July 28, 2006

Originally posted on the Breast Health Online forum

Well, there definitely WAS hyperventilation involved in Wednesday's pre-op. But this time it wasn't David.

By the time the nice lab technician was sliding that long, LOOOONG needle into the crook of my arm -- sometime around noon -- I'd gone a full eight hours without food. (Oneleisurely cup of coffee was all the "breakfast" my nervous stomach would allow me.) As I watched the second vial fill with blood, I suddenly felt a wave of dizziness wash over me.

"Are you OK?" asked the technician. "Your face just got all white."

"I think I may ... " I murmured. And then I *twinkled out* for a few seconds.

When I came to, she had me lay my head down on the armrest while she went to get me a cup of cold water, which I gulped down in two swallows. After a minute or two I felt a little better: steady enough, at least, to wobble out to the waiting room, where David was reading a two year old issue of Sunset Magazine.

"I need a cheeseburger," I announced.

"You've got it," he said. And he took my arm and helped me out the door.

David was amazing on Wednesday.
There was a brief moment, after we parked the car and were walking toward the surgeon's office, when he grew uncharacteristically pensive. I asked him (for the 43,897,621st time) if he was OK with all of this, and he said what he always says: that he loves me, that he supports any decision I make about my own body, that any concerns he may have are purely medical in nature.  

"I would be worried if ANYONE I love was having major surgery," he said, and I believed him (mostly), and reached over and took his hand as we entered the building.

He was charming with the surgical nurse -- he actually TOOK ONE OF THE DRAINAGE TUBES IN HIS HAND and asked her about negative vs. positive suction -- and he was calm and pleasant with Dr. Togba, shaking his hand and making quick polite small talk about weather and traffic.  I did most of the talking during the pre-op: I had my list of questions to go through, and then more questions in response to the answers to my questions, and then more responses to the responses to the answers to the questions ... but occasionally I would turn to David, sitting in his corner of the examination room, and ask for his thoughts. He was never anything less than completely supportive.

All the important questions were answered. Dr. Togba said one week off from work is mandatory, then it's up to me ... the surgery will take three hours, more or less ... there is nothing in his opinion that can reduce scarring except time ("If you want to spend money on lotions and supplements, that's up to you," he said: it was clear he felt we were talking snake oil) ... I can shower as soon as the drains are out, on the Monday following my Friday morning surgery ... we can resume bike-riding in three weeks ... carrying the laptop bag is fine ... buy some cheap sports bras now, he said, then buy nice new bras later. 

Through it all, David listened, nodded, asked a couple of questions of his own ("How fast do the drains fill up? Will I need to wake her up in the middle of the night to empty them?") and generally made me feel VERY supported and partnered. I was proud to have him by my side. I'm ALWAYS proud to have him by my side, but especially so during times like this when I need him the most.

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