My Ta-Ta's look like Empanadas
I open my eyes and I’m laying in this room filled with patients in hospital beds. We’ve all come out of surgery alive. Can I get an AMEN? There is a nurse who is checking on me and within the first 5 minutes of laying there I can tell you for certain that she is a grade "A” BITCH. I notice that she is all syrupy sweet with the patient to the right of me. But not with my ass. Girl, what did I do to you?
I keep dozing back off and she keeps telling me to wake up. Bish, I am tired! Drugged. I don’t know! I’ve never felt like this before! These drugs keep luring me back to sleep. They must have given me a double dose of anesthesia.
“You HAVE to wake up.”
”I.am.trying!” I reply annoyed.
I feel like I’m back at the slumber parties that I used to go to as a kid. I was always the kid that fell asleep first. And there was always that one friend who was super disappointed in me for falling asleep early. It would make me feel so bad at first but that sleep was just TOO good!
So uhhh, can we swap out Mommy Dearest for Mary Poppins? I am OVER her.
I feel like I’ve spent all winter in a cave and now I’m coming out of hibernation. Can I have a damn minute? Shit. I know she's just doing her job but it's annoying the shit out of me. I scan the room for a friendly face. How’d I get stuck with this bitch? I don't know if I'm just being sensitive or if I’ve just turned into a mean drunk. I'm not drunk but that's definitely how I feel. Drunk and drugged.
I force myself to wake up. Maybe if I wake up they will let me go to my room for the night. I try to widen my eyes and blink continuously, hoping she sees. “I'm not drunk, officer.” Wait, maybe all the blinking will make her think something is wrong with me and then I'll have to stay here longer. Just blink regularly, Jen.
Ok. She sees me.
“Ok. I think we can release you to your hospital room now. Someone will be here to take you to your room shortly.”
A male nurse comes over and greets me. He is really nice. He pulls up the rails on the side of the bed, clicks a few more things and we’re rollin’. Literally.
The minute we are out in the hallway I blurt out, “What’s up with that nurse back there? She was a bitch.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s Patricia. Yeah, a lot of patients say that. That’s just her.” he says reluctantly and continues pushing my bed down the hallway.
We are still cruising down the hallway and I see my family heading in my direction. Hubby, in-laws, Kam and Meg. I am SO happy to see them. Still woozy I exclaim, “The nurse in the recovery room was a B I T C H!” I think everyone on this floor heard me blurt that out. Oh well.
Their concerned faces immediately turn to ones of relief and they laugh and shake their heads. Here is the Jen they know and love.
We have arrived at my room for the evening and the nurse parks my bed and says goodbye. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I made it out of surgery alive! God is GOOD.
Everyone is seated across from me. Looking over at me to see if that surgery has transformed me. I.AM.FINE. Drugged up but greeeeeat considering the circumstances.
A nurse walks in and introduces herself. She tells me that she will be taking care of me until the night nurse arrives. She looks young and a little unsure of herself.
“Is this the master suite with the cable package?”
“Um, uhhhh…” she replies as if this is some huge mistake that she must now try to fix.
“Just kidding!” I say laughing.
Everyone laughs, except the nurse. She exhales and gives me a smile. Whew.
She asks if she can get me anything and I request water. I am THUR-STAY.
She comes back shortly with my water and tells me to just buzz her when I need to go to the bathroom.
“This room includes the bathroom with the bidet right?”
I've got her again. Why is she allowing me to haze her like this? Are their hospital bathrooms with fucking bidets inside?!
“Bidet??? Uh, no this bathroom just has a regular toilet,” her tone meek and bewildered.
“Just kidding. I'm kidding girl, I'm kidding, ” I say feeling sorry for her.
We all erupt with laughter.
“Please don’t pay her any mind,” my husband retorts with a smile and an eye-roll in my direction.
My titties might be gone but my humor is NOT!
The nurse leaves the room and we all make small talk. I mean, what is there to say?
”How are your boobs?”
”How do you feel?”
I brace myself mentally and take a quick peek under my gown.
