21 August 2013

Missing my Belly Button

On nights when I can’t sleep I try to find my belly button.

I kick off the sheets, raise my arm, and let my finger fall to where my belly button is supposed to be. I should be able to stab it in the dark, considering I’ve stuck my finger in it since I was a tot. But I always get it wrong.

During my surgery it was relocated, so now I have two belly buttons; the phantom belly button that once was, and the new belly button that isn’t where my belly button is supposed to be.

Where is it?
I wish I knew more about the procedure. During the consultations with my Plastic Surgeon there was so much information that I kind of ignored the stuff that was revolting.  Dr H. would say something along the lines of,  ‘blah blah new bellybutton.’  My brain would freeze but I’d nod with confidence, as though I knew exactly what he was talking about it – as though moving ones belly button happens every day.

The truth is I found the whole thing too horrible to think about. I was already dealing with new breasts, a huge abdominal scar, and the notion that they were messing around with my nipples. That I could deal with that. But not the bellybutton.

I’d had two very bad experiences with bellybuttons that pretty much scarred me for life. The first was my sisters’ high school math teacher. He had a big beer belly and a belly-button which was clearly visible through his super tight short-sleeved shirt. Sometimes he’d come to school loaded, and when he did, there’d be something leaking through his bb.

The second experience was with a small Cuban child.  Jim and I were touring a tobacco farm and were being taken to the farmers ‘house’ by our guide. As the only guests we were something of a novelty. The little naked boy ran over to us and it looked for the entire world like he had an uncooked cocktail sausage sticking out of his stomach.

‘le gustaria llevarlo¿ (Would you like to pick him up)’, asked our guide.

He was a lovely child, but I had to make sure to keep my eyes on his face. Jim and I tried to be mature about his minor deformity but our maturity only lasted until our second mojito when we said things such as ‘what the heck was that?’ and ‘ick’.

I truly believe that things come in threes and with the fat math teacher and the Cuban child, -  I guess I’m the third. Okay, it’s not that bad. Now that the scars are healing my button is sort of cute. And it’s only slightly higher than it used to be. Also, I have a vague idea of how it happened. When my fat was removed from my tummy the skin had to be stretched, and a hole had to be punched in the new skin to connect with the old belly button hole. Or something like that.

One of these days I’m going to find out exactly what happened in that operating room.

Until then, I’m still stabbing in the dark. And missing my bellybutton.