You may’ve noticed I was absent from this space last week, with a guest columnist in my place. I was on a little hiatus, posing supine in an operating room. Another year, another surgery. After breast cancer and post-mastectomy, odds are one surgery is never enough. In my case, eight procedures were not enough. I have faux boobs and donor tissue that just do not get along. When one is operational the other decides to wage a war against its counterpart. Nothing under my chin and above my belly button has gotten along or been aligned over the last five years. It’s like Palestine and Israel, or Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Enemies to the bitter end.
When he hears surgery, my husband barely blinks anymore. I just give him the time and location and he simply delivers me there. He’s a good sport about it, as long as there’s a newspaper with a sports page intact and a Starbucks kiosk near the waiting room. And a chair with supportive cushions and armrests. And a TV with a remote he doesn’t have to fight to control. Because his comfort and contentment is first and foremost during my surgeries.
Well, it was over in a flash. New doctor, new hospital, new boob. It all went swimmingly, except I kept forgetting my name and birthday. It’s more that I wanted to forget my birthday than actually having a medicated mental lapse. The nurses ask you your birthday no less than 25 times before and after surgery and apparently I kept whispering the year. As if anyone in that operating room gave a poop that I was 32 years old!
My husband carted me home like a bag of potatoes and unloaded me into bed with my ginger ale, crackers and most importantly — prescriptions. That’s the last thing I remember until he nudged me awake and told me he was going golfing. I was partially comatose but I knew enough to be p$@*#d off that he was leaving me in this condition to frolic with his balls. “You can’t go! Who will take care of me?” I whined and drooled.
“Please,” he said, “You’ve been asleep for two days (and I think you even wet the bed). If I didn’t tell you I was leaving you would never have known I wasn’t here!” Under my breath I spat: “I know it would have smelled better.” He left. I slept.
After surgery, I typically sleep all day but awaken at 3 in the morning with nothing to do but flip through the hundreds of channels I never knew I had. Riveting, riveting stuff. Infomercials like “Hot Tub Fun” to the “Gun Hour;” there’s something for everyone! Who knew there was an entire show based solely on women having babies behind bars? Fascinating. Also available — a whole 30-minute segment dedicated to the Sleep Number bed. Too bad they didn’t have the Sleep Number bed in women’s prisons because not only would childbirth be more comfortable if everyone had a good night’s sleep, but there’d be a heck of a lot less melee going on.
My new favorite show ever? “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.” What can you say to that? Did they think they were bearing down and delivering a hemorrhoid? I don’t get it.
Sadly, these are the things that entertained my drug-addled, post-operative brain while my husband is golfing and I have QVC on the line, waiting my turn to buy a mini harmonica necklace. I’m on the waiting list for the bacon-scented soap on a rope and a Sleep Number mini-bath pillow, in case this new boob becomes nonoperational.
Something for everyone.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life.