Monday, January 29, 2007

Whoa, That Was My Nipple!

Don’t let the title fool you, this post is pretty clean, unless of course you are squeamish at the sight of blood. Our story begins on a December night two years ago. I was sitting in the ole recliner with Ethel on my lap watching ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ when my heart skipped a beat (well actually, several beats). When that happens, it’s time to head to the friendly local Emergency Room for a quick electrical shock to get the heart rhythm back to normal.

Knowing that time was of the essence, I showered, called in to leave a voicemail for my boss that I’d be out the next day and ate a quick meal consisting of steak, salad and pie so that we could head off to the ER. The ER staff greeted me, told me how they vaguely remembered me from my last four visits that year and proceeded to start my IVs containing medication that hasn’t worked yet to correct my irregular heartbeat. Along about the 4th hour of waiting for the meds to kick in (about 2AM), the doctors came in and said that it was time to be knocked out for a few minutes so that they could shock me back into rhythm. I told the doctor it was probably a good idea since I have horrible rhythm, two left feet and almost everyone I know denies my existence when I hit the dance floor. Perhaps this is because I learned to dance while making fun of the way other people danced. Oh yeah, that and a scene I mimic from the Beatles’ movie ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ where Ringo’s idea of dancing is to pretend he’s boxing. OK, I guess I strayed a little off course.

Prior to the anesthesiologist coming in to tell me that he’d be the one putting me to sleep (which I translate as presiding over my brush with the unknown), a nurse came in to shave me. I calmly explained that I had showered prior to coming in to visit her nice hospital and I didn’t see the relevance of a five o-clock shadow when correcting heart arrhythmia. As her English was a little hard to understand, I don’t think she appreciated my joke. She indicated that she needed to shave my chest. This puzzled me as it’s not like I’m Sean Connery or Austin Powers and the middle of my chest is already barren thanks to my first open heart scar. Again, my complaints and concerns went unnoticed.

The nurse took out her construction grade non-lubricated razor and started scraping (not shaving, mind you) away. What happened then was a blur of flesh and blood highlighted by intense, albeit brief pain. As I looked down at my left nipple, it was bleeding…and gone. It was as if I was lactating blood. I then looked to my wife and her jaw was dangling on the floor. As I began to ask the nurse for something to soak up the blood, she noticed my concerned and puzzled look, not to mention my squirming. She stopped me and said ‘oh, did I cut you?’ The only answer I could muster was a mumble accompanied by a grunt and a point of the finger in the direction of my bleeding nipple-stump. Realizing the sensitivity (or extreme sensitivity) of the moment, she attempted to alleviate my fears and concerns with a simple ‘oops’ and a sheepish grin. Sadly, it really didn’t help.

All of the doctors and nurses were now gathering which means sleepy time and shocky time are fast approaching. Feeling a little embarrassed at the proceedings so far, I asked for a blanket to place over my nipple-stump, as I sure as heck wasn’t going to place a band-aid or other sticky substance over it. Then they knocked me out and cranked me over like a dead battery. It’s funny because I always remember them using paddles on TV, but now they just use pads that are very, very sticky. Now I know how a fly stuck on flypaper feels. For the record, wheeling the crash cart into the room in case I try to pass over to the great beyond should really be done after I’m asleep. It doesn’t boost the confidence level seeing it before.

I then remember mumbling that I wasn’t asleep and I didn’t want to be shocked while still awake. After several minutes of this, the doctor became annoyed enough with hearing it to the point that he finally said ‘uh, we shocked you about eight minutes ago.’ I felt a little stupid but then began to think if I was so out of it then maybe my nipple cutting was an anesthesia-induced dream. I confidently looked down at my left nipple only to discover it had bled through my blanket. My wife was still laughing at the situation and the guilty nurse was peeking into the room. Finally, we were discharged from the ER without my nipple, dignity and an apology from the nurse.

What made me remember this tale? Well, it’s very cold today and those are the times that I notice my ‘loss’ the most…

15 comments:

thethinker said...

Oh my. I'm sorry to laugh at your loss, but that was a pretty funny story. Sorry you had to endure that.

mist1 said...

My nipples recoiled when I read this.

Awesome Mom said...

I am sorry about your loss. It is too bad that it could not have been sewn back on or something. I guess that is a warning for us all, if you are going into the ER for a shock you should make sure you have a shaved chest before you get there.

Pickled Olives said...

Crap. Ouch. Shit. Ouch. I hope you at least wrote a scathing letter.

Odat said...

This just woke me up!!! omg! omg!
I would have sued that sheepish grin right off her face!!!
I mean it's bad enough you had to go thru that only to be left "stumpless"....I really think it was negligent on that nurse's part...sorry but that just reinforces my lack of trust in hospitals!
Peace

James Burnett said...

Damn! That just made my testicles crawl up inside of me. Ouch!

I hope when you woke up you pimp-slapped that nurse. I also hope you're driving a Rolls-Royce now and that that hospital is named after you.

Nipple mutilation is unacceptable!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

How truly awful. I can't believe that nurse thought it was funny. She should have been fired or sent back to school for retraining. (I prefer fired.) I agree with Odat. You should have sued them, unless they are the only show in town.

Glad the shocking worked, anyway. The other shocking event, not good at all.

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

what the hell? This is the strangest story I've read today. All I can say is "ouch".

Violet said...

Ooh, nasty. I'm surprised the nurse didn't take it more seriously. It seems so unprofessional.

Meloncutter said...

If you played golf professionally we could call you Jack Nippleless.

Don't feel too bad, Ken dolls from the Barbie series) have been nipple free since production began.

You could have the other nipple moved to the center of your chest and do "cyclops" on halloween.

Don't ever go to that hospital for a vasectomy.

I guess that's enough of the one liners. I don't feel so bad about my soy issues now. I got both my nipples. nanna boo boo

Later Y'all

SGT DUB said...

Michael, nipple transplant is a simple out-patient procedure, first we shave the......nevermind.

Natalie said...

Ouch Ouch Ouch. I can't believe that happend and am very sorry for your loss. I hope she was stripped of her license, and you got some $$$.

Lee said...

Oh man...that made my hoohaa cringe. That's terrible! Tell em you need an implant!

Bird on a Wire said...

Lactating blood?! What a wonderful image.

Michael C said...

To all: I never even thought of suing. Unfortunately after two years, I think the statute of limitations has passed. Darn, it could've gotten a new boat!!!!