I readily admit, I was a little stressed during the two days preceding my surgery last week.
My mind was racing. I had very little notice regarding the timing of the surgery. I had a lot to do and a short amount of time to get it done. When I wasn't thinking about my "to do" list, I tried to ease my surgery anxiety by visualizing what the experience would be like. I've been through so many surgeries since the car accident, I began going through a mental checklist of what things would be similar or dissimilar about this particular experience.
Two nights before my surgery, it occurred to me – putting electrodes on both the front and back of my shoulder and arm would mean being completely uncovered for Dr. Painless.
"I won't have a hospital gown covering my upper body," I realized suddenly.
This realization came to me as a bit of a shock and I felt my cheeks flush in embarrassment.
I'm not shy about my body and I've had my share of accidental flashing incidents over the years, but this …
This felt different.
I see Dr. Painless on a regular basis. He wears designer suits and fancy ties. He's a big shot, world-famous, doctor. Somehow, his "normal" day-to-day formality made the thought of being topless in front of him even more awkward.
I began airing my anxiety-ridden thoughts to Twitter.
I asked my friends on Twitter if they thought heterosexual male doctors "peeked" at women's nipples given the opportunity to do so during surgery. I mused that maybe I should draw a smiley face around my right nipple to find out. (My right arm/shoulder being the one to be operated on.) If the doc began laughing, or commented, I'd know his eyes had wandered off track.
Then I re-framed my thought and asked Twitter if there were any male surgeons following me, and if so, would they be willing to answer honestly whether or not they "check out" the breasts of their female patients during surgery.
It didn't take long until I got a direct (private) message from a male surgeon in the midwest. Now, I happen to "know" this particular person and I know he is, in fact, a doctor. What I'm saying is, for reasons I won't go into right now, I know this is a person I can trust to be honest with me.
Yes. If the opportunity is available, doctors "take a peek."
First of all, I really appreciated this particular person trusting me enough to be honest with me.
Second, I was shocked by his answer although I don't really know why.
"Looking" is human nature, isn't it? My Twitter friend wasn't saying doctors "do" anything inappropriate, he just acknowledged if a heterosexual male doctor has a female's breast right in front of him – he's probably going to take a "peek" at it.
I decided I should, in fact, draw a smiley face on my nipple to test out my theory.
Twitter egged me on, of course. I even had people offering to pay me money simply to draw a face on my right areola/nipple area. I had visions of a perfect smiley face on my nipple and hearing Dr. Painless burst out laughing mid-surgery.
"Busted for looking!" I imagined myself saying.
I began pondering the merits of the smiley face. Should it be looking up at the doctor as he worked on my shoulder? Or should it be facing straight ahead?
Of course, at some point I realized I'd be sedated and miss the surprised look on Dr. Painless's face when he saw my nipple smiling at him. I convinced myself I'd "know" if he'd seen it when I woke up even if I'd been asleep through the entire smiling-nipple encounter.
Are you amazed at the inner workings of my brain yet?
I think, perhaps, I was cracking under pre-surgery stress.
The night before my surgery, the topic came up again on Twitter. People asked me, "Are you going to do it?"
It was then I realized the only markers I had in the house were "permanent, archival quality" markers. If I drew a smiley face on my nipple, it wouldn't be coming off any time soon. I might die fifty years from now with a permanent, archival quality, smiley face still on my nipple.
The idea concerned me greatly.
I tweeted my concern, and the dismal lack of "washable" markers in my house.
Twitter friends began giving me other Nipple Decorating Ideas which included suggestions such as glitter, sparkles, rhinestones and little plastic winking eyes.
OK, so maybe the little plastic winking eyes were MY idea.
I thought it would be hilarious to have plastic winking eyes on my smiling nipple watching Dr. Painless perform surgery.
It was right about then, when I sent out the following tweet:
If I'm not going to have a shirt on at all I really should make matching nipple decorations. Otherwise it would just look weird.
(Because matching smiling/decorated nipples are altogether more normal than just having ONE smiling nipple, right?)
I'd like to clarify …
I was not on pain meds when any of this was taking place.
In the end, simply due to a lack of crafting supplies, I did not decorate my nipple or nipples.
I was disappointed, of course, but I knew if the "trial" of the neurostimulator went well, I'd have another opportunity for surgery-nipple-decorating very soon.
As it turns out, there was an unexpectedly large crowd of people in the operating room with me the next day. I was glad I hadn't decorated my nipple(s) because if I had – at least 10 people, in addition to Dr. Painless, would have been privvy to my decorating skills.
"Whew! I'm glad I didn't make a smiling nipple after all," I thought as the initial pre-surgery drugs began to kick in.
The room began to swirl and whirl. I felt punchy and lightheaded.
And that's right when it happened …
I looked up at Dr. Painless and smiled through my giddy, drugged up, haze.
Then I blurted out, "I was going to surprise you with a smiling nipple today but I didn't have the right kind of markers."
His eyebrows raised questioningly, and then …
Everything went dark.
© Twenty Four At Heart