My teacher self felt for the resident. She said she did not want to hurt me. My response which i have come to use often is this.
"You are not hurting me. It hurts. It is the procedure not the person. " I also added that if she was going be in this profession she was gonna have to emotionally toughen up a bit. But just a little bit.
Oh and leave more epidermis on the next time you remove a foot and half foot long dressing from skin thinner than an onion. Onions make people cry. " The surgeon chuckled a bit and she looked sheepishly at the floor.
I was calmer now as the drugs had kicked in and there was a team of people chatting with me. Kendra, Liza, the surgeon, the resident and another nurse who had brought in a tray of tools i did not want to see were making epic small talk.
Then the tray nurse took out a staple. I had to pry my leg off her. There was a crude clear wet footprint on her stomach.
"Sorry - i'm a kicker. I think you are going to have to hold me."
Kendra came to up to hold my shoulder. She was soon the same colour the resident had been just minutes ago.
"Maybe not." and she went and sat down. This is a woman who has 3 kids - all of which came out of her head first covered in goo and blood - but a few staples is too much?
My mind took the beetleguise PTSD field trip. "Am i gross under there all bloody veins and puss?"
Liza appeared at me side and held my forehead down. Kendra held my legs which was no easy feet. ( ha) lame - and the Nurse Navigator tapped out the other nurse and took over.
The next 20 were ok. Slow but ok. Better than that first one which was like ripping a 1959 carpet underlay off with a flat head screwdriver and a forklift. The 21st one - yes i was counting - dropped on my chest. Like an anvil on the coyote. It rang in my ears like church bells from hell. Just keep counting just keep counting….. the blood rushing in my ears sounded just like the ocean...
There are 748 holes in a ceiling tile. About 39 veins in the back of your eye. And roughly 5 hairs on the chin of a menopausal woman. Liza's eyelashes are endless. Pain is sometimes as intoxicating as love.
In the time it takes to write an in class essay on Alfred K -rock street heroin spoons the staples were out and a gazillion steristrips were on. I think it was about 90 minutes. Shadows of people had come and gone and i had drifted off to some hydromorph happy place.
Then in the middle of my warm ocean trance the surgeon appeared - like Bruce. "Hello." he said in his usual balsa wood dry tone.
I got out "H" and then he put his left hand in the centre of my chest - his right hand on my right side - and snapped the drain out of my body with the force and speed and of a lesbian ball hockey locker room towel fight and popped the 36 inch bloody tube in the garbage right beside Kendra. Apparently rubber things that have been in your body for a month smell. There were some super primal gurgles and gags circling the room.
The Dr. released the pressure on my chest smiled deeply at me and asked "How was that?"
My adhd brain googled a thesaurus of synonyms and antonyms for agony, ecstasy and assorted profanity. But my teacher brain was still in the room - and i was not quite done teasing the resident.
"UM, that smarted a bit" - as i tried really hard to blink but one lid would not unknit itself. " And may i ask - "Dr. Do i still have both my eyes?"
"Well actually Kelly," he said picking up on the comedic cue - " the drain was attached to your percipital optical nerve - and as a result
"WHAT??" gasped the intern - Whose incredulous questioning was soon overtaken by hysterical and very nervous laughter from the entire room.
" and as a result you will see yourself feeling much better very soon."
" I all ready do sir. Thank you."
With that he shook my hand and begin to depart. " See you in six months." I smiled deeply at him and said " You will sir. Indeed you will."
The girls helped me get dressed and aimed me towards the car. The scary puddle was still there - a bit bigger than before - but so was my confidence. This time when i looked in and saw my reflection i lifted up my arms as far as they would go simply floated over that version of me like it wasn't there.
Because that version of me - no matter what i would come to look like over the next few months - maybe years - was never how i was going to see myself again.