Monthly Archives: September 2008

Gettin’ there

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Ok, on the D-Day front, so to speak, healing is progressing, albeit slow.

We’re at 6-1/2 weeks now. The non-challenged side is nearly completely healed. The problem side is still raw, tender, itchy, irritated, and driving me crazy. I just long for the day of not having to wear these friggin surgical bras. One brand is pretty funny, though: “Dr. Fillgood.” Geez.

Gloria Steinem’s Take on Palin

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Thank you Gloria.

Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008, 10:31
——————————————————————
 
> Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin
>
> Here’s the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even
> the anti-feminist right wing — the folks with a headlock on the Republican
> Party — are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice
> president. We owe this to women — and to many men too — who have
> picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so
> women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the
> ‘white-male-only’ sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton,
> who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.
>
> But here is even better news: It won’t work. This isn’t the first time a
> boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and
> opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been
> about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for
> women everywhere.   It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too
> many of us for that.   It’s about baking a new pie.
>
> Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no
> way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters.   Palin
> shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and
> deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that
> has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential
> candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that
> opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that
> Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be
> like saying, ‘Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.’
>
> This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on
> issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can’t do the
> job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn’t
> say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the
> spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero
> background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden’s 37
> years’ experience.
>
> Palin has been honest about what she doesn’t know. When asked last month
> about the vice presidency, she said, ‘I still can’t answer that question
> until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every
> day?’ When asked about Iraq, she said, ‘I haven’t really focused much on
> the war in Iraq.’
>
> She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and
> she’s won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a
> $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain’s
> campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income
> or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long
> that he doesn’t know it’s about inviting more people to meet standards, not
> lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration
> habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate’s views on
> ‘God, guns and gays’ ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is
> filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.
>
> So let’s be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out
> of change-envy, or a belief that women can’t tell the difference between
> form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues;
> the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of
> reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a
> woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq;
> someone like Texas Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of
> Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs
> who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against
> Women Act.
>
> Palin’s value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every
> issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that
> creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global
> warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women’s
> wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves ‘abstinence-only’
> programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and
> abortions; she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to
> shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state
> school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation;
> she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500
> million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports
> drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has
> opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly,
> only younger.
>
> I don’t doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle
> Assn., she doesn’t just support killing animals from helicopters, she does
> it herself. She doesn’t just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels
> but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn’t just
> echo McCain’s pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade,
> she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest,
> she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a
> human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it
> also protects the right to have a child.
>
> So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James
> Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, ‘women are merely
> waiting for their husbands to assume leadership,’ so he may be voting for
> Palin’s husband.
>
> Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains
> from this contest.
>
> Republicans may learn they can’t appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most
> women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist
> majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to
> support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite
> government into the wombs of women.
>
> And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs
> than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national
> stage from male leaders who know that women can’t be equal outside the home
> until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on
> their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their
> children.
>
> This could be huge.

Friday Sept. 12

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Found a new blouse this morning. One that I had bought pre-D-Day and tucked away and forgot about. I was thrilled to find it today because I felt much better and wanted to look it, too, without any fuss. The top was perfect — knit, loose, swingy, a little crochet neckline. Just enough to perk me up.

 

Got to the doctors without incident or speeding ticket. I’d already changed my dressing after my shower this morning just so I could check on things. I was worried about the blood from last night. All was well. Doctor said so, too. I didn’t hear “this is the worst it will be” because it is already better than Wednesday. He said in a week it’ll look completely different. Like I’ll have skin where skin’s supposed to be, I assume. And he said the pain would lessen. I only took Aleve today so I could have more energy, but I took a lot of it. It’s still uncomfortable and I get an occasional YOWEE pain.

 

I called Steve and told him the good news and we went to lunch at Taylors, the best steak house in the area. Tried to nap when I got home but the neighbor had construction going on, so every time I dozed off a drill or saw or hammer would jump into action waking me up. So now it’s time for the darvocet and sleep. I feel like I’ve turned a corner. I’ll be back to work Monday.

Second Act Continued

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Wednesday, Sept. 10

I’ve gone to the date format because it’s the only way I can keep track of all this.

After we got home from the doc Tuesday, it was time for chinese food (Egg Roll Express in Pasadena) and passing out. I took my meds and went to sleep, hardly waking til morning. All looked ok when I got up, so I just washed my hair before going to the doctor. (I can go a week without a shower if I have to, but the hair has to be washed daily or it becomes a study in oil.) I figured as long as I was washing my hair, I might as well do my roots with the 10minute root touch-up. No strain in doing it, no stretching involved. All worked out fine.

