Posts Tagged: surgery

Feb 11


I am forced quickly, in some ways, into recovery mode because Adam is back to work now so it is back to regularly scheduled duties for me. Fixed breakfast for Anna and I, cleaned up the kitchen, must do all the stuff that needs doing all day today. I’m afraid I’ve become spoiled these last two days of having Adam home all day, every day, doing the parenting and the cleaning, and the cooking, and the caring for me. There is a certain feeling of unbalance that occurs when it is like that, but, really, it is so blissful to just chill out and relax and know that everything is going to be taken care of.

I know that the Prednisone “eat everything in sight” thing has kicked in because yesterday I went to Lazy Acres after my acupuncture appointment to pick up some probiotics and I brought home a bag of chips. Chips! That is so very, very unlike me. Adam’s eyes goggled out of his head when he saw them. I gave him that look, the look that says, don’t you DARE say a word about these here potato chips. And don’t you DARE eat them because they are MINE ALL MINE, OH YES MY PREEEEEECIOUS.

Also, I woke up at 5 am (pain med wore off) and I thought, briefly, about getting out of bed and making a coffee cake. What? I didn’t do it. I only thought about it.

And….that is all.

Feb 11

Happy Valentine’s 2011

Adam and I are celebrating with dark chocolate, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Vicodin (just me), and bloody discharge from my nose post-sinus surgery (also just me). Good times.

Nov 10

One year ago today

One year ago, today, I had major abdominal surgery. One year ago today, I was put to sleep in the operating room, afraid for what the next days would bring. The next days did bring terrible things: a long hospital stay, a naso-gastric tube, no food or drink, pain, heartache, an extended hospital stay. The next days also brought good news: the tumor growing on my pancreas was nothing more than a nuisance growth. Benign. And they got it all. No cancer. I was not, nor am I now, dying of pancreatic cancer.

I can close this chapter, with nothing more than my haunting memories and a horrifically enormous abdominal scar (plus a couple of smaller ones, from all the drainage tubes post-surgery). C’mon, you know you want to see the scar. Huh? Huh? Don’tcha wanna see it?

One year post-pancreatic surgery: Altered, but alive and healthy

It’s not pretty. But it’s a damn sight better than living with the uncertainty of what the growth could be. It’s a damn sight better than taking a risk on dying. I live to tell the tale.

Mar 10

A picture’s worth

I can hear Adam and Anna in her bedroom, poring over photographs that they have spread all over Anna’s flowered  duvet cover. It is a sweet time, made doubly sweet because of the times that they are reminiscing over, pictures from the weeks when I was in the hospital this fall.

“Here I am with Grandma!” she exclaims, and “this is when I went to the park with Nana!” “Auntie Liz was there!” “I sit in the booth with Dada at the restaurant that time when Mama was in the hop-spital!”

She is so cheery about this time that was so hard for all of us, taking away, it seems, only the good: the fun with family and friends, the new toys purchased, the places visited, the food eaten. I went in to say goodnight and Anna spontaneously tells me “I missed you when you were in the hospital,” giving me a kiss, and I know, then (choking back tears), that though she remembers the good, the hard stuff isn’t gone. The hard stuff is there, it’s just been dealt with. It’s enough, for now, to remember the fun, acknowledge the bad, and move forward, onward and onward with our beautiful life here and now.

“I missed you, too,” I said.

Dec 09

Seven Weeks Post-Surgery

And that is what my incision looks like (note the leetle teensy tiny hole looking thing below my belly button, which is where the second drainage tube was; not pictured: the original drainage tube scar, which is kinda on the other side of my body, to the right of my belly button in the picture).

It’s healing well. I’m religiously applying Vitamin E oil to it. There is still a little swelling between the top of the scar and my navel but it is better than it was.

I’m still not back to “normal” (whatever the hell that is). We had a long walk on Christmas Day out to the beach and back from Mom’s house and I seem to have pulled a muscle (pulled a muscle! from walking?!?)–I’m getting odd twinges and pains on the side of my abdomen. I still get tired more easily.

Yesterday I ran out to Lazy Acres to get some honey for making our Struffoli* and, driving back home, singing along to the radio, I had an utterly fabulous moment, realizing that even though I’m not all the way back to “me,” I’m doing pretty darn good. I can recall, with too much clarity, the pain and depression surrounding my hospital stay, the way each day felt like a little eternity in hell, the way I thought I’d never get to go home, take a bath, drive a car, hug my child. All the little things I missed that felt so far away. And now! Here I am….not the same–changed (yes, for sure)–but I can eat and sing and buy groceries, so, really, life is good.

