Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Broken Shoulder, My Breasts and John Lithgow (There Is a Connection. Really.)

When I tripped over a string of lights on my patio on March 29, 2008, I hit the cement like a meteor striking the earth. In scientific terms that can be an ELE, an extinction level event. And, not to be too dramatic, that is practically is what it was for life as I had known it up to then.

Yeah, not too dramatic. lol

I had never broken a bone before, but knew the instant I hit the ground that something really, really bad had happened to my arm. The sensation was almost electrical, what I would imagine it would feel like to have lightening strike. The pain was unspeakable.

At the Emergency Room, they told me my arm was broken. What they didn’t tell me was the head of my arm bone, essentially the bottom half of my shoulder, had shattered into four pieces. And, truly, my life has not been the same since.

After a fruitless four day search for someone to take care of me, I found Dr. Wonderful. He was so great, in so many ways. I had my first operation since I was a child, actually almost exactly 50 years earlier. I was patched together in an effort to preserve the bone. And it might have worked. Except for Multiple Sclerosis.

The MS, the theory is going, has kept my arm from healing properly. The result has been relentless pain and little use of my arm since the day I fell. A second surgery was done to clean up the scar tissue that had developed, in the hope of calming everything down once and for all.

No such luck.

I am heading into my third shoulder surgery and will have part of the joint replaced. The theory this time is by taking away the source of the pain, my damaged bone, the pain will be relieved.

Instead of getting easier, this surgery stuff is getting harder and I am practically certifiable with anxiety at this point. I have watched the You Tube shoulder replacement film so many times, I could do the surgery myself. I am contemplating asking them to let me stay awake, just to make sure they are all doing everything they should.

I watched one training film for the surgery where the anesthetized female patient was COMPLETELY EXPOSED from the waist up the whole while her surgeon was talking to the camera. Bastard. So now I am obsessing about my 55 year old boobs, which nursed four children for a total of ten years, that they will be flopping over the sides of the operating table and resting on my surgeon’s shoes. For all to see and trip over.

Not fun. Well, not for me at any rate.

The surgery is done with the patient in a sitting up position. Apparently I had a little airway trouble during the last operation (a little airway trouble=I was unable to breathe), so I had to be intubated, a tube was put down my throat to make sure I didn’t suffocate.

More not fun. Although I suppose suffocating isn’t so spiffy either.

Can you tell yet that I don't want to do this?

I am trying to focus on the possibility that following this operation, I could be without pain for the first time in 20 months. Focusing on the fact that I love and trust Dr. Wonderful. Focusing on how truly kind and professional the staff is at the surgery center. Focusing on how it could be worse and there could be no options for me at all, that shoulder replacement is a miracle of modern medicine. Focusing on...

Wait!!!! Who am I kidding?!?! I’m a neurotic Drama Queen with major modesty and control issues. THAT’S ALL I CAN FOCUS ON!!! AAAAGGGHHH!!!

My bare breasts will be drooping from here to Kalamazoo and I won’t be able to do anything about it! I won’t be in charge! I won’t be calling the shots! I won’t even be freaking awake!

I have no tidy way to end this little rant. I am praying not so much that the surgery goes well, although that would be awfully nice. More than anything when I get there tomorrow morning at six a.m., I don’t want to make a complete fool of myself and totally lose it or something. Cause that’s how I’m feeling. You know, sort of like John Lithgow on the plane in The Twilight Zone.

Not to be John Lithgow. That would be my prayer.

For e-mail readers (c’mon, watch it, it’s funny!):



Pricilla said...

I guess I am the total opposite of you. After being in the hospital for my first surgery so many people saw me naked I lost all modesty around medical professionals. They really don't care. For my second surgery (both brain) I was so relaxed when they took my pre-op blood pressure it was so low they thought I had been drugged already.

Don't take this the wrong way but they really won't care about your boobs and you will be unconscious so you won't care either. Unconscious is good when it comes to surgery. If you trust your doctor all you can do is put yourself in his hands.

Now tell me I have to have another angiogram and then see how I react...brain surgery fine, angiogram and I have to be drugged to the hilt.

Pricilla said...

Oh, forgive me. Good luck tomorrow. I am sending positive thoughts and goat hugs.

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, my goodness. Isn't it amazing how something as seemingly mundane as tripping over some lights can change your life in one second? I'm so sorry you've had to deal with so much pain and anxiety. I KNOW everything will be fine, boobs or no boobs. I will still wish you the best of luck for a good result and no "John Lithgow-like" attacks.

CW said...

Good luck tomorrow.

Marie said...

Pricilla, don't get me wrong, I adore drugs. But I am such a control freak from other things in my life that have left me feeling out of control that this is simply freaking me out.

I know they don't care, It's just the idea of it. But I'll get over it. I always do deal. Thank you for your good thoughts and, my favorite, goat hugs!!

JD, thanks so much for stopping by and for your good wishes. If I had nice perky boobs like you that I didn't mind showing off, like you, lol, there would be no issue here. But I look like Carol Burnett when she would put the tennis balls in the socks dangling down to represent old lady boobs.

I haven't tried, but I just might be able to wrap them around my neck like a scarf.


I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow. All this love and encouragement is irresistible!

CW, thanks for stopping by and thank you for your good wishes.

Have Myelin? said...

Well...I am kinda obsessive about my privacy too so I get what you are saying.

If men had their "stuff" exposed like ours, don't you think it would be covered? I think so....HA!

Good luck! And tell the OR Nurse you want them covered! :p

Marie said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by, it's nice to see you.

Well, I made it through without doing a John Lithgow although I do suspect there was more of me exposed than I would have liked.


At any rate, it's over, I made it and I get to see Dr. W. again on Tuesday. Yippee! :)

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