"Stop jostling me. Why are you jostling me so much?"
"No, that sucking isn't right. Try this instead."
"I haven't showered in a week, but if you're really that motivated, we have some Febreze somewhere..."
We had an especially unromantic anniversary this year. The kids were with us, it was a school night, there's this whole pandemic thing still happening, oh, AND I have a loud machine constantly suckling at the teat wound I've had festering for SIX WEEKS.
We've tried the intercourses a few times during this long healing process, but it's kind of like a combination of pregnancy sex and postpartum sex when there's an infant nearby. Romance is challenging when one of your body's is in a weird place, or an alarm might sound. The wound vac alarms for reasons that aren't unlike an infant's, actually: it's empty, it's full, you ignored it for too long, or when you tripped on it, you yelled and it got scared...things like that.
It's not just the lack of sexin' that's stressing us as a couple this year. Since our last anniversary, we lost and gained some jobs, sold a business, moved cross-country, virtual schooled and then got the kids started in a new school, and THEN I had a breast reduction that's refused to heal for almost two months. It's left me couch-bound and my family struggling to make it work without me, and it sucks. There's a lot of yelling. Not a lot of peaceful fun times. We all miss my normal me. I've been trying so hard not to lose my mind, but it's getting more challenging. I've barely left my house am healing at such a slow rate, you can measure it in cells. Yesterday, seven cells healed. It was a banner day.
This wound vac is helping things close more quickly than they would have without it (woulda been four cells), but the process is still agonizingly slow. Yesterday when the general surgeon changed my dressings and evaluated my progress, I almost exploded. I had been MANIFESTING so much good, new skin in my mind that I thought for sure the vac would be able to come off and my life would go on...but no. There's still a hole. Which means another week or two. I'm so tired. Another week or two of dragging this vac around, itching, hurting, trying not to trip on the cords and tubes, barely moving so that I don't pull or sweat off the dressings that keep it adhered to the wound, and TRYING to maintain some sense of positivity and calm for the sake of my family.
Oh, and my computer keyboard broke, but I just can't bring myself to take it in, because I'm also still trying to get my book out to agents and I just don't want to break the flow with a Genius Bar appointment where they ask me why I eat so much toast while typing. SO right now I'm writing this with a remote keyboard cabled to my laptop, which is charging via a cord, and I have a wound vac hanging off of me with both a cord and tubing. I feel like a robot with all these plugs- a whiny, inefficient robot. If I just had a catheter in my bladder, I could stay here all day without upsetting any of my wiring. Hmmm....
This isn't easy. I know in life, "nothing is guaranteed to be easy" but with this surgery, I really hoped it would be. My plastic surgeon kinda sorta did guarantee that this would be, and it just hasn't been. There are things that are out of his control or anyone's control, but I can't help but be bitter that initially he told me the infection and holes weren't a big deal and would heal up quickly and not to worry about them. Three rounds of antibiotics and a wound vac later, things still aren't healing and I am still worried. Now when he texts, he says he's praying for me. Sigh. Thanks, dude.
My birthday is also this month. In fact, we've had a trip to the big island of Hawaii planned for just the two of us for a long time. It's meant to celebrate our anniversary, my birthday, surviving this weird hell year, and to embrace the fact that now we live close enough to HI that it's a cheap, quick flight. We're keeping it low-key, staying with friends and at Airbnb's, just planning on hiking and eating fruit from fruit stands, playing in the sand, and enjoying the volcano-heated hot tubs! We have care for our kids, dog, and house lined up (thanks, mom and dad!) and we're so excited....except that I still have open wounds and we're supposed to leave in less than three weeks. I can't go in any hot tubs. I have to stay out of the sand. HI is dealing with COVID at high rates, and I really don't want to be a patient while I'm there.
So we're debating whether we cancel and just hole up somewhere close to home, close to my doctors, or if we take the risk. At least now, if I get bitten by a shark while wading in the ocean there, I have all the supplies I'll need at home. That would make SUCH a cooler wound story than "I had some back pain so I got some of my boobs removed to take the weight off." Wah-wah.
Anyway. Thanks for listening. It helps just to put it all down. Now I can go back to working on selling my book....but dammit I have to pee. Untangling wires is my hobby now.
Happy anniversary to the love of my life, my patient, funny, kind, generous, and curious husband, Robb. He laughed at my catheter joke. I think I'll keep him.