Struffoli: tiny balls of fried dough soaked in honey and citrus zest, topped with powdered sugar and multicolored sprinkles. Special request of my father-in-law, whose own grandmother used to make these.

We are still refining our technique; apparently these are supposed to be tiny, the size of marbles. Ours are more…hmmm…the size of….I cannot for the life of me think of something ours are the size of. Ping pong balls? (I cannot remember exactly how big ping pong balls are so that may not be an accurate comparison). They are not as big as golf balls.

These are interesting and typically Italian in that the dough itself is not sweetened at all (I insist I would like to try the dough with just a bit of sugar in it but Adam insists that this would diminish its inherent Italianness), but the sauce they sit in is amazingly honey-licious. They are also typically Italian in that they require few ingredients but use complicated techniques and, as far as we can find, exact instructions for making them are not to be had (Italian cooking–real Italian cooking–assumes that the cook has a basic grasp of things that American cookbooks much more thoroughly explain; does this mean that American cooks are dumb or that Italian cooks are all brilliant in the kitchen? You be the judge). Anyhow. These little things, as sweet-but-unsweet as they are, are totally addicting and (despite my complaining about the time-consuming nature of their creation) fun to make. What’s not to like? Little fried balls of dough? In local orange blossom honey? YUM.

Dec 09

Looks good

I want to be an optimist. Really I do. Sometimes I flirt with feelings of “everything is going to be all right” (such as pre-surgery, when I believed the initial hospitalization estimate of 5 days. Ha. 3 weeks later….) but mostly I live with the notion that I’d rather be safely, nervously pessimistic than risk the loss of my optimistic innocence.

And that is pretty much the balance of emotion with which I went into our meeting with my surgeon yesterday: wishingly hopeful for good news, but mindful of the possibility of something bad. Nervous. A nervous wreck, in fact. My pulse was high, blood pressure abnormally high as well. I flickered between magazines, my knitting, books, pacing, staring at the wall in abject terror. The wait, as always, was horrendous (3 hours. THREE HOURS in the waiting room), especially coupled with the five hours it took for us to drive to Stanford and the fact that we got up at 6 am to get on the road.

Once the doctor came in the room it all became much easier. He joked and smiled. He looked at my incision and declared that he was very pleased–very pleased–with how everything looked. He told me to go back to activities as my energy level and body dictated. He said a return visit to see him would be more social call than medical visit and that although he would like to see a repeat CT of my abdomen (interestingly enough, he suspects that my pancreas, at some point in the near future, may very well resemble an entirely normal and healthy pancreas, such little pancreatic tissue was removed during my surgery. How crazy is that?), this could be done in SB and then sent to his office. Sigh of relief.

My ongoing digestion issues (sort of sluggish and some pain/discomfort/indigestion after every meal) are totally normal and should resolve given some more time (a couple of months?). Likewise, the lack of weight gain should also resolve (basically, my body is still using a lot of resources to help heal itself, plus since I don’t feel well with eating I am tending to eat less). The puckering at the top of the incision (the area between incision and belly button is pooched out a bit) should decrease given enough time and it should all sort of flatten out. The lack of sensation? Well….nerves were severed. I’ll become accustomed to it, he says. True, I guess. It’s kind of a bummer. It’s a large area: incision down to pubic area, from midline of my body and wrapping around to my right side. Then again, perspective: gigantic stupid tumor is completely removed from my body and that is a good thing.

It was all smiles and congratulations and then before I knew it Adam was whisking me off to San Francisco for an amazing dinner out (very high end sushi restaurant; amazingly delicious) and a night at a very chic and trendy hotel just around the corner from Union Square. I tried to talk him into buying me a celebratory dress at the Salvatore Ferragamo store in Union Square, but he demurred (it was on the sale rack! At $1100, what a bargain!). We slept in until 9:30 this morning (unheard of for me, Ms. Early Morning Riser) then had a leisurely morning shopping the farmer’s market. Just a wonderful little mini-vacation.