Oh wow! Cool bandaging. Seriously. I'm shocked. For some reason, I thought I’d be wrapped like a mummy. But this is some new and improved shit. I’ve never seen this kind of bandaging in the movies. But what are these clear round grenade looking things? And why are they coming out of my body??? And what is that liquid inside of them? Blood?! Oh shit! That's my blood!
My family says goodbye and MJ and I are left there to stare at each other. What are we gon’ do now? Pass me my phone, please. I have important things to catch up on like my Instagram.
They bring in some Meals-on-Wheels-esque concoction for me to eat. It’s gonna be a hard NO for me dog. MJ see’s my disdain and asks what I would like instead. Literally, anything else.
Before he heads out to grab me food he hands me my canvas bag so that I can watch Martin episodes with my Chicken Pillow.
Uh oh. These drugs are finally starting to wear off. Pain. I feel pain.
“Nurse! May I have more drugs please?” I say through the intercom on my bed. This will be the first request of many for more drugs. Whoa. I feel every bit of this pain. How? I was just floating on a got damn cloud and now I feel like I need a rag stuffed in my mouth to keep from screaming.
I eat the food the MJ brings and make myself close my eyes and go to sleep. I’m ready to get out of here tomorrow.
I wake up at least 3 times in the middle of the night needing the nurse to help me out of bed to use the bathroom. HOLY.SHIT. Getting up is incredibly painful. And the way my bladder is set up, just wrap my ass in a diaper please.
The next morning the hospital staff lets me know that I will be discharged but not until I am cleared with the rehabilitation therapist. They are there to ensure that I can properly get out of the bed and move without hurting myself or opening the incisions. Blah, blah, blah. I’m fiiine.
Ok, well maybe I’m not fine, but I will be! The sooner I’m out of this hospital the better!
Oh and back to these drains coming out of the sides of my breasts make me feel like an octopus. How come no one told me that I’d be getting these? These will be gone before I leave today right? Every few hours a nurse comes in to empty and measure the amount of blood collected each time. The drains are basically little suction cups that collect any fluids that may build up in my breasts since having the surgery. Measuring them routinely allows them to see that any excess blood from my surgery is draining properly. We want the amount to continue decreasing over time. And yes, these grenades are coming home with me. Fun!
My breast surgeon and plastic surgeon both stop by to check on me at different points throughout the morning. Thankfully not to see if I’ve needed to be put in a straight jacket because I can’t handle the missing titties, but they’ve stopped by to make sure I’m ok. What a nice touch! Extra brownie points for you guys!
My breast surgeon comes over and tells me that we can remove the first layer of bandaging. Oh. There’s more stuff underneath this clear stuff? Yep. Little small steri strips. He peels off the first layer of the clear stuff like an onion. They’re gone. My breasts are gone. Nipples too. I knew this was coming but it still doesn’t make it any easier to see. There’s still some semblance of a breast but it’s not a breast, breast. I hold back my tears but I really just want to cry like a baby. My anger is back.
My titties look like empanadas.
These aren’t what I will be walking around with for the rest of my life. In 6 or 7 months I’ll get to come back and have my breasts reconstructed. “They’ll be full and round and even higher than before!”, I tell myself enthusiastically in my head. I feel like I’m always in a constant state of trying to pump myself up to keep myself from losing my shit.
“They’ll draw on those 3D nipples and you’ll go right back to feeling like your old self!”, I say in my head. ”And breastfeeding, Who needs that?! Enfamil all the way. Who needs to bond with their baby in that way? Who needs a little baby clinging to your breasts around the clock? Who needs to worry about pumping and dumping? Raw, cracked nipples from a baby latching on several times a day? Nope.”
My mind is flooded and my anger and resentment continues to rise. The truth is I want to experience ALL of this one day. The good stuff and the bad. ALL of the parts of motherhood. Am I silly for thinking this is important? For wanting to bond with my baby in that way? I wanted the option and that shit has just been taken from me!
But I’ll be alive to at least one day be a mother. Right? Right. I need to be thanking God right now and not being ungrateful. Sigh. This shit is hard. Have I said that already?