 

But I was tired after that and needed a short nap. When I woke up I got my things together and realized I didn’t have any cash for parking. I’d spent it at the Elks. Rats. Steve had left very early for work so I couldn’t get any from him. I tried calling but he didn’t answer. He’d said something about a meeting at Universal so I figured that’s where he was. But now I was running a little late if I had to stop at the bank. I got in the car (no hopping, jumping, running, etc., just getting into the car is plenty of effort) and headed out, intending to stop at the bank. Unfortunately a Highway Patrol officer had a different idea. I turned down the Casitas Ave speed trap and was had. I was just out of sorts and didn’t even realize it was a 25 mile an hour zone, and my mind was on my boob and the doctor and making sure I had money to get out of the parking lot. See how your mind can just screw you up? Not being able to do my usual yoga routine over the past few weeks has left my mind atwitter. So the motorcycle cop so cleverly hiding in the shade walks out to the middle of the street and waves me over. I think he’s going to tell me about something going on in the neighborhood and to be careful. No. He’s giving me a speeding ticket. I crack. I nearly pulled off my shirt to show him my pain, but just broke down crying instead. He didn’t care. Gave me the damn ticket as I’m on the phone with the doc’s office telling them I’ll be late. They must think all I ever do is cry. I feel like I’m 12. I want to punch the cop, but, of course, it’s physically impossible to do so.

 

So I had to pull myself together and get to Burbank, which I did, without further incident. The new gauze worked wonders and doc said all was going fine. “This is the worst it will be,” he said again. And repeated that it will heal up and look perfectly normal. Finally the nurse says, “I have some pictures that will show you what he means.” “Please, bring them, visuals are good!”  Sure enough, photos of another woman with both breasts in this condition and both turned out beautiful. That was what I really needed to see. I’m a photographer, show me the proof! You know the cliche…a picture is worth a thousand words. But I’m not showing pictures here, you have to put up with my words.

The rest of the day was incident free. Calm. Relaxing. Got a massage to unhinge my neck muscles and stimulate circulation, and saw Santokh, my chiropractor. No problems during the night.

Thursday

Today I showered and changed the dressing myself without problems but I felt irritated all day. I did some small errands, checked email, dealt with the cable company (for the third time this week) and puttered.  But just as I was preparing for bed, which I haven’t made it to yet, I checked my dressing. One of the large absorbent pads felt odd. When I tried to remove it, it stuck. I tugged ever, ever so gently, and the bleeding started again. Doesn’t seem to be like Tuesday’s incident, but very disheartening. It’s good that there’s blood and circulation, but really not happy with it leaking out.  So instead of seeing the doc at 10:30 tomorrow, I’ll probably be there at 8:30. Now I just have to relax enough to sleep.

The Worst it Will Be?

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Wish I could say things have been rolling along with laughter, to borrow my pal Natasha’s title of her play/movie/book to come. But not quite. Here’s a long update. Pull up a chair and a drink.

Tuesday, Sept. 2

The second act of this dramatic breast reduction doesn’t want to end. After the first “clean up” on Tuesday Sept. 2, I felt pretty damn fragile. The scab was removed and I was left with a horrifying open wound. I went to work, but couldn’t handle a full day. I was supposed to keep the dressing moist, change them periodically. But the dressing changes were crushing my spirit and making me weep. If it was a wound nearly anywhere else it wouldn’t be so emotionally wrenching, but paying all this money to do something good for myself and then fearing that it would turn out like a Phantom of the Opera breast was too much. 

Friday, Sept. 5

At work the rest of the week I was uncomfortable and mildly crabby. Friday I went in for another “cleanup” before the weekend. That one was pretty invasive as the doc was using long Q-tips to make sure all was ok inside. Ugh. “This is the worst of it now,” said the doc. “It will be like this for a while and then it will dramatically improve. You’ll see.” But we made it to the Dodger game that night and finally they won while I was in attendance! Saturday we went to dinner at our friends’ house and I was in pain all night.

