Surgery – Flying High

by Heather


I’m nearly seven days out of surgery now. Finally not dropping over with sleepiness, and somewhat over not NOT wanting to share, just NOT being able to muster the concentration to sit down & write for awhile and make things make sense. Sense and Good Writing are not guaranteed, but a much better job will be done today, than at anytime previous since the surgery.

We arrived at Not-So-Local Hospital last Friday, the 20th of July, in plenty of time, in rush-hour traffic, with plans for Ms A to get Buba (BOO-bah) off the school bus for us.

Completely by coincidence, arriving in the surgical waiting area shortly after we did, a man whom I instantly pegged as a doctor, though he wasn’t dressed as one, and whom I thought I recognized, walked in with his wife. I talked to David about it, and told him, after thinking for awhile, that it was the doctor who took care of Buba while he was at the NICU at Not-So-Local Children’s Hospital right after he was born. David remembered his last name. I did not. It wasn’t confirmed until a nurse came into the waiting area, and called him by his first name that David & I looked at each other and nodded our confirmation to each other – it was an unusual enough first name, that there was VERY little chance of it being someone else. He was apparently there as a patient for a very short procedure, as I saw him walk out very shortly after I got into my own hospital bed with a view of the hall, and never got a chance to say ‘hi’.

Nurse Vicky helped me prep for surgery, got me into the hospital bed an under the inflated warm-air blanket and walked me through what was going to happen pre-operatively, anyway.

David was able to join me in pre-op shortly after I had my I.V. put into the top of my hand.

It was quite awhile beyond when I was told surgery was going to start, when my Surgeon came out of his previous procedure, to go over what would happen from there on out. He introduced me to the surgical nurse “Cleo”, it actually said “Cleopatra” on her I.D. badge! Then to the anesthesiologist, who is also a nuclear physicist! I had all kinda specially skilled and named people taking care of me.

I was wheeled into the Operating Room about 1.25 hours after I was told it would start, but everything was o.k. This is the first time (after a few other minor procedures) that I remember being awake in the O.R. While in the O.R. I transferred to the operating table, then had inflatable leg-pumping sleeves put on, then was introduced to at least one other guy, but can’t remember his name, nor what his job in there was. My glasses had been taken off before we left my pre-op room, so I wasn’t seeing much very clearly with my highly-astigmatic eyes. What I could see was my Surgeon, standing over me on my left. It seems like he’s always smiling, and his voice and eyes smile, as does his full gray mustache, but that was behind his surgical mask. I remember joking with the anesthesiologist about cocktails, getting a last glance at the clock and being able to tell that it was 11:30 a.m. on the dot and seeing my Surgeon’s smiling eyes.

Then I was waking up.

But… that… was… slow… going…

I was SO sleepy, and the breathing tube they had given me in surgery had made my mouth & throat so dry that it was hard to concentrate long enough to make my mouth form words and get enough air over the vocal cords to make the words audible. Often I just went back to sleep instead.


At shortly before 6 p.m. I felt like I needed to get up & use the restroom. I was able to get up with help, walk slightly wobbly (or wibbly wobbly for the Whovians out there), and not hurl. So, I was ready to be released.

I still had a lot of the anesthesiologist’s “cocktail” going through my system. It made everything funny – myself most of all. I think I’d make a funny drunk if I chose to imbibe. For example, I received a prescription for Vicodin upon release from the hospital, and this is all I could make it be in my mind: Viking Din

This is NOT the Fat Lady Singing


I had no stitches, drains nor bandages over either of my 2 incision sights, just ice packs over surgical glue. On Saturday, I was still feeling the effects of the great drugs I got in the hospital, and we went to the warehouse store & out to dinner.

On Sunday, apparently the effects had worn off, and I have been sleepier than usual since. I had the boob on ice nearly constantly until Tuesday. Since then, mostly just on & off on the sentinel lymph node excision site under my armpit – it gets a lot more chafing there than under the boob where my main incision is.

After nearly 8 hours of a saline drip I.V., I had a bad case of the post-op puffies that lasted for several days, and finally put my wedding rings back on Monday or Tuesday, but took them off at night for another couple of nights, just in case.

The official name for my procedure was “Partial Mastectomy with (some sort of specific kind of) Reconstruction and Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy”

Below the fold are photos of my incisions, if you care to look.

Sentinel Lymph Node Excision Site

The redness below the incision is from the ice packs.

A Closer Look

Forgive the shoddy shave.  The wrinkly stuff you see is surgical glue spill-over.

Mass Removal Site – From bottom of areola to the chest wall.

That blue dye, used to make objects to be removed more visible, got everywhere.  The red line is the only seepage I had out of all that length of incision.