Back home now, Anna sleeping in her bed. Happy to be home, happy to revel in family and friends and some joy and good food and good cheer. I am mindful, of course, pessimist that I am, that my health issues are not completely and totally resolved but, well, that’s one thing out of the way for the moment. One thing to knock off the list. One thing closer. To do list: have stupid big tumor removed from pancreas? CHECK.

Dec 09

Before, During, After

The above picture was taken the day I was discharged from the hospital, two weeks ago. I’m by no stretch of the imagination 100% recovered from this ordeal, but I can say that I’ve come a long way.

Two days before my surgery, at the San Francisco Zoo (on the carousel). 132 pounds. Optimistic about my 5-7 day hospital stay.

The evening of my surgery. Hopped up on pain medications of all kinds (obviously, look at the smile on my face). Happy that they got it all, that the surgery went well, that I am on the road to recovery.

Blood bag (Adam’s favorite) and lots of lines (I think at the most I had 4 IV lines going into my arm–3 on one side and one on the other)–luckily, most of these were placed when I was under during or just before surgery.

The day after surgery. Happy to be given ice chips for my dry throat. On oxygen to improve my oxygen levels. At this point I don’t think I’d gotten out of bed yet. They had me catheterized still (for a few more days, in fact) and I wore these things on my legs that would inflate and deflate (to keep circulation going in my [temporary useless and unused] legs).

Day after surgery, first time out of bed. It exhausted me to slowly climb (assisted, of course) from bed to chair, to sit in the chair.

Two days post surgery. The gnarly incision site. The little black thing on my left side is a drainage tube.

Doing my breathing exercises to keep my lungs clear. (Hello, greasy hair).

Keeping up with my peeps on Facebook.

Apple juice, 3 days post-surgery. I never really had any appetite at this point. I took a couple sips and felt done.

Blogging 5 days post surgery. Off of oxygen. No more catheter. Have had my hair washed but no shower yet.

Later that same day (5 days post-surgery), drainage tube that was placed during surgery is removed. It was gnarly. Gnarly. Big, deep tube. No pain relief offered. It felt like they were pulling it from down inside my feet and the tube kept coming and coming and coming (where in the world did all that tubing come from???). The hole from this one is going to leave a scar, no doubt about that.

There is a gap in the pictures here, no doubt because my recovery, which had seemed to be going so well, became alarmingly delayed. No stomach or intestinal noises. My stomach ballooned up to the point that I looked about four months pregnant. And then I started vomiting and vomiting and vomiting like I had never vomited before in my life. Foul, disgusting vomit (no food for days, so this was stomach acid and digestive juices alone). The volume was shocking. I became depressed, despondent. I turned inward. They placed a nasogastric tube down my nose and throat and into my stomach (on day 8 post-surgery, a day, previously, that I had hoped to be home by). The other end of the tube suctioned into a container that was emptied approximately every 6-8 hours. Again, the volume was alarming. The color and consistency, passing before my eyes, turned my stomach. I just wanted to shut out the world. I complained endlessly. I believe I have never been so miserable in my entire life. It seemed that there would be no end. The tube hurt so badly that I couldn’t talk, feared swallowing, couldn’t sleep. The lack of sleep made me even more morose, more depressed. I missed Anna with an intense and primal need but I refused most offers to talk about her–it just hurt too much. I hallucinated (again, lack of sleep). I spent hours watching whatever was on television, day and night. They placed a PICC line so that TPN (nutrition to keep my body, now off of food for weeks, going) could be administered. Tons of stuff was being pumped into me–IV fluids to replace all that was being removed via suction from my stomach, lipids and electrolytes to keep me alive.

The tube. Every day I would ask the doctors what I could do to get this thing out, to go home. I cried. I begged. We just have to wait, was what we were told, time and again. Adam’s frustration became legendary. The doctors stopped having conversations with us in the room, preferring, instead, to stop me in the hallways to talk. I had never been so miserable, not ever. I continued to walk as much as I could, which was frequent but not lengthy, given that unplugging myself from the suctioning of the dreaded tube caused nausea–I could usually only go about 10-15 minutes before I started gagging and tasting the bile and would race (ha ha, ok, slowly walk) back to my room to plug back in. It was my nemesis and my savior. My most dreaded nightmare and the thing that was saving me from another utter misery. Every 12 hours or so, at shift change, a new nurse would come in, check my vitals, take away the vile collection of green stomach gunk that had been suctioned away, and listen to my (still silent) belly. Every time I would ask, hopefully, “anything?” “No,” they would answer, “still quiet.”

