The knock of the knot – Breast Cancer with Lacanian Angles
Drugged and Woosie in the Recovery Room, I’ve woken up. A good sign. My left arm making the blood pressure machine bleep. “You’re athletic” it came more as a statement than a question. I did warn them that I was fit. My pulse at rest dips below 45bpm. Oh hell. Had they brought me back from a close shave with the grim reaper!? Who could tell? Would the surgical team ever admit to such a thing. Had I expected to die? Pop my bucket, kick my clogs! Well there is always that outlier, that statistic! Of course it had crossed my mind. All that surgical intricacy and teamwork almost lost. Do near deaths even get recorded? My fingertips felt a little numb so it may have been a real possibility. I can wiggle my toes and fingers and what’s more I can see them move. No phantom effect here. But who cares, I’m here. I made it back, vital signs monitored and still wired up to the drip. This time with tramadul and perhaps some other opiate ingredients. It was ten to one. The second hand moved with a deliberately slow pace. The slurred tick or tock of a clock that has witnessed the imbibing of one too many sedatives. Just over the two hour surgery-time. Probably no working-hour for extra-dramatics, no window for a resuscitation, no time for a near death experience. They’d done their job and here was the result. I was awake. And they perhaps were at lunch. There was someone communicating. Someone muttering, murmuring. Was that me? Was I okay to go back to the ward? I needed the bathroom. A bed-pan. Fine how could anyone argue. Humiliation didn’t fit here. Just needed to pee. Oh what relief. Yikes the bed pan seemed a little shallow. I had drunk loads before the zero hour or nil by mouth curfew. It put my mind at rest. Didn’t need to worry about that again for a while. They took it away. Soon after I reawoke, back in “my” bay by the window, on the ward. The air was chill. Had I walked here or had they wheeled me back in? Drowsiness had won through again. Falling back into the hole of unconsciousness.
Running on pause/paws
“When can I start running again?” Ooo that question was of interest to me too. Hey who’s speaking? Who are you behind this fake curtained privacy? Do you run? I run. What surgery did they do to you? Ah a tonsillectomy. Not quite on the same page as me then. Breast surgery. Malignant cells. Yes. No I don’t know when I’ll be up to run again. We exchanged numbers when we discovered we were neighbours near-as-dammit. I lay back. Time flowed over me. The second hand was Daliesque in its inability to mark temporal change. Was I ready to leave? Soon. Soon.
Most of the morning patients had self dismissed. A sandwich was offered. Gratefully I chewed, mouth dry, tongue like a wet roll of flannel. Egg with a vinegar mayonnaise. Perhaps I could try the cheese and ham please. The buttery bread was the most pleasant part. I texted my survival to family and friends. Delirious messages. Not so groggy now my things were neatly back in the rucksack. Of the three bras I’d brought along I chose one for support and comfort. The roushed under arm elastic low on the thick surgical dressing. The bandaged area was without sensation beyond numb even. Nurses saw that I was ready to leave. I’d been here ten hours. A bag of pain medication and dosage instructions were explained. Can’t say that I was able to take-in that information. My significant other was waiting, time resumed the pace of the outside world and we headed home.