July 19, 2000
Nipples and Nausea


The plastic surgeon had just gotten to the part about my nipples and my aerola remaining attached to the underlying tissue, as they are surgically moved to a more elevated position on the breast ("Sort of like a button being moved to a higher buttonhole," he explained happily, clicking to the next PowerPoint slide) ...

... when The Other 50% of the Population passed out.

Or almost passed out, anyway.

"I hate to interrupt," David said, in a weak-as-a-kitten voice, "but I think I need to lay down for a minute." 

I looked at him in surprise. His face was the color of uncooked gnocchi, and his forehead and upper lip were glistening with sweat. He looked like he was about to vomit ... or burst into tears. Either way, large amounts of Kleenex were going to be involved.

"I didn't have lunch today," he said apologetically.

Dr. Togba was completely unflustered. "This happens every once in a while," he reassured us. "It's a 'guy thing.' " And we helped David lay down on the floor of the office, and the doctor brought him a pillow and had him raise his knees and breathe very slowly, and suggested that he just lay quietly for a few minutes.

And then we continued with the reduction mammaplasty presentation.

David contributed an occasional question or comment from his spot on the floor. ("We should probably mention that Terri is a recovering alcoholic.")  But he didn't look at any more slides of incisional techniques and drainage tubes.

And when it came down for me to go down the hall for my *photo shoot* ... he opted to remain in the waiting room, reading "Sunset" Magazine and holding my purse.

David is the strongest person I know. Usually.

I'm not talking about mere physical strength here. (Although the memory of him hoisting a bookcase into the U-Haul truck last Saturday -- one-handed -- still makes me a little weak in the knees.) I mean that he has a very strong psychic constitution ... a moral/emotional center of tungsten and plexiglass that allows him to remain firm AND flexible, and to act rationally rather than react emotionally, and to really *be there* for the people he loves in virtually any situation.

But when it comes to surgery ... he's a great big wuss.

I'm serious. The idea of scalpels and blood and sutures turns this big strong man into six feet of squirming, quivering *nausea molecules.* He can't even watch "ER" with me without turning a whiter shade of bile. So it should have come as absolutely no surprise to me at all, yesterday, that he would keel over at the sight of open surgical wounds and bare breasts with stitches running across them like little bloody railroad tracks.

He was properly apologetic afterwards, of course. "You have my permission to make me look like an idiot on the website," he said. I think he was afraid he'd let me down somehow. He knew how much yesterday's appointment meant to me. He knew how nervous I was about the whole thing. I think he figured that even though he's there for me 99.9% of the time ... crapping out for even .1% is inexcusable.

But you know what? It's really and truly OK. It's not like he's going to be required to stand at my side and hold my hand during the surgery. He's not going to be required to look at the "before" and "after" photos. (YOU are. But he isn't. He's got the real deal, anyway, up close and personal.)

And you'd better believe he's not gonna be required to help empty the drainage tubes. 

All that David is "required" to do, right now, is to help me process the buttload of medical/financial information we received from Dr. Togba yesterday ... and to then stand around looking cutely extraneous and supportive and stuff while I decide whether or not this is something I want to proceed with.

I suspect that it is. I just want to make absolutely sure.

And of course he's "required" to love me forever. Even when I'm covered in lumpy bandages and oozing all sorts of disgusting *fluids* and SCREAMING in AGONY every time I lift my arm to brush my hair.

None of this stuff is going to happen right away. We're talking a couple of months at least ... and more likely four to six months. A year, at the most. I don't want to wait any longer than a year, though.  (Actually, it'll be a little longer than that.)

Truth is, I would have the surgery TOMORROW if net? i don't need no stinkin' net I could, of course. *Instant Gratification Secra* is always ready to leap, regardless of whether or not the net is ready.

But I can't. Even though this is something I've been thinking about/talking about/dreaming about for fifteen years, I'm not going to rush into it now, regardless of how "ready" I might want to think I am. Aside from wanting to take a little more time to research and think about the surgery, before that scalpel comes anywhere near my ... ummm ...


... there are lots of other things to consider.

Like finances. And insurance. And losing some weight/getting into slightly better shape before the operation. And replacing all of my underwear. And warning the Tots not to read *FootNotes* for the next little while. And getting approved for three weeks off from work.

And getting married maybe.


The subject of marriage came up as we were getting ready for work this morning.

"It would be helpful for me if I had some sort of timeframe," I told David. The last time I said this to somebody, he turned around and took his wife to France. So this was a real leap of faith for me.

Mind you: I'm not in a giant hurry to get married. And I'm not pushing the issue.



I mean it.


I know he's eventually going to pick up on the 43,897,621 incredibly subtle hints I've tossed in his direction lately. Mostly I just want to know what I should be saving my money for, right now: surgery ... or a honeymoon. Or both.

"Well," he said slowly, "the 'timeframe' is that you and I are going to get married and live a long long time and be incredibly happy."


"Is this my proposal?" I asked. (God. I HOPE not. I'm standing here in purple pajamas and hair rollers, forcryingoutloud.)

He said no, no, this wasn't the official proposal. The official proposal is going to come when I least expect it ... preferably involving moonlight and music and the sound of one knee popping. This was merely the two of us, putting the subject "on the table" for the first time.

"We have a lot of things we need to talk about first, and a LOT of decisions to make," he said.

Really. Such as?

He listed some of the issues. For instance, where would we get married -- TicTac or California? Or someplace in between? Indoors or outdoors? Spring or fall? What kind of wedding do we want? Civil ceremony or Royal Wedding? Who would need to be there? Who would WANT to be there? Who would we NOT want to be there? How much would we want to spend? How much should we plan to save? How much time would we each need to take off from work? What about a reception? Would we want to go on a honeymoon immediately afterwards? Where? And for how long? Would I mind spending a little time with his parents? Just to let them get to know me better first?

Where could we rent a webcam?

Suddenly I felt faint. "I hate to interrupt," I said, in a weak-as-a-kitten voice. " I think I need to lay down for a minute."

two years ago

throw a rock