A CT taken within the first week after surgery had shown some bleeding from the site of the removal of the cyst on the surface of my pancreas. A repeat CT showed that the blood had pooled. The decision was made to insert another drainage tube to remove this accumulation of fluid, the idea being that the stomach and/or intestines were disturbed by this abnormal collection of fluid and had shut down in response to this (and that, therefore, removal of the blood and fluid would help jumpstart digestion). An Interventional Radiologist (something I had no knowledge of prior to this) inserted a wire and then a tube into my abdomen. I was sedated but awake and I’m pretty sure I yelled at the doctor doing the procedure, which is usually unlike me but this hurt like a bitch. Another blast of something or other into my IV and I became my usually docile self. The tube immediately drained out something like 100 CCs of blood (no small amount!) and continued with heavy output for the duration of my hospital stay. In terms of digestion, no immediate improvement was apparent. Adam lobbied hard to get an acupuncturist in to see me and that, I believe, is really what pushed me over the hump back towards wellness. Seriously….I am not a natural believer in this stuff–body energy and so forth–but I went from extreme nausea and huge output via my NG tube to an almost immediate relief. A second session the next day and I was tolerating being off of suction for hours at a time, culminating in an entire night on just the gravity bag (stuff draining into just a bag, versus my stomach being actively suctioned out).

That night I hardly slept, positive that morning would bring removal of the dreaded tube. And it did. I have never felt such relief (well, maybe it is somewhat akin to the moment Anna came out of my body, the sweet, sweet relief that follows the removal of pain and suffering). I cried with joy after the docs pulled it out. I felt like a new woman. I felt hope, for the first time in over a week (all told, the NG tube was in for 8 days). For the first time in a long time, I looked and saw the flowers, the sunshine streaming in the window.

I got out of bed and took this picture (just prior to a shower, as I’m unplugged from my PICC lines):

I felt like a war-hardened soldier who has been told that a return home is imminent. I wanted to believe that I was leaving the battlefield. All signs pointed to that inevitability. But I just wasn’t sure what to believe.

I took my laps around the nurses station, down the hall. Adam and I ventured outside. It was my first time outside of the hospital in over two weeks. I sat in the warm sunshine while Adam ate his (cafeteria) Thanksgiving meal. I “ate” my TPN (yum?), IV pole at my side, bags of clear and yellow and white hanging and dripping down into my veins. Later that day, and on the next day, we walked outside to the gardens and sat on the benches, admiring the flowers and trees, remarking on how the season had changed as I had laid in a hospital bed.

I was discharged a couple of days later, weighing in at 112 pounds, with a slight wound infection at the site of my big incision, and a drainage tube attached to my side, one that would need to be flushed and emptied and taken care of every 8-12 hours. No heavy lifting, no bathing, activity “as tolerated.” Follow up in 2-3 weeks.

The car ride home was hard. I never realized how much we use our abdominal muscles for a simple thing like holding up our bodies when driving in the car. I made Adam stop every 90 minutes or so, to get out and walk around a bit (sorry if TMI but I was just barely on solid food and was having trouble getting the gas out) and relieve the pressure of sitting.

So…here I am. My incision looks great. I got the drainage tube taken out on Thursday of this past week. Now I just have one small bandage. Today was the first day since before my surgery that I was able to take a shower and not have to cover something up, hold something in my hand, or not allow something to get wet. It felt weird but awesome.

I’m still not anywhere near my normal strength. I tire easily. I’ve only re-gained a couple of pounds. I weighed 114 this morning; between 125 and 130 is a good normal weight for me at 5’5”. I had gained a few extra pounds as per doctor’s orders prior to surgery but I’m still a good 10 pounds away from not feeling emaciated. Sorry, I just can’t do this model skinny thing. I kind of like having a butt, hips, some insulation from the winter weather. In the meantime, I’m flaunting a size 0-2 and laughing as my old size 4-6s fall right off my hips.

So, the physical stuff is coming along. I fully expect the surgeon, at my follow up this coming Friday, to pat me on the head and tell me everything looks great and go ahead and carry on. Which is fantastic, but….well….the psychological component of this lingers. I still dread the scent of antiseptic alcohol wipes. I have nightmares about being cut into, poked, prodded, pricked, having tubes stuck into every orifice. I’m haunted by the three week separation from Anna that we had to endure.

