Waiting, waiting, waiting.
What's gonna happen? How much will it hurt? Will something go wrong?
I have never been good at the waiting.
The tension and the fear builds in your body. I tried to distract myself today, was meagerly successful.
Arrived at surgeon's office, the waiting room was full. It wasn't long before I was called in. Nurse instructed me no clothes from the waist up, and put on the paper gown, with it open in front. I complied and sat on the exam table.
Husband sat and waited in the chair next to me.
Wasn't long before surgeon came in.
"How is everyone today? I know, coming to see me is like going to the dentist."
"Uh, I'd rather see the dentist" I said smiling.
He was ready to get to business, and asked Husband to leave the room.
"But who's going to hold my hand?" I asked.
"Well, not me" surgeon says teasing. "Sorry, I've had too many people pass out in exam rooms. This won't take long. I'll call you back in as soon as we're done."
On the stainless steel table were all kinds of things waiting for me. A big bottle of lidocaine. Several syringes with very long needles. Gauze, band aids, the orange stuff to sterilize before they cut you. A couple of scalpels.
Gee. All this for me?
"Ok get ready for the stick and the burn."
The stick and the burn. More like the ice pick and the napalm.
I take a deep breath.
Deeper deeper deeper.
I hear an involuntary "ow" escape from my mouth. My eyes water.
Several more pokes like this, deep and burning.
Ok. That's it folks, thanks for coming, our patient seems to have run out of bravery so that will be all for tonight. Move along, move along, nothing to see here.
"All right, the worse of it is over, turn your head away from me."
That is not a good sign.
I turn my head. Oh baby what is next.
He places a paper over me including my head with a small hole cut out that is placed over the area he is working on. This way he won't have to look at me grimace and cry. Smart.
I feel the pressure of the scalpel but not the cut. Surgeon starts to wiggle and manipulate the port free from its pocket under my chest. Then I feel a snake in my body, slithering its way out from the center of my chest across my collar bone and down my chest.
I screamed in horror, in my bald brain. I think all that was audible was something more like the squeak of a baby mouse calling for Mama.
He applies pressure to the fresh wound.
I am portless and breathless.
He helps me sit up.
"I am going to leave this wound open, I don't want to stitch in any bacteria under the surface. I want this wound to heal from the inside out. I will pack it with gauze now, and every day after you shower, repack it with fresh gauze. This wound may take a couple of months to heal. Call me if any thing changes, you notice any excessive bleeding, redness around the area, or you have a fever."
"Can I see it, the port?"
"Sure" he says, uncovering it on the tray of the stainless table with wheels. It is larger than I imagined, like a triangular purple Lego, about 1x1x1, with three little black nubs where the lines of the triangle intersect. Coming from the port is a long white plastic looking line.
Hello port. Goodbye Port.
Surgeon steps out of the room. I hear him call Husband in the waiting room.
Husband steps in, looking very worried and leery. Surgeon speaks to Husband about what to do, he knows I am not listening. He explains about packing the wound every day and call him if there are any problems.
He'd like to see me on Monday, and we exchange good byes.
Husband helps me down from the table. I need to sit in the chair. I am feeling very shaky. Very shaky. It's over. Thanks God. It's over.
That damn thing is out.
Relief floods my body, and the tension leaves en masse. Now I am like an alcoholic with the DT's, shaking so.
We leave the office, I get in the passenger seat and I whimper. I can't hold it in anymore. Husband is not sure what to do or say. I whimper. Soft whimpering.
"I'm sorry for all you have to go through, I'm really sorry."
All I can think about is, I am sorry, I pat my child self. I am sorry girl you are having to go through this. Man this is some hard hard scary shit, and a lot of it hurts. Man. I am sorry girl. You poor baby. You poor baby.
Somebody buy me a present. Somebody give me a gold star. Somebody clap for me. Somebody hug me and pat me. Somebody. Somebody.
I am portless.
Somebody pour me a tawny port.
Awhile later at home when the pain started, I took a vicodin and a lorazepam to settle down. I peeked under the outer bandage and could see the gauze was soaked in blood. I took my shirt off and stood in front of the bathroom mirror and gently removed the bandage, then tugged at the gauze. Oh boy. Ow. Ow. Gently. Gently. Easing it out.
OMFG. I looked at myself after the gauze was out. It looked like a bullet wound or somebody had stabbed me. I was surprised how big and deep it is. I could see the layers of tissue and fat and the inside of the wound was a black purple color.
Holy Mama. Mopsy, aw Mopsy. You poor fat bunny. I took a new piece of gauze and the back end of a tweezer and gently restuffed the hole. Damn. This is like some Civil War shit. I am a soldier on the battlefield. I have been shot. Stuff me up with gauze.
Where is my liquor? Where are my love letters from home sprayed with perfume and tucked in to my pocket? I know, I'm a crazy girl but when you see your body in a way you have never seen it before, the crazy stories start in my head.
The hole throbs now and is very tender. I think it's time for more drugs and stool softeners.
I did it. I did it.
I never want to do that again.
Any of this.
I never want to do it again.
Hear my prayer.