I got a call from the doctor’s office today. They wanted to know if I was available to come in for breast reduction surgery tomorrow.
I was all, “uh. Like. The day after today?”
And they were all, “yis”.
And I was all, “I, um. I don’t think so, no.”
And they were all, “mkay, we ilso hif an opening nixt Widnisdiy…”
And I was all, “do you have anything available after October? I have to figure out what’s going on with my kids and my work and sports and all the other things I’m committed to for the next two months. Initially we talked about this happening in July or August.”
And they were all, “immmm lit mi siiiiiiii” (I don’t know why all of the receptionists I ever speak to sound like the only vowel they know is “i”).
So I stared at my calendar, freaking out because even though my boobs are more or less unmanageable (I can’t do yoga properly; I can’t run or do jumpy-things; I can’t lie flat on my stomach; I can’t find clothes that fit; I can’t fucking see my feet) they’re MY boobs, damnit, and I grew them myself and maybe if I just worked harder and spent two hours a day at the gym instead of one and if I went on a liquid diet I could lose the weight and surely to Christ some of that would be breast tissue, even though for the past ten years I have been trying to lose weight and even if my weight goes down 10 pounds and I lose a few inches around my waist I’m still so far down in the alphabet with my brassiere size I’m in the jumble of letters everyone mashes together and do you realize how much a brassiere costs when you’re in the emminennos? I’m in the emminennos, and it costs me about $200 for a brassiere that fits properly.
Except that time I found a brassiere on sale on the internet for $20. I couldn’t believe it. That’ll never happen again. I buy about one brassiere a year, and hope I don’t bust out of my stays (which happens about every other year) or pop a strap or catch a clasp until the next time I can afford new containment garments. Let’s don’t even get in to the shirts and dresses I can’t wear. My ribcage is about 36″ around. My bust is over 50. They’re impressive, sure, but really, how much do I NEED?
And yeah, I’m in constant pain. My neck, my shoulders, my back. My hips are off-kilter now because I make so many adjustments in my posture to deal with Helios and Luna. I’ve been living in pain for ….well. Since I was a B cup at age 12. LOGICALLY I know that this is a Good Thing. But emotionally, I’m looking at the calendar and all I can think of is penicillin-resistant infections and norwalk virus and necrotising fasciitis and nipple necrosis (yeah, that’s a thing; don’t Google it) and why the hell do all of these things start with ‘n’? It’s like the universe is trying to force me into the emminennos and I’m resisting, kicking and screaming because nobody wants to be there. Nobody.
So I’m staring at my calendar and the receptionist gives me a date in mid-November and I mark it on my calendar and ask how to get ahold of them if something comes up and I have to reschedule and she does that little tongue-click thing that means “oh, you’re so DUMB” and she says “yeah so there is no rescheduling; if you can’t make this surgery, you’re off the wait list, and I can’t book it any further in advance”. I’m thinking I’ve been on the waiting list since April, but you can’t book a surgery more than eight weeks in advance? How exactly, the fuck does that work? But the words that come out of my mouth are more like:
“I see. So I’d have to go back for an assessment and get on a NEW waiting list?”
She said, “mmmmyiiiss”.
I was about to confirm the date when she comes out with “and jist so you know, when we have that appointment you have to confirm that you’re ready, willing, and able to go through with the surgery so that you don’t just go and try to reschedule it again. Ready, willing, and able.”
You know that little thing that happens when someone pisses you off? It’s like there’s a little metallic ‘ting’ that goes off in your inner ear and your head cocks to the side and you’re all, “bitch, please”. I did NOT immediately say “bitch, please”, but what I DID say, very politely, was “Oh, sister, I *am* ready, willing, and able to have this surgery. I was ready, willing, and able to have this surgery in June, July, and August, which is what I told your office in March. It’s not that I’m not ready, willing, and able, it’s that I have two children whose schedules I have to work out with my husband, considering the recovery time and the things I won’t be able to do, and my work schedule, and who’s going to be able to stay with me, as you said I would require a stayer-wither for a day or so. Chances are good that’ll be my husband, but he works, so we have to match our schedules up. It’s not a question of ready, willing, and able. It’s a question of making this time work.”
And she was all, “so we have some openings in October” (I’d already told her October wouldn’t work).
And in my head, all I can think of is “we WORK. We both WORK. We don’t have the luxury of paying higher taxes because we earn more than $140,000 a year; I don’t have the luxury of being able to raise my kids at home every day, and it’s not like His Nibs can just call up his boss and say “hey boss, my wife just had a titectomy and I’m in mourning and she’s all laid up with, like, disgusting gauze all over her seeping paps, so I’m just not going to come in for a couple days, you fly?”.
…although now I kind of want him to do that…
So I closed my eyes and said, “I think I’m going to go with the November date”.
She said something about confirming the surgery and calling CSIS and labelling me a terrorist if I didn’t make the appointment and which hospital and when I’d be fasting and speaking of fast. This is all happening really fast and I’m freaking out. Never mind that the receptionist who’s booking it has the empathy of a piece of deli meat. I mean, the least she could have done was acknowledge that a) I’m trying to schedule a major surgical procedure into my life (which I was expecting to schedule in July or August); b) I’m a little freaked out when you call me up and say ‘hey, can you come in tomorrow so we can lop off your dirty pillows?’; c) NIPPLE NECROSIS. Actually, the least she could have done would have been to say please OR thank you but that’s just asking too damned much.
The bottom line here is that my reduction surgery is scheduled. And I’m doing a little bit of hand-wringing all up in here. I know at LEAST a half-dozen women who’ve had this procedure done, and they’re all brilliant and just fine and amazing and they came through it with both nipples intact (near as I can tell; I’ve only seen one set of those nipples), but none of them has kids, and it’s not like their experiences are INVALID, but what I’m really worried about is getting all the stuff done I need to get done and maybe I’m just making excuses because I’m wigging out. That’s probably what I’m doing. I’m sure juggling your school or career while wrapped up and not able to lift your arms is as challenging as trying to get your kids to their sports and lessons. Even if one of your kids *will* have his driver’s permit by then.
So there it is. Here they are. Soon to be smaller. (I don’t know how much smaller – one of the reasons I’m a little nervous is because the doctor hasn’t even talked to me about that and apparently won’t until the day I go in. I was hoping we could talk about size and shape. And as my friend Malcolm pointed out, it would be really cool to have tentacles for boobs, so maybe we could make that happen. I’ll remember to bring this up while they’re prepping me for surgery. A drawing might help…)