Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I now feel a strange kinship with the Tyrannasaurus Rex

PS. This is a continuation of a blog saga. Start with "Breaking the Ice" and read chronologically, otherwise this story will make no sense.

The morphine drip finally got the pain under control and I was allowed to go home with lots of prescriptions for post-op pain and instructions for making sure I didn't get an infection.

By far, the worst part of the recovery was the incisions under my arms. Every time I moved my arms, they hurt. When I breathed they hurt. When I talked or laughed they hurt. You don't realize how often your underarms are stretched in every day life until you feel horrendous pain every time your stitches move.

To add insult to injury, my two female roommates thought that this was Hilarious. They likened me to a squirrel, or a T-Rex, because there was only one comfortable position for my arms.

Most stubbiest arms ever; the T-rex arms can't even reach his face.
It wasn't very fun either because there was so much I wanted to do with my time off from school. I thought, "Sweet, at least I'll catch up on homework and be able to give myself a pedicure/manicure, maybe play some video games..." My arms allowed me to do none of this.

I know how you feel Mr. TRex. (Credit for comic goes to www.quantz.com)
I couldn't even hug people. =( There is a facebook group dedicated to almost this exact problem called: "Hi, I'm a dinosaur and I'm always angry cos my arms are too short to hug people" except it has less punctuation and capitalization. (I'm sorry, my OCD just won't allow me to type that any other way. I died a little inside when I typed "cos".)

My roommates capitalized on my inability to get my hands higher than my chin and would hide my food on the top shelves in our kitchen and watch with glee while I tried to get at it until we all dissolved into giggles. I know this probably sounds cruel to those of you reading, but it helped me stay sane. They didn't baby me, pity me, or patronize me; they treated me like everything was normal. We always played jokes like this on each other, and major surgery was no excuse for not participating.

We also laughed (maybe a bit too loudly) at insensitive cancer jokes like:
Doctor: I've got your test results and some bad news. You have cancer and Alzheimer's.
Man: Boy, am I lucky! I was afraid I had cancer!
My mom stayed with us for a week. I couldn't wash my hair, or dress myself, so she was in heaven. She loves to cuddle and misses that I will no longer snuggle with her like when I was 5. But I didn't really have much of a choice being drugged and barely able to move. So she got to blow-dry my hair, brush it, dress me however she liked: it was basically like having a grown-up doll for a week.

Eventually, my mom finally went home, and my roommates got their comeuppance. They had to clean the drain in my back. Mmm, nothing better than lymph, blood and bodily fluid. How's that for true friendship? I couldn't put on bras or shirts by myself. I flashed them so many times, I think they probably dream about me sometimes.

Soon after my mother left, I decided it was time to return to class. I was still in a lot of pain, and taking 2-3 Vicodin every 4-6 hours. I don't know what possessed me to go to my chip design class. To this day, I have no idea what was taught in that class. I vaguely remember sitting in the front row, lolling my head to the side and mindlessly staring at the PowerPoint slides until suddenly the room was empty. Where did everyone go? Maybe I should go home. Good plan, K8.

We didn't get the biopsy results for another couple of weeks...

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