Life in the Time of Corona #20

July 14, 2020: Day 127 of our Wonderland experiment in delusional group-think that the enemy in our blood streams will simply fade away.

Things That Aren’t Supposed To Happen After You Turn 65:

1. Appendicitis

2. Who the heck needs a 2 when the 1 just happened? That’s right, after all these years with the useless appendage just dangling harmlessly in my abdominal cavity, it decides it’s had enough and wants out. And for a moment there I thought it might bust out of my gut like that nasty creature in Alien. I will say for posterity’s sake, the whole process really sucks. Even now, after proper surgical removal, it feels like I was shot in the stomach and sepsis is swishing around like a dishwasher (um, yes, that is a major exaggeration, but you get the point). And no activity for at least a couple weeks (not that any activity is even possible right now). If we want to look for something positive here, I will say that the staff at Tobey Hospital in Wareham were great. But positivity is not something I have in good supply right now.

On The Other Hand: So while all this is happening, Barb goes into Faulkner Hospital for MOHS surgery on her nose, which is basically a refined process to remove cancerous layers from delicate areas and make it look like nothing happened. However, to get to the “nothing happened” stage requires other stages where it looks like a lot of stuff happened.

This Is What Happens When Your Plastic Surgeon Is A Comedian

Speaking Of Bad Ass Barbara: Most of you are familiar with Barb’s well documented experiences with Metastatic Breast Cancer. But I’ll bet you didn’t know about the Drain Interviews. Yep, you heard me right. Drain Interviews. It was the summer of 2005 and Barb and her oncologist, with the new knowledge that Barb’s sister Mary Lou had just died from Breast Cancer that had metastasized to her brain, decided it was time for a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. A major, major surgery that required two surgeons: a breast surgeon to remove the breasts; and a reconstruction surgeon who literally takes fat tissue from the stomach and reattaches it up the chest wall a few inches as new breasts. (Who knew you could do that?)

Seven hours laterSeven hours waiting in a little room with no windows, wondering what might go wrong (and contributing to my writing “Word of You” ). Turns out, her heart stopped in the middle of the procedure and she needed an injection of something to start her up again. And guess what? That’s not even the badass part of the story.

Nope, that happened a week later when Barb found out that a position of School Psychologist had just opened at Oliver Ames High School. She was still working for the Plymouth schools and wanted to be closer. It was her dream job. And they seemed to be excited to talk to her about it. Right now! Like, tomorrow.

Problem is, though, that Barb was a post-op mess. When you do all that cutting, chopping and general filet-ing to a human body, it kind of rebels against itself, with lots of pain, bruises and a huge build up of lymphatic fluid. And the only way to get rid of that fluid is to drain it. But of course the human body is not properly equipped with a convenient drainage system for this stuff, so somebody has to build one. Or, in Barb’s case, four. Four drains. One in each arm pit area where the breasts were removed, and one each at the end of a stomach-wide incision where they scooped up the fat. Four clear plastic tubes about six inches long connected to four plastic bulbs, looking a little like someone sewed a bunch of turkey basters onto a rag doll.

So what did my little sweetheart do? Well, you can’t take ‘em out, you can’t wish ‘em away, and you can’t reschedule the interview. So you gotta wrap yourself up and just do it. Which she did. Feeling like she could barely walk or talk, let alone go to an interview with the director of Special Education, she taped the drains to herself, covered her top with something tight to hold it in, then something baggy to hide the effect (none of them knew she just had surgery – who the heck is going to admit that before an interview?). And talked for an hour about how excited she was. Then she had to do it all over again the next day with the Principal. And the following day with the Superintendent. Three days in a row, wrapped up like a large purchase from a butcher shop, putting on a major league game face while still making small talk and setting them all at ease.

Oh, and yes, of course she got the job.

OB Update: Really, do we have to? Yes, because it’s impossible to do anything nowadays without the Orange Baby inserting himself in the picture (maybe he was Barb’s plastic surgeon). How is it possible for someone who is in charge of stuff to so consistently screw that stuff up, day after day after day and still pretend he’s flawless? And how is it possible that there are still millions (yes millions… many millions) of people who are not only okay with it, but actually think it’s great? I do believe that we all have a right to differing opinions, and I suppose I’m missing something about the importance of diverse thought, but how is it possible that we’ve gotten this far in America without a universal demand for his resignation?

Wonderland. Ain’t it grand?

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