Breast Surgery

I went in for surgery today at 12:30 p.m., twelve hours after learning that internet surfing at light speed under the influence of Tylenol 3 makes me barf, big time. I spent the rest of the night worrying about dying from my infection before surgery (think Jim Henson) or dying during surgery (think my grandpa) or waking up in recovery without a left breast (think neighbor lady).

Around two in the morning, pain woke me. My giant red lump birthed a purplish center. Since I still had no fever, I called our nurse hotline and chatted with Barry, who assured me I would not die–abscesses sometimes develop purple centers. He told me to truck down to the emergency room if I developed a fever or red streaks (which I knew since I googled my condition for days). Overall, he was sweet and reassuring; I felt relieved. Mwah! Big kiss to Barry.

How ironic that someone who worries so much over her health was taken by surprise and wound up needing surgery. Someone should have told me to see the doctor if a milk duct is plugged for over three days.  I also should have pestered the radiologist sooner. Waiting the extra day and a half for surgery allowed my abscess to triple in size–the difference between a needle in a doctor’s office and general anesthesia in the hospital. Well, I survived the ordeal and cataloged it for you below.

9:00 I arrived at Dr. Rubble’s office.  When she saw my abscess, the nurse gasped. Tight-lipped, she dabbed topical pain relief lotion on it. I laughed.  “I don’t think that will help.” Frowning in concern,  she told me the doctor would be in to lance the abscess shortly. I

9:15 Dr. Rubble entered, examined my abscess dispassionately, and glared at the nurse over the numbing lotion. He told her to schedule me for general anesthesia and an Incision and Drainage at noon today. I expected this. I requested an IV from Dr. Rubble since I feel so dehydrated from last night’s puking festival.

10:45 At the hospital with Egor, an IV sloshed glucose, electrolytes, and water into my system. Relief! A loquacious Asian nurse made me comfortable and discussed Asian culture with me until her lunchtime. I appreciated the distraction.

11:00 Mom and her backpack arrived. She left in an hour to relieve Tanya, who babysat Liev.

11:15 I am grateful I brought my breast pump since one is not readily available. I pumped for a half an hour and worried about general anesthesia while E tried to stay awake. The abscess agonized me, and I could take no meds for it.

11:45 The anesthesiologist arrived. Short, swarthy, and Boo Radley-like, his inscrutable dry sense of humor was a treat. To prevent another barf-fest he orders medication to prevent nausea. Oddly enough, the anti-nausea drug nauseates me. The pink puke cup is my friend!

12:00 The chatty nurse told me Dr. Rubble would arrive shortly. In sotto voce, she explained he is running late.

12:30 The nurse administered happy meds. I’d be sillier if I weren’t so groggy. Pain decreases, yay!

12:45 Dr. Rubble arrived, and staff whisked me off to the operating chamber.  I semi-hallucinated that I was a patient on House M.D. as they placed a mask on me. Loads of laughter then lights out.

1:??  I awakened in recovery, still believing I was in the operating room before surgery. During the fog, I tried to make jokes for Dr. House but no one grasped how hilarious I was. Egor arrived. Dr. Rubble gives me detailed instructions related to wound care. I managed not to laugh, despite his voice sounding like Barney Rubble from the Flintstones. I repeated everything back to him without a single snicker. He prescribed Oxycodone. The next hour vanished.

3:30 On the way home, lack of pain meds kicked in. Every bump ached like stabbing spears, waves of nausea pounded. I cursed and whined at E in a never-ending stream. His solution was to drive faster increasing my agony. Escorting me to the couch, he disappeared to Walgreens to drop off prescriptions. At home, Mom listened patiently as I blathered on endlessly. Must have been the drugs left in my system!

4:00 I called Pat to let her know I survived the surgery (she told me I would) and to beg her to stop by with some trashy mags after work. Tanya naps and Mom continued to tolerate my rambling.

After the pain meds kick in: Pat arrives with a super-sweet Halloween ghost-bag full of goodies: The EnquirerStarSunThe GlobeWeekly World News (“Alien Mummy Goes on Rampage,” YAY!), Acoustic Guitar Magazine (for E), chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and my favorite kitsch candy–a Christopher’s Big Cherry! Pat takes over for Mom in listening to me prattle on, even giving me a foot massage! Friends and Family rule!

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