I Make Up Little Songs When Stoned On Demerol

April 26, 2011

Home from the hospital on Friday after surgery on Monday. Another long and surreal week. Note to self: when someone starts sketching on you using a Sharpie marker, nothing good is afoot. At this point, I have that suspiciously detached memory of being in considerable pain, of not being able to open my eyes – or not being willing? – of thinking, “No one told me the truth – not the whole truth.” I remember swearing to tell anyone considering reconstruction that they should skip it. I think I would still.

On the other side of the same story, I sang quite a bit and made up bedtime stories to tell my visitors. Gabe held my hand in recovery for more than an hour and listened intently to all I deemed most important at the moment. The most amazing brownies ever made by Sheri sustained me during my period with the dietary dominatrix that kept sending beef broth for breakfast. But the powdered eggs, when they finally arrived on Wednesday – or was it Thursday? – you cannot imagine how exquisite they seemed. I made others laugh. I spoke to the dead.

There are four new holes in my body – two under my left armpit again and two new ones about six inches below my belly button – yes. there. – from which snake plastic tubing and the orangish fluids being produced by my body in its attempt to heal itself. At the end of these tubes are bulbs. The whole rig is based on vacuum – or suction – physics – I presume they are one in the same however I don’t remember anyone discussing the physical principle of suction. Force. Momentum. Inertia. Friction.

“For every action there must be an opposite and equal reaction.”

Somehow this applies to me.

There is an incision traveling from right hipbone to left hipbone (or, perhaps, left hipbone to right). I know this because it tugs and pulls a bit now and again; because it itches frequently. There are more incisions below my newly constructed left bosom – now here, I feel compelled to call it a bosom as the potential for its suppleness is evident despite my hesitancy to look at it in the mirror or call it mine. An implant could be a boob; this reconstruction is a bosom. I imagine the incisions to be a bit like the patchwork of the Partridge Family bus – just less colorful. I doubt that, in reality, it is nearly that interesting. Best left to the imagination for now.

And finally there is my belly button. It had occurred to me to ask at my final pre-op appointment, as my plastic surgeon took a good handful of muffin top including belly button and deemed it “workable,” what would happen to my belly button. I explained that perhaps not every woman is particularly fond of her belly button but that I liked mine. He promised it would be exactly where I had always known it to be when I woke up from surgery. And, in fact, there it was – albeit with some kind of gauze or something coming out of it. The gauze fell out onto the bathroom floor on Thursday and there it remained even as I departed the next day, untouched by all that passed. In my defense and considering it had my cooties all over it, had I thought I could pick something up off the floor and throw it away without causing undue stress, I would have. By Friday and unafraid to not only open my eyes, but keep them open, I took a closer look and, upon his arrival to give me a once-over and send me home, I asked, “So, what gives with the belly button?”

Turns out he cut it out (imagine an apple corer) cut a hole in the newly stretched and taut skin exactly where it once landed, and sewed it back in.

I wonder if I had requested it, he would have let me go without? I mean, it serves no intrinsic purpose but how odd it would be to be without. As if ones very humanity could be called into question.

On another note, fourteen years and nine minutes ago, Jackson quietly slipped into this world. I am going back to sleep now so I have the energy to nuzzle his scruffy head tomorrow before school. Thank you all for your loving kindnesses this past week, this past year, this lifetime o’ mine. There wouldn’t be much point in any of it without it.


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