Thursday, January 03, 2008

Schmaltz in My Shoulder

When I had my tonsils removed twenty-something years ago, the first thing the surgeon said to me when I awoke was, "It's a good thing they came out. They were filled with pus."

I croaked back, "Can I see them?" I wanted to get a good look at the nasty things that had caused me so much pain and suffering--6 bouts of tonsillitis and 2 of strep just in the preceeding year.

"No," he replied. "They've already been sent to pathology." Damn!

So with that incident in mind, as I was getting prepped for surgery yesterday, I asked if I could see the tumor that was going to be removed. No, but the O.R. nurse said she'd take a picture of it with her cellphone and send it to Darling Husband's phone, who would then email it to me. Ah, the wonders of modern technology!

The surgeon told me that a lipoma typically looks like a lump of chicken fat. After surgery, she told me that's what mine looked like, and made a circle with her fingers to indicate how large it was. I'd been describing it as egg-sized, but DH said it looked more like a ball: a Spaldeen (NYC pronunciation of "Spalding"). They're both right:

My lipoma, like it or lump it.

Incidentally, for once surgery went better than I expected. Already I can use both hands, though I can't raise my right arm very high, or pull or carry much with it. Whenever I was examined before the surgery, I said that I couldn't feel the lipoma, big as it was. But now that it's out, though the incision is sore as hell, my shoulder feels much lighter and looser, like something's gone that was in the way. Hooray!

Surreal moment: While on a morphine drip in the hospital this morning, telling my mother in Maine (who had her left knee replaced last month & is having the right one done on the 9th) that my stepfather (who had a heart attack after Thanksgiving and was back in the E.R. on Christmas with atrial fibrillation, and also has angina) may not so much as look at a snow shovel. They've had 18" of snow in the past few days, and he was "just" going to shovel off some of their gazillion steps--in 10F weather. She "promised" that she'd call someone for help. Then I immediately called their neighbor with a 4x4 SUV for backup. OY. (Parents...can't live with 'em, can't shoot em.)


Kim Stagliano said...

Oh, Bella! That's some medical spending for your family. Best to all.

My Dad is 85, lives in Massachusetts and insists on shoveling, moving the wet, slushy snow. It's that Yankee spirit. Which will likely make my Dad a spirit soon. As in ghost. Ah well, he'll go feeling useful and that such a big part of aging I think.

Recover quickly.



Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Bella, I hope this means that you'll soon be moving that arm around like a major-league pitcher on a hot streak.

And I'll be needing to borrow your line in modified form: In-laws ... can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.

Bella Stander said...

Thanks for the kind wishes, everyone!

Kim: My stepfather is a native New Yorker, not a Mainer. I think it's denial, not the Yankee spirit, that has him shoveling snow--meanwhile saying that he shouldn't be out in the cold, and that his cardiologist told him not to carry or push anything heavy. Then he tells me not to nag when I parrot his words back to him. ARGH!

Katharine: No pitching here, even when the wound heals, as my shoulder, arm and hand are still messed up from the 2006 fracture and surgeries.

Eileen said...

Like it or lump it. Snort. Made me spew diet coke I laughed so hard.

Carleen Brice said...

I can't believe how fast your recovery is. Excellent news. Hopefully, now no more surgeries!

Mr. Obie Joe said...

Before the book industry and journalism claimed me, I wanted to be in medicine. So I am much fascinated by the sight of the lipoma. It looks like a lovely, sunset-hued marble turned way evil. I am so glad you have parted ways with it!

And congrats for the already increased mobility; that is a wonderful, wonderful progress.

Do they know what is next?

Sustenance Scout said...

Terrific news, Bella! So glad you're feeling better than expected at this point. As for stubborn parents, mine are in their 70s in upstate NY and still shovel. Oy vey! K.

p.s. Eileen's comment cracked me up!

Bella Stander said...

What's next is to get over this vile upper respiratory infection, which has been hanging on for weeks, and wicked sore throat. My shoulder feels fairly OK, but the rest of me feels like bloody hell.

Christine Fletcher said...

Cool pic, Bella!

Best wishes for speedy recoveries from surgery and the URI. May 2008 be both happy and healthy for you and yours!

Sam said...

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!!!

Lisa said...

I'm glad to hear this surgery was successful. I wish you much improved health in 2008!

Patry Francis said...

Here's to surgeries that go BETTER THAN EXPECTED! Hope you'll be in New York again next summer...We have a lot to catch up with over dinner! xo