Sunday, April 22, 2007

Repost Sunday: Whoa, That Was My Nipple!

I rerun some of my older posts on Sundays as a way to highlight stories that you may have missed. Just think of it as 'thought recycling' and a day off, or that I am incredibly, incredibly lazy.

After all, it is Earth Day, so what better way to celebrate than by recycling, right?

After my last post, this one just seemed to fit right in for today...

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 I 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. To describe my dancing you could say it's something between a wounded penguin and the way Joe Cocker moves when he sings. 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. I looked down at my left nipple only to see that it was bleeding…and gone. It was as if I was lactating blood. 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 my 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 and the guilty nurse was peeking into the room. Finally, I was discharged from the ER without my nipple, dignity or 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…


Pawlie Kokonuts said...

It's too early to surrender the season, but your bet for the Dodgers is looking good. Walk-off grand slam for your boys last night!

Michael C said...

Pawlie: I wasn't going to start bragging just yet, but at least you can look froward to Bonds breaking the record ;-)

Anonymous said...

How traumatic!

Patti said...

Did you sue the nurse for malpractice? Uttering "oops" does nothing to compensate you for leaving the hospital with one less nipple.
It sounds awfully traumatic.

Josie said...

All I can say is, Omigod! I was going to ask you what Patti asked, did you sue the nurse or the hospital? I can feel the pain, just reading about it. That nurse should not be practicing. If that happened here, the College of Nurses would have her banned. How awful!

Is your heart okay now? Do you still get arrhythmias?


captain corky said...

I truly appreciate your sense of humor in all this.

PS I might steal your repost idea one of these days, but don't worry I'll give you credit.

Abigail S said...

Can you get a prosthetic nipple? Maybe it would help you feel more whole!

But really, it is good to see how you look back on things and see the humor in them.

ShadowFalcon said...

your missing a nipple? ewwww

Patti said...

Michael, I woke up this morning thinking about the traumatic nipple-ectomy you endured.
It occurred to me that, since it all sounds too awful for words, that you are pulling our collective legs on this one.
I truly hope you are.

Michael C said...

Stacey: It hurt more than anything else

Patti: That's what I was thinking.

Josie: I get lots of palpitations but haven't had an irregular heartbeat since October of 2005, knock on wood.

Captain Corky: steal away!!

Abigail: There's an idea.

Shadowfalcon: Does that make me a freak of nature?

Patti: I'm not making it up, but there was a chunk that was cut. It's not always so noticeable though.

Patti said...

I can tell you do like to "joke around" so I was hoping you made it all up.

Michael C said...

Patti: Nope, the last two posts have been about as honest as I get ;-)

Patti said...

I can tell you are an honest chap

CS said...

Ow! And yikes! But at least they are merely ornamental on men anyway.

Danielle said...

As cs says they are ornamental but still how does one get compensated for a nipple wrongly removed. I would have been pissed. I love my nipples and plan to keep a hold of them for all time.

Be well and enjoy the day

Odat said...

I think my original comment on this was something like EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW