Navigating the Middle

through adolescents, menopause, aging parents & other flying debris



Day +12: Early Release?

Time in the hospital has felt more like being in prison. It started when I got jail-house tatts before being locked down and confined to my cell. I’ve donned the uniform (AKA the peek-a-butt hospital gown); and had my three squares a day. By default, I’ve joined the bald head gang, housed here on the BMT Unit cell block.

Workouts include walks around the yard (i.e., the ward) or trips to the relaxation room which offers a computer, reading materials, a treadmill, stationary bike, and a set of stairs. Sorry,  I don’t have the prison body to show for it.

Incarceration comes with forced visits from techs,  nurses, integrated medicine experts, a nutritionist, and doctors from different disciplines.

Nearly three weeks into this, I still haven’t quite figured out who the warden is. But I think it’s Dr. K. Yet, for some reason, he seems reluctant to claim the title. Maybe it’s because I’ve threatened to cut of my hospital arm bands and escape “SHAWSHANK” style, which turns out, may not be necessary after all.

It looks like I will be getting out ahead of the projected 25-35 schedule. I’m calling it an early release for good behavior. When I find out my release date, I’ll share it with you. You’ve been so loving to follow my progress.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few pictures from inside my cell.

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*The use of neither coffee nor whiskey is responsible for the securing of my early release.


Days -6 & -5 : While Working on My Tan…

I didn’t write last night. Apparently, high doses of radiation can make a person sick. Coupled with the fact that the A/C in my room chose the most inopportune time to stop cooling and less than desirable hospital dinner, last night did not go as desired.

I had intended to write that Wednesday (Day -6) and Thursday (Day -5) would be fairly identical days, with radiation therapy beginning around 7:30 am., when an escort shows up with a wheel chair and blankets. Whenever I leave my room, I have to wear a mask for my protection. So I imagine I must look like a little old peasant lady being rolled about.

When I enter the radiation room, I give my name and birth date, although it is definitely the type of place where everybody knows my name. Next, I’m helped out the wheel chair and onto a hard, plastic table,covered with sheet and a very thin mat. Since my therapy includes a 20 minute “burn” on both sides, I like to start on my stomach where my face is squeezed into an uncomfortable plastic mold with cut outs. (Seriously, if anyone reading this could invent something better, you’d be rich!) Therapists  help position me by placing blocks to protect my kidneys and lungs and aligning my prison tattoos (i.e., the kind you make with a straight pin and ink. Don’t ask me how I know this.) I have to lay still while the table slowly moves across the beam of light. Afterwards, I flip over, and the process is repeated on the second side. I do this twice daily.

Laying there makes me think of a tanning booth.

Full disclosure: Everything that I know about tanning salons, I learned from the teenage-horror movie, Final Destination 3. There is a scene where two besties, Ashley and Ashlyn have a terrible mishap while lying in tanning beds. Once the beds’ temperature exceeds 350 degrees, the light bulbs pop, skin bubbles, and…you get the picture. Guess I need to change my thinking.

Second disclosure:Everything I learned about prison tattoos, I also learned from movies. Although I can’t prove it.

Tomorrow…chemo begins (my own personal horror movie).

It’s Not Him; It’s Me

Before checking out my thoughts, please watch the video that inspired this post.

Would you let him give you a Tattoo?

I answered the question before I watched the video. –  No, I would not let him give me a tattoo. The man has no hands. To be specific, he has no arms either.

I attended high school with a guy who didn’t have hands, and he was quite the artist. So if you’re thinking that THAT’S the reason I wouldn’t let this guy give me a tattoo, think again. My reason has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.

I don’t like tattoos. (THERE, I said it; rather, I wrote it!)

I LIKE people who LIKE tattoos; I LIKE people who HAVE tattoos; and occassionally, I like tattoos themselves. It’s like graffitti for the body. YOUR body. I don’t think I’d let the footed man (or a handed one) draw graffitti on MY body. Not that I haven’t EVER imagined such a scenario because in truth, there have been two occassions.

The first was when I lost my breasts to cancer. My plastic surgion offered a tattooed areola as part of the reconstruction. After giving it some thought, I decided against it. Cancer makes you tired of hurting. I didn’t want to hurt any more.

The second time I considered it was more recently, after chemo took my eyebrows. I was in a MAC store, buying a brow pencil when I met a woman who had tattooed eyebrows. They looked so realistic, I thought I might give it a try. That was before I decided that tattoos were not something to TRY, despite what tat lovers may claim. I chickened out of that one too.

Like I stated: It’s me.

There’s just something about having ink injected into my skin, that makes my skin crawl. Friends I know have no problem to committing to the deed – over and over again. When I think about it, the only people I know who have a single tattoo are the ones who either (1) regret getting it in the first place (i.e., they were young, intoxicated or both); or (2) ones who haven’t made it back to get a second tattoo.

I tried to imagine being one of those people. So I visited PINTEREST for inspiration, and I started following a board dedicated to mastectomy tattoos. Some of the work was hauntingly beautiful, especially when I learned the meaning behind the art.

Afterwards, I asked myself the question that I started with at the beginning of this post: ” Would you let him give you a tattoo?”



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