Sunday, June 30, 2013



A poem by Linda M Wheeler

"You need to put on sunscreen", my mother would say, "before you go out to play"!
She rubbed it on our backs, shoulders, necks.  Her hands felt good, the white balm offering a thin veil of protection.
While other girls smoothed baby oil in a gossamer coat onto their thin, white bodies, baking in the sun.  Turning red and then brown, but we wore sunscreen.
Did my mother realize even back then, that the sun could harm us?  She spent her precious pennies to protect our fair and delicate bodies, not just for a day, but for a lifetime.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Off with her boob! Warning, photo of surgical area below.

I got my other breast removed on Thursday.  I guess the procedure took a couple hours.  I don't remember, I was asleep!  I woke up with a sore throat and that was about it!  My Dad brought me down and stayed until I was in my room.  That was really sweet of him because he really isn't much of a hospital guy.  I can't say I was too impressed with the VA for care.  Some parts were impressive and some parts were just sub standard.  When I first got into my room, my nurse and aide came in and made sure I was comfortable.  I was feeling no pain at that point.  Being silly from the anesthesia and making corny jokes.  That is just me anyhow.  A volunteer came in with a care package and a quilt.  I guess all new patients get it.  The care package had toiletries in it.  The bed was pretty fancy.  It was an air bed that moved air up and down the mattress.  After a while however, it was pretty annoying because my body was constantly shifting up and down.  The bed bottoms out too and that was not comfortable at all.  They said those beds cost $17,000 each!  The food was good but there was no choice, you ate what you got.  The coffee was not very good and they kept giving me milk even though I said I was lactose intolerant.  I only got one sugar with each meal tray except breakfast and I got two.  I had very little pain during my stay.  I didn't need much pain meds at all.  The bed was very difficult to get out of also.  Around 2 AM I was pressing the nurse call button on the bed and it started to occur to me that each time I had pressed it before, nothing happened.  I realized it probably didn't work and looked for the call bell on a cord.  It was way up hanging on the wall.  When the nurse finally came in I told her that I have been without a call bell for about 12 hours or more and I was not happy about that.  I had to get up a couple times to find a nurse.  I told her that I worked in health care for 18 years and the last thing a nurse or aide does before leaving a room is making sure the patient has their call bell!  She agreed and apologized.  I haven't decided yet whether I am going to write to the VA about it, I don't want anyone to be written up.  I just want them to use basic nursing care! 
My favorite part of the stay however was seeing one of the men from Nutritional Services in the hall.  All the people from there I saw were older black men, which is kind of unusual to me.  I told him that I was impressed with all the good looking young men from his department.  He smiled so big and was so happy with the compliment he hugged me!  He brought me my breakfast tray and was telling me I had just made his day!  I talked to him a little and found out he has worked there since he graduated from high school, 24 years ago!  I found that pretty impressive.  I wish I had remembered his name, I would like to tell his supervisor that he is doing a good job.
My Doctor came around 8 AM and said I could go home and her staff was supposed to write up my discharge papers.  Turns out they went to the OR instead and I didn't leave until about 10 AM. 
I feel pretty good, but I am sore all over, like I got beat up or something.  Makes you wonder what they do to you while you are on the operating table!
Anyhow, my stay was mostly good.  I'm happy to have this over and done.  My chest looks terrible and I am very flat!  I guess that is what I expected however.  She said the irregularities will smooth out over time.   Here is a picture.. don't say I didn't warn you!