Anyway, the rehabilitation therapist comes in and asks if I’m ready to be discharged.
1. Hell YES.
2.Who’s got money to keep staying up in here?
3. My mama comes today! It’s time to go!
She has a young guy standing beside her in a white lab coat. He looks like a Ken doll. Perfectly trimmed blonde hair, blue eyes and a warm smile that would make me blush if I wasn’t feeling so self-conscious. She asks me if he can be in the room to observe.
Ugh. What am I going to say? NO? I give my consent and we are back to business. She has me sign some documents and then instructs me to get dressed and she’ll meet me in the hallway. MJ helps me get dressed. I’m trying to be independent already and dress myself, but the reality is, girl, you just had MAJOR surgery, calm TF down. This shit HURTS. They cut my breasts open, cut me open to put in my port and also cut open right below my armpit. 2 lymph nodes were taken to ensure that my cancer hasn’t metastasized/spread to other areas of my body. All clear. I want to be snippy with him as he helps me because I feel so helpless not being able to dress myself. I guess this is what marriage is all about eh?
Getting dressed seems to take forever. I’m so annoyed. I’m not in excruciating pain but there is definite discomfort. And I’ve got these drains coming out of the sides that I have to be SUPER careful with. I cannot pull these out or tug on them too much.
Finally, I’m dressed and we head to the hallway to look for the rehab nurse. She gives me a short route to walk to ensure that I am mobile enough to go home. She then has me go back in the room, get back in bed and show her that I can properly and carefully fling myself out of the bed. Now, THIS shit is difficult. It HURRRRTS to lift myself out of this bed. She demonstrates a way to do it more easily. Yeah, ok, girl.
Maybe we can just stop to Target on the way home for a box of Depends and then I’ll never have to get up and go to the bathroom. MJ you ready to give me a sponge bath or nah?
Next up are these exercises that I must do. Move your arms this way, now that way. Gurl. That’s enough. Free meeee. She hands me this clear object with a tube at the end and tells me that I need to blow in it multiple times a day. Sorry, MJ.
I literally don’t have one more ounce of patience and home girl is still going a mile a minute. Ma’am, I zoned out after my stroll through the hallway. I look over at MJ who is being super attentive. “And then you want to empty her drains 4x per day into this cup and document it on this chart here.” MJ is paying attention like there’s about to be a quiz at the end. I clear my throat in a way that signals to MJ that I’m.over.it.
“Ok, cool! Got it.” I say with a huge, hopefully, inconspicuous fake smile.
I’m literally ready to break out of this joint like a prisoner who’s been denied bail. I like, cannooooot.
Yep, arm exercises, blow into this thing, measure the blood filling the grenades, take it easy. Got it, got it, got it. Now can we go please!?
Alas, she has given me the green light. We can go! Woohoo!
A nurse instructs me to pack the rest of my things and wait until a nurse comes back with a wheelchair. The only time I’ve ever envisioned being rolled out of a hospital in a wheelchair is after squeezing out a baby. And I’ll be rolled out with the wholesome, glowly mom look that you have right after you have a baby. Or maybe my friends are just all babes. Hmmmm.
Do I really need to be rolled outta here? Is this going to cost extra? Is my insurance going to cover this? Because if not, I can walk my damn self out. I decide to be compliant and sit my ass down in the wheelchair and be rolled outta here.
MJ zooms up in his Jeep Grand Cherokee like he’s here to rescue some handicapped person that just robbed a bank. Here I am! Over here!!! MJ jumps out of the driver's seat and rushes over to me, helping me inside the car.
Finally, we can go home.
This is the first day of the rest of my life. I will forever be changed by this.
We are on the road. Music plays on the radio and we drive in silence. All of a sudden I burst into tears. Holy shit. Not again. I can’t turn it off. So many emotions.This definitely a “WHY ME” cry. I still don’t want to believe this. MJ looks over at me, worried. “I’m just so ANGRY,” I shout. “I’m going to be fine. I’m fine,” I say quickly wiping my tears with my sleeve. “I’m just so fucking pissed about all of this.”