it’s all set – i pre-registered by phone (with ‘winnie’) on tuesday. i just got off the phone with ‘mitzi’, the surgical nurse, this morning. mitzi had a battery of health questions for me, covering seemingly any conceivable disease or disorder: “any heart disease, any glaucoma, any diabetes…how much do you weigh?” my favorite: “any female problems?”. does fighting with my girlfriend count? no actually – leanne is quite my guardian angel in this, and has gifted and project-managed me quite well. all that’s left for me is to show up.

  1. 10:30 am: show up at 3698 california
  2. register and dole out insurance card at the desk downstairs
  3. get sent to the third floor
  4. wait
  5. 11:30 am: needle-localization. get mammogrammed and get needles inserted for dr grissom to target (eve said they look like guitar strings…)
  6. wait some more
  7. at some point, get administered monitored anesthesia
  8. 1:30 pm: surgery with dr grissom
  9. 2 or 2:30 or so: get rolled all woozy in a wheelchair to leanne, mom, and dad who then prop me up, take me home, and carry me up three flights of stairs!
  10. afterwards:
    • start with clear liquids, crackers, or toast if you
      are nauseated- but i’m already craving a burrito just
      thinking about starving myself overnight
    • darvocet is the most commonly prescribed medication
    • you can expect some bruising and swelling around
      your incision and sometimes involving distant parts of the breast
      or chest – use an ice pack on and off
    • the outer gauze dressing may be removed 24-48 hours
      after biopsy. leave on the steristrip (small white tape strip) in
      place for 7-10 days; it may be removed then or left to fall off
    • occasionally patients are wrapped with an ace wrap to
      help decrease bruising and swelling – this may be removed after
      24-48 hours
    • after the (outer) dressing is removed, you may shower
      and get the incision wet, but don’t get in a tub for 10 days
    • pathology reports should be ready by next tuesday –
      friday at the latest

and that does it. everyone is saying ‘keep calm’, or ‘the anesthesia is the worst’, or ‘the waiting is hardest’; perhaps because i’ve never gone through it, i don’t have any anticipatory dread, and i’m feeling just fine. the whole thing seems like it should be a big medical experiment for me. i might as well remain naive as long as i can. besides, i rode my bike to work today and onto the train, so i feel a bit like i’ve gone on a trip to a foreign country.

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