Saturday, March 24, 2007

Random Thoughts for Today

The Fish is Dead, Long Live the Fish

Taco, the final survivor of the original troop of three goldfish #1 got for his birthday, seems to have gone the way of the earth and is no longer with us. Well, the real problem is that he is still with us. The unfortunate creature decided to swim inside the skull that is in the fish tank, you know, for enjoyment, and has never left. So in order to get the dead fish out, we need to remove the skull first, which means sticking a person's entire arm in the tank. Which is currently full of slightly murky water, a result of having to keep the filter off because the darn guy kept getting sucked against it.

He's been on his last fin for a while now, which led to an ethical discussion between DH and myself. It was fairly clear that he was going to die, it was just a matter of time. DH wanted to speed things up a little and would make comments like, Can't we just spray a little Windex in there? Or bleach? I told him absolutely not, if he wanted to get rid of the fish then just flush it down the toilet right now. No, he said, because it would survive the flushing. So it seemed like the dilemma was between euthanasia or letting the fish die a slow, natural death. I told DH that it was a good thing that I'm not in a persistent vegetative state where he needs to make a decision between starving me to death or letting me live. Seems like he'd be the type to inject me with something just to speed things up a little. Clorox, maybe? (In his defense, he did say that it would be different for me, I'm a human after all, not a fish.)

Practical Results of My Surgery

Having benign growths removed from my face and neck has honestly been not that big a deal. The general anesthesia was the worst part of the surgery overall. But here's what I'm dealing with now.

1. I've got a giant pain in my neck, and it's not my three kids. It doesn't hurt too bad - I've got a prescription for real painkillers and I haven't needed anything for pain at all, not even Tylenol. But it definitely hurts worse than the wound on my face.

2. I have a fairly limited range of motion when it comes to looking around. Backing out of parking spots, merging into another lane on the freeway, whipping my head around when a kid calls for "mommy" (any kid, doesn't have to be mine) all of these things are harder to do.

3. A corollary to number 2, I can't look down to see the root beer I spilled down the front of my shirt, or the fact that the shirt itself is quite wrinkly, a result of being pulled out of a box of old maternity clothes I swore I wouldn't wear again, but have to because there is absolutely no clean adult laundry in the house. (The kids' laundry has been done, but our baskets didn't make it downstairs. I'm lucky to at least have a box of back-up clothes, DH was out of luck. He must have found something acceptable, though, he's not naked or wearing tuxedo pants or something.)

4. It turns out that I don't scare animals and small children. Volunteering in #2's kindergarten class, only two or three kids mentioned it, and it was more curiosity than anything else. And when I said I had surgery on it, that was enough information for them and they walked away. Adults, however, don't seem as easily satisfied. Which leads to my next topic:

The Most Audacious Thing Anyone Has Ever Said To Me

I took the kids to a place called Jungle Jim's, which is an older-kid version of Chuck E. Cheese's, with actual rides like the kind you'd see at a carnival, but smaller. They had an absolute blast, and we were there with another family, for 5 hours. While I was sitting with my friend, watching the kids play, a woman about my age came up to me and without preamble said, "What did you do to your face?"

Seriously: What did I do to my face? Did an adult from the Planet Earth just ask me that? Here's what I should have said: "What did you do to your manners? Did you have them surgically removed?" (Please feel free to submit what I should have said!) I was so shocked that, of course, I could think of nothing but answering her honestly. In fairness, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of my scar - it's only so noticeable because of the 15 or so black stitches, and it's not like I'm in the midst of facing a life-threatening disease and this is the outward symbol of my inward struggle. I don't have a problem talking about this at all, it's really not a big deal. However, who in their right mind comes up to a perfect stranger and says, "What did you do to your face?" with no obvious chagrin at asking such a personal question?

It gets better, though, because I guess once she got over her initial discomfort of asking such an obviously disfigured person about their facial abnormalities, she decided I was free game and started peppering me with questions, which again, I just answered.

"Do you need follow-up treatment, like radiation?"
"Does it run in your family?"
"Did it look like a mole?"
"How did you know it was cancerous?"
"How old are you?"

Again, "How old are you?" Old enough to know that adults don't just ask that to random people that they've never spoken to before!! If this were my child, I would be working on teaching them not to stare, I don't think we'd even have to have the discussion that centers around "Don't ask people their health history in the middle of an indoor playground."

There were many other questions, too, but these are the only ones I can remember, I guess because they startled me so much. When she had satisfied her curiosity, she just walked away, no explanation or apology, just turned around and left. It's the way I'd treat a jerk who just hit my car - no real reason to be polite, just get the information and get the heck out of there. Thank goodness she couldn't see the scar on my neck, it's much larger and still has purple marker on it showing them where to cut or something. Apparently it's gross, the purple marker, because it looks like a bruise or something. I haven't actually seen it, although I think I might have DH take a picture just so I can take a look for myself and decide if I need to hide from public view for a few weeks. Anyone want to see it, or should I just keep my pictures to myself?

1 comment:

Tim said...

What idea of what you should have said as an immediate response could have been, "My son's goldfish just died, you wanna go rub his face in that???" That was the best of the ones i thought up, plus it was the only one i could remember.