In the end, of course, it is so good to be where I’m at now: knowing that the tumor is gone, that it was benign, that I should be back to “normal” soon. That I’m headed back to good health (knock on wood). But it certainly hasn’t been easy.

Dec 09

Better but not nearly enough better

I’m trying to keep the long-range view, that this surgery was done at the best time possible, that it had the best possible outcome, that I’ve come so far since my first week in the hospital when I was flying high on narcotics, woozy and out of it, with a fresh raw wound on my stomach. But. But! I’m finding it hard to keep it all in perspective.

One year ago I was a bald woman. Today I’ve got the craziest, thickest, curliest head of hear you’ve ever seen in your life. My life as a bald woman helped prepare me for my current embarrassing daily task: toting around my good ol’ bag of fluids. I got sent home from the hospital with a tube that exits my stomach just south and to the right (my perspective) of my belly button. This tube culminates in a plastic container that I keep clipped around my waist. It is impossible to hide, though I try and camouflage it as much as I can. Yesterday, in a fit of the crazies, I knit a little cozy for it. Snort. It’s silly.

Can I complain for a minute? I am frustrated to still be feeling so slow and in pain and out of it as I still am. It’s been a month since my surgery and I groan when something drops on the floor: it’s a long, slow, painful distance all the way down there to pick it up. Nights, as well as I’ve been sleeping (thankfully, a blissful near 10 hours a night) frustrate me because I’m a side sleeper and my right side is unavailable (the tube juts out that way), plus my bony ass gets sore from the (current) lack of padding between me and my firm mattress. I’m anxious to enter into the spirit of the Christmas season but my body, mind and spirit just aren’t ready. I’m sick of wound care and tube flushing and hunched over posture and lack of abdominal muscles. I’m grossed out looking at my own midsection. I am, in short, sick of being sick and out of commission.

But, lest you think that I am one complete ball of misery, we really are hanging in there. Carol (my mother-in-law) just left yesterday after staying with Anna and then us for the past…I dunno exactly how long but I do know that she managed to keep everything running smoothly and everyone (for the most part) happy and fed and rested somehow. The laundry is already piling up. Help? I know my own mom is going to be back on duty next week, thank goodness. But we’re doing ok. Anna is so remarkably emotionally healthy. She has this amazing ability to express her needs and desires. She’s forthright. She’s done a lot of hard work, playing out so many scenarios surrounding Mamas and Daddies and babies and “big girls” (her own words for her own age group) being separated, having to go to the hospital, being reunited. She talks about missing us, being happy we’re home, about how hard it was for her when I was gone. She’s so big and inquisitive and, for the most part, happy, that it absolutely blows me away.

So….speaking of happy….I’m working on it. I’m just too aware, for the moment, of the great divide between me and the rest of the healthy world, those for whom cancer and tumors are something for other people, for old people. I’m too aware that my next maintenance chemotherapy is next month already, that next month I’ll have another nerve wrecking scan. Too aware that I can work so hard but I still cannot control the outcomes of any of these things.

I have, as well, my feelings of trauma surrounding all those days and weeks in the hospital. The smell of alcohol turns my stomach. It’s all too fresh. It’s all too real.

We’re doing the things that need doing, and even some of the things that we want to do. Today we bought a Christmas tree, decorated it, drank eggnog and cider and listened to holiday music. I envision this as putting me on a forward trajectory that pushes me towards next Christmas: the Christmas in which I will have hair and my surgery will be but a distant memory. As much as I want to live in the now, I’m hanging my hopes on the future.

Nov 09

Home again

Yesterday felt surreal, leaving the cold confines of the hospital corridors and breaking out into the whole wide world. The seasons had changed in these past three weeks; trees that had been enrobed in gold and maroon now held up their bared and gnarled branches to the sky.

The car ride was hard–surprisingly so, to me. I had not fully anticipated the degree to which we use our abdominal muscles to hold ourselves firmly upright, the degree to which small twists and turns in roads translate to a million micro-adjustments of one’s body. We stopped from time to time so that I could get out and walk.

When we pulled up at our house, my eyes immediately teared up. I could hear Anna yelling, “Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!” I tore myself out of that car, ran (okay, limped slowly) up the front steps, ready to reunite. She turned shy on me. She wanted to be close….but maybe not too close. I became aware that the process of reconnection would take time, that three weeks is a hell of a long time.

