray for me, was rooting for me to attack this thing and come through it successfully. Every person who ever loved me came to me at that moment and I felt mantled in warmth just like the lovely heated blankets with which they comfort you in the hospital.

Lyndol arrived, a wise spiritual woman and talented writer and director of plays, and her timing could not have been better. I was glad that Mom would have someone to lean on for a little when I went. And suddenly, rolling like a thunder storm, in swept my surgical team. The anesthesiologist was refreshingly direct and spoke of how he would have to tap a few more veins or even run a central line if I needed a transfusion. (Ooooh! A central line! I saw that on Grey’s Anatomy. Yikes!) He went about feeling my wrists and feet like a starving vampire for accessible blood vessels. A little tiny surgical nurse kicked the brake out from under my rolling bed and I reminded her: “Please take a picture of this tumor when it’s out ok? Dr. Chin says it’s ok.” And she laughed and said “Will do!”

“Ok, Linda here comes something to relax you.” “It’s about time I got the good stuff. Bring it! I love you Mom! Here we go…”

Speeding down the hall, rolling and my feet in front of me, Big Bird socks, double doors open, open sesame, magical, double doors again, blackness.

And here’s what they took out of me. 

Doesn't it look like that thing that chased Sigourney Weaver around in space?  See all that draped off area behind?  That's me in a supporting role with my anesthesiologist and a pal.  I think the other guy is suturing me up or something. 

Check out the size of that sucker.  And, hey look!  That's me sans draping back there.   They've flipped my boobs back to get them out of the way and have otherwise preserved  my dignity (read: covered my lady parts) with the clever camera placement of excised tumor with ruler.

Dr. Chin proudly displays the target which has been intercepted and extracted successfully.

Next:  Recover! I Dare You!

1 comment:

  1. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!! YOU ROCK WOMAN!!!! I heart blood and gore and that just made my night!!

    And the boobs thrown over the back for access made me pee my pants a little.

    This is my favorite post by anybody in awhile. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu!!

    oh yeah, theres a little get well present on my page for you. ;)


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