A nurse has come to change my bandages on a daily basis, since my surgery one week ago.
I watch her while she does this, checking for any sign of flinching or disgust. But her face remains impassive, and she moves with brisk efficiency. Her only comment was, ‘What a nice clean cut!’
I had to take her word for it because I’d never seen it for myself. The bandages were waterproof so when I showered I left them on, content to let nurse Debbie deal with it later. When I was in the hospital Doctors and Nurses would come to check all the wounds – breast, breast, and tummy. They’d come in every hour with a flashlight, I’d undo my gown and they’d start their inspection. I was on morphine – so I didn’t care.
They also had a little machine called a Doppler. And they waved the wand across my boobs and we’d hear a loud crackling ‘Whoosh Whoosh’. They explained that was the sound of blood flowing through my re-attached arteries. Amazing. It sent shivers down my spine. I loved hearing the sound of my blood, but but as much as I loved it, I didn’t want to see it.
Yesterday I was at home, standing in the shower. Nurse Debbie had bandaged me loosely that morning, so my wounds could breath. In fact, she said the fewer bandages the better so I had a minimum amount – just enough to protect me from my clothes.
So I shuffled into the shower and stood under the tap like a turtle on her hind legs. The hot water felt delicious, and I stood there for a long long time with my eyes closed (nothing else to do that day, really).
Finally I opened my eyes and looked around. And then I looked down. What I saw made me gasp out loud, and I had to grasp the soap dish to keep myself from collapsing. My bandage had fallen off and my cut, which went from one side of my waist was completely exposed. Holy F*ck. So much worse than I'd expected.
It looked as though I’d gone to the world’s worst circus and had been forced into a wooden box by a bad magician in a cheap suit holding a tree saw. And to the delight of the audience, he’d actually cut me in half!
The scar – which goes form one side of my waist to the other is about 14” wide. I thought, mistakenly, that it would be a gentle line down near my bikini, but rather it looks like a jagged red belt belt that sits well above my hips. And it is indeed a clean line - but only when compared to a line that might come from being trapped in the Jaws of 40’ shark. Sweet Jesus, it’s a doozy.
I flung open the shower curtain and grabbed wildly for a towel that I could wrap around my body. Once I was covered up it wasn’t so bad, but it took a few minutes for my heart to stop pounding.
That was yesterday. Today was Nurse Debbie's last day. I begged her to come back but she's says that I no longer need her.
I can barely face my stomach, and I’ve yet to see my boobs. Step right up - this is going to be the toughest show on earth.