Oh, the sweet relief of being home! I had the most amazing, excellent night’s sleep (so grateful to not have the many reasons for sleep disturbance–the medications administered, the vital signs taken, the blood drawn), 10 pm until 8 am, just fantastic, broken only by Anna’s heartwrenching wake up at 6 am (she woke up crying, “I don’t want my Mama and Daddy to leave me!” and it was only after a long discussion about us still being here and not leaving that she agreed to go back to bed and back to sleep).

Last night Anna wanted to play a game with me in her room. Covering my head with a paper bag, she turned out the light and closed the door to her room, instructing me to call out her name. She ran, shrieking, into the kitchen where Carol was and delightedly exclaimed that her Mama was hiding and looking for her. Then she would tear back into her room, turn on the light, and we would find each other. Then the bag would go back on my head and we would do it again and again and again. Just a beautiful, perfect game. One of losing and the desperation of seeking, with the reunion, the reconciliation, just in time.

And today we’ve been able to play and play. I find in these times of sickness such a greater capacity to just sit and play, a skill sometimes sorely lacking in our everyday life, when there are so many other things beckoning me to come and finish up. I think she and I are going to be okay.

My body is weak. I’ve lost so much weight and muscle, but my appetite is here and I am eating and trying to regain my strength. A walk around the block just a bit ago was a complete and total wipeout for me.

So…we’re here. We’re back. Reunited. Home sweet home. Do I miss the hospital? No, not one little bit.

Nov 09


Let’s get the good news out there first: I’m going HOME. TOMORROW.

Words just absolutely cannot express. I am just….I’m just….I’m thankful.

This morning I got unattached from my IV: no more TPN, no more IV fluids. I took a walk without my IV pole and it felt oddly lonely, like I was missing some important part of myself. I thought a lot, today, on that sans IV pole walk, about the ways in which this has been such a redefining experience.

I thought about the identity shift that happens, wearing the robe stamped “Stanford” (though the intent is that the gown belongs to the hospital, it starts feeling, in some way, like I, as a patient, belonged to the hospital), subject to inquiries and poking and prodding at any and all times of day (and night).

The pain. I thought about the pain and the discomfort and the cramping and the utter misery and I thought about how I used to take my health for granted. Oh, how I did. Oh, how we all do, when we don’t know better. And it’s so easy for us all to believe, doctors and nurses perhaps especially included, that this pain and misery and suffering is only visited on a select few, who are, for some reason or another, different. But I know, all too well, that there is nothing different or special about any of us, just good luck, bad luck, karma, whatever you want to call it. The finger of fate pointing down, “YOU, NOT YOU, YOU, NOT YOU” etc. This has been quite an ordeal, there were some real moments, hours, days of such complete and utter tragic existence that I would choose, gladly, the sweet oblivion of those pain meds to drift me away (never knew how thin a line separated me from drug addicts) over the living of them, but I have the luxury of believing, for the time being, that this is almost over. That this tumor that was invading my body is out Out OUT, never to return. That I am getting better and stronger and healthier from here on out. Others are not so lucky. Not that lady at the other side of my floor, the one who is so painfully thin, who cannot walk unsupported, who has been here for 2 months. Some people come here not to move towards health but to try and prolong the eventual movement towards death. Or maybe that’s what we’re all doing, I don’t know.

There is such a fleeting fragility in life.

This is all there is: laughter and smiles and tears and words of love. Hugs. Lotion rubbed onto dry feet. Arms supporting a tired, weary body. Hands moving to comfort, to care.

But sometimes I can’t help landing on the times before in my mind. My 32nd birthday, when I was pregnant and the future was ripe with possibility. When my body was round and glowing and radiant. Today I am thin and tired. My muscles are wasted. My body is emptied, scarred. The future feels…it feels open, but I hesitate at it’s threshold, aware of the good and the bad. Aware of the possibility of a future that is beyond my imagination.

As for tomorrow, though…I am not, overall, nearly as morose as I am afraid I’m making myself out to be. I’m ecstatic to be released out into the world (albeit with drainage tube and bag of blood in place). I’m thrilled to anticipate putting on street clothes, my own underpants, a pair of shoes. I glory in the image of returning home, the triumphant homecoming and reunion. Tomorrow. Oh! Tomorrow!