Moved To Tears……(By HANGER!)

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, I must apologize if you are misled by the title of this post, “Moved To Tears”. It is not about angels, butterflies, or rainbows, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my adorable son Ben.   So if you are looking for one of my sappy tear-jerkers, you may be disappointed. What actually moved me to tears this time was a recent bad case of being hangry.

Hangry (pronounced Han-gree): A state of being so hungry that it provokes an intense emotional reaction, such as anger and/or weepiness.

I recently underwent a latissimus dorsi flap surgery, which is the beginning of my breast reconstruction process. Basically, a muscle was moved from my back to my chest, and an expander was inserted beneath the skin. I will have a saline solution injected into the expander every couple of weeks, until it reaches the desired size, Double D. Just kidding, but I do hope to go from a modest B cup, to a comfortable C. (Go big or go home, I say!) Hopefully, after several months, my skin will have expanded enough to accommodate the implant and I will have the exchange surgery, where the expander is removed and replaced by a more natural, permanent implant. At the same time, they will fix up my “pitty titty” to match the new one, perky one.

Pitty-titty (pronounced pit-ee tit-ee): A state of breast sagginess, usually achieved by middle age, wherein the bra-less breast slips into the armPIT (hence “pitty”) when one is in the supine position (lying on your back).

My surgery required a three day stay in the hospital, which had some perks (see my last post, Eavesdropping on the Ward Again). But let me assure you, hospital food was definitely NOT one of them. I made it very clear to the staff before I was admitted, that I am a lactose intolerant vegetarian. Is that really so difficult to understand? No meat and no dairy. Simple.  The day after my surgery, I was anxiously awaiting breakfast, after not having eaten for more than 24 hours, and here is what they brought to me.

IMG_4946

 

Hmmmmmmm… cow’s milk, fried ham, and fake scrambled eggs, which grosses me out at the best of times. (As far as I am concerned, unless you are an astronaut, nobody should ingest anything that has a shelf life of five to ten years.) There was literally nothing for me to eat or drink on that tray. Then, with hope in my eyes, I spied a foil envelope which I greedily unwrapped, only to find a lone slice of bare, naked bread which, judging by the sogginess of it, I estimate was toasted at least two days before being served.

Ok, no food, but there is always coffee! Anyone who knows me knows that it is nothing short of insanity to expect me to start my day without coffee. However, sadly, coffee was not an option on my first day post-surgery. Not even instant, and in my state of mind, I would have settled for that. I pushed aside my tray and tried to blink back my tears. Eventually I gave in. The hanger got the better of me and I was literally moved to tears. What could possibly make me feel better after that disappointment?

“Nurse, I’m having a lot of pain. Can you please bring me a shot of morphine?” I asked as I let the tears of disappointment flow freely.

Don’t be a hater. You would have done the same thing.

It was a long four hours of stomach knawing hanger till lunch time. I know my nurse must have been getting irritated with me. Every time she came to check my vitals, I would say, “You did tell the kitchen I am a vegetarian, right?”

“Ms. Strang, please try to remain calm. You are driving up your blood pressure”, she would respond sternly.

When the tray finally arrived at lunch time, my hanger was peaking and my eyes were wide with anticipation. What would it be? Pasta, with a tangy tomato sauce? A spicy stir fry of veggies with rice? A comforting bowl of veggie soup with crackers? Or maybe a satisfying chickpea wrap? Hey, in my post-surgery haze, there was not much for me to do except stare at the ceiling, eavesdrop on the other patients, and daydream about food. So, you can just imagine my disappointment when I uncovered my tray to find this:

IMG_4960

For a starter, a salad of iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber, followed by the main, a more robust salad of the same ingredients, plus a piece of green pepper, celery and some cauliflower. No dressing. I felt a tear slide down my cheek. But I wasn’t going to let them get to me. Oh no. With a stoic air, I munched on my veggies and sipped my water, curbing the hunger pangs between bites with a few handfuls of salt and vinegar chips. (Which by the way, is definitely not a part of my cancer prevention diet. But desperate times call for desperate measures.) As I blinked away the tears, I cheered myself with thoughts that my evening meal surely would be hot and satisfying.

Five gut-wretching hours later, supper was delivered. Apparently it was leftovers day!   Yes, once again, salad for a starter, salad for a main, followed by a fruit salad for dessert, which obviously came from a can.

IMG_4965

“I said I am a vegetarian, not a feckin’ rabbit”, I muttered under my breath.   Thankfully, the innocent server did not hear me, but that is the kind of thing hanger does to you, folks. It can turn you mean.

Luckily, my very thoughtful cousin, Lil, had visited in the afternoon and brought me a large thermos of delicious lentil and vegetable soup, with a satisfying chickpea wrap (loves her, I do!).   Otherwise, in my state of advanced hanger, I could not have been held accountable for my actions that day.

I ate my soup and wrap, ordered a shot of morphine and took out my coloring book and crayons. Hey, in case you haven’t heard, therapeutic coloring is all the rage now, and as I learned, it can be quite fun when buzzed on prescription narcotics!

As for the perks, let’s just say, be careful what you wish for. What middle aged woman wouldn’t want the boobs of a twenty year old? But if it takes a diagnosis of cancer to get them, you can give me back my pitty-titties any day!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Moved To Tears……(By HANGER!)

  1. Again so beautifully written and so tragic that in 2015 our NL health system cannot provide the needed nourishment to speed up recovery. Tell me what to deliver during your next hospital stay and it will arrive hot and tasty when you want it – promise.

  2. Hi Florence, I am reading your posts on your reconstruction surgery stay in the hospital and it has given me great onsite for my upcoming surgery on November 24th. I will be having the same surgery as you had as well as having my other breast remover and an expander placed there also. Just wondering how you are doing at this point post surgery? Thanks for the entertainment . Arlene Crane

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. It is sad that throughout the entire country the kitchens of our hospitals are more than sadly lacking.
    After my second mastectomy last year because I was tired of jogging and getting a black eye from my remaining potty titty, I too asked for vegetarian. Instead they brought me something that I could only describe as a run away from the cadaver tray. It was horrid and totally unidentifiable. I was in pain but couldn’t wait to get home and cook my own food.

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