 Sunday/Monday Sept. 7/8

By Sunday my skin turned alarmingly red and I was getting needle prick feelings all over the wound area. I called the doc first thing Monday and went in that afternoon. He found bacteria (can I tell you how much antibacterial soap I use and how many pieces of clothing I’ve been going thru to try and keep things clean?) and took a culture. He also removed a couple of leftover stitches. “This is the worst it will be,” he repeated. He gave me prescriptions for antibiotics and pain. Even my Yogi chiropractor told me on Monday that I should be taking more pain meds, that I was trying to hard to go through this stoically. (I love the line in Mad Men when Betty says she’s not sad, “It’s just that my people are Nordic.” So funny. Well, so are my people. So I went home, started my meds and hit the Elks Lodge for Monday Night Football. Yes, I know, it’s strange. I’m an Elk. But they do know how to do a good sports bar.

Tuesday, Sept. 9

Tuesday I was Miss Productive at work, blazing through all the materials for this weekend’s conference, getting calendars sorted out, emails written, flash presentations organized, and just as I was about to pack up for the day, I tried to stretch and relieve a back spasm. That’s when the blood started flyin’.  I felt something warm, looked down and my white (of course) t-shirt was now a red abstract print. I ran down the hall to the bathroom, telling my co-worker the obvious, “I’m bleeding!” I stood over the sink to open my bra and see what was happening and blood was pouring out on me, the sink, the floor. I stuffed paper towels inside and tried to clean up the mess. Amanda (my coworker) came in and before you know it we had a party going in there to try and help me.

 

Women were streaming in and out with clean shirts, bandages, pads, first aid kits, and Amanda was on the phone with my doctor and then my husband, telling him to get there fast. We managed to bundle me up and my two buds walked me down to the parking lot. Me as I’m holding one breast. Funny, nobody seemed to notice. Steve drove up in the Porsche, and since taking a bumpy ride was NOT on my agenda, we switched to my luxury liner, the Tribeca. In the middle of all this, my pal Lizzie calls and turns out she’s in Burbank for her doctor’s appointment and said she’ll meet us at mine. By the time I walked in the door, she was already there. Talk about the perfect time to see a friendly face. Whew. It was good she was there to keep Steve company while I was in the torture chamber resolving the issue at hand.

 

Doc had to stitch up the offending blood vessel. Turns out, when you’re healing like this, new blood vessels form as tissue regenerates. This one was fragile and burst when I moved. Very unusual thing to happen, but does now and then. They told me if it happens again to apply pressure, and, of course, get to the office. But the real problem was just getting to the vessel through the now dried bloody gauze dressing. It was stuck to me. And it frickin hurt when they tried to remove it. Every touch was like fire and I clench now just thinking about it. They opened the office window to let in fresh air, brought me cold water, a pillow, and held my hand.

 

Despite repeatedly pouring on saline solution and applying numbing cream, I could still feel too much.  When the doc was finally done, we all just had to take a breather and relax.  I asked about the non-stick pads I’d tried at home earlier on instead of regular gauze, et voila! Mrs. Dr. O (the anestesiologist) suggested Vaseline gauze. Sounded like a miracle to me. Sure enough, she whipped out the wonder product and the doc cut it to fit and placed it on me. I’ve always hated gauze, I’m sure because of some childhood trauma. I don’t know, dry cotton on a wet wound. No thanks.  He once again repeated the “this is the worst it will be” speech and at this point I couldn’t imagine anything worse. Once I was ready, I told the doc, “Better go talk to my husband. He needs some soothing and fluffing.” I then was helped into my clothes and given more instructions. They wanted me in the next day to change the dressing so that A) I didn’t have to go through the trauma of doing it myself with the new gauze, and B) doc wanted to see how well it worked. Fine with me. I had no desire to ever change a dressing again. But life isn’t that simple. I just hope it really has been the worst it will be.

 

More tomorrow. Second act ain’t over yet…

Not so fast there girl

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Ok, the latest funny. Saw a drink on a bar menu the other night: Purple Hooter. I said “I had a couple of those myself!” And right now I’ve got a healing issue that hurts like hell. The good news the hypersensitivity has calmed a bit so I don’t feel like my chest is on fire. But the problem area is following the classic, “it’s gonna get worse before it gets better stage.” I’m just not sure how graphic to get with these updates, so let’s just say lefty’s looking gorgeous and righty is still in the ugly duckling stage. The other upside, so to speak, is that my pal Lizzie asked me if i can see a scar when I lift them up. “No more lifting them up! I’ve got headlights now!” Now if I can just navigate my way to the surgeon tomorrow.