First, I want to thank you all for all the sweet thoughtful comments to my last post. I was moved to tears. They really touched my heart.
OK this might be considered cheating. I am supposed to write something with the letter P. So I'm Pausing the A to Z to continue the Operation story. Which will be followed tomorrow with posting for Q~~ Quiet wait~~
After the operation
I was aware that I was awake, but my eyes felt so heavy I couldn't open them. I could hear what was going on around me. Footsteps and beeping of machines. I heard the rustling of clean uniforms and even heard the opening and closing of curtains that separated one patient from another. My nose felt weird and I realized I was on oxygen. I tried to speak , but only a raspy whisper was all I could muster. a nurse answered "Whats that Sweetie?"
"Is my Husband here?" My words felt heavy and labored.
"She wants her Husband." she told someone else.
The other person answered "Oh he was just here. I'll go get him."
I must have fallen asleep again because it felt like merely seconds passed before I felt my husband's hand on my head and a soft kiss on my forehead.
I whispered "I love you." and he kissed my face and said the same to me.
I fell asleep again.
Later on nurses wheeled me out of recovery. It felt so strange being wheeled around in that gurney. Even weirder was the ride upstairs where I shared the elevator with residents and other hospital workers. I was lying down and I closed my eyes because I was strangely embarrassed. We reached my room where I passed my roommate (a young looking woman in her late thirties). After visits from family and a few friends it was just her and I. My roommate seemed to have no interest in talking to me and quite frankly I was kind of glad. My roommate "Rachel" and I heard a beeping coming from another room or hallway. Rachel pressed a button that called the nurses station.
"Um Hi this is Rachel in room blah blah blah what is that beeping sound?"
"We are taking care of it don't worry, is there anything else that I can do for you?
"No thanks" Rachel answered.
Rachel pressed the call button again.
"Yes? Can I help you?
"Yeah, is that a fire alarm or something, because it's still beeping."
"It's OK, don't worry we have it all under control. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
Rachel hits the call button AGAIN
"Yes? can I help you?"
"If there was a fire what's the plan for the rest of us...just burn?"
"Great" I thought this woman has pissed off the nurses and now they'll never come in here and I have to go to the bathroom! I was mad. Later Rachel's Mother stopped by and she seemed like a very well off socialite. Put together in simple elegant attire she was gracious and quiet, while her daughter yelled at her and used curse words. The next day I woke up in the worst pain I had ever felt. The nurse told me that I was going to feel like a truck rolled over me and she was right. I was hunched over and could only take shuffly steps. It affected every muscle and bone in my body.
The nurse offered me pain medication and I was red faced when I told her that I could not swallow pills...especially huge ones like the one she was offering me. She was such a doll that from then on she crushed them and put them in apple sauce for me...yep I'm a big baby!
Going to the bathroom was an ordeal, but when I was able to go I actually felt like I had accomplished something! It was in the bathroom mirror however, that I caught a quick glimpse of my new silhouette. The gown neckline was pulled a bit low and I could see that there was a sort of crevasse where the very top of my breast should be. I was scared. terrified. I quickly washed my hands and avoided my image I looked at my face and nothing more. I shuffled like a little old lady back to my bed and five minutes later my kids and husband came to see me.
As soon as my kids saw me (J was 9 and D was 6) They both became teary...I guess nothing can prepare a young child to see Mommy in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV. They asked questions about the machine that I was hooked up to and I answered them in my own Mommy way. When it was time for them to leave my son cried and said
"Momma, I want you to come home."
It took everything in me not to cry. I simply answered " In just a few days Baby."
I felt an over whelming wave of guilt. Maybe they should not have come. I felt responsible for everything. Why didn't I get my mammo done sooner? Am I going to leave my children? How could I do this to them? My roommate heard me sniffle a bit.
"You have beautiful children." She said quietly.
She and I started to talk after that, she told me that she had uterine cancer and that all her "girlie parts" (her words) were taken out. She was a lawyer, unmarried and had no children. I felt sad for her.We talked about family and she said " I guess you heard how I talk to my mom...I don't why I'm treating her like that."
I realized why and I said "I'm a mom and so I know she can take it and not hold it against you. there is nothing that you can say to a mom that will make her not love you anymore... friends are not that forgiving. This is a maddening unnatural situation you are in. If anyone can take that frustration is your mom."
When a resident doctor palpated my chest and I cried out in pain, Rachel suggested that the next time he did that I should grab a hold of him in an area that would cause HIM pain. I laughed. She turned out to be not a ogre but just another woman like me with cancer. It was this great eqaulizer that brought a cityborn /surbuban mom and a slick hot shot lawyer together to talk about life for two days. I liked her. She was no-holds-barred kind of Girl. When I was leaving to go home. (She had to stay a bit longer) Rachel said "Hey take care of yourself." I said "You too." she looked pensive. She didn't offer her number, but I offered her mine. She never called. I mean who wants to be reminded of the worst time of their lives right? I thought and still think of Rachel often and pray she made it. My Husband took me home where we spent the next two weeks quietly wondering what would be next. Was this it or would there be more for us? were we looking at the first of many battles we'd have to fight?