Care for the Caregiver

There are things that I never thought I would say to my one true love, things like, “Honey, I think we need to empty my boob juice bag.”

This is something I should have researched more thoroughly. When you have a large mass removed from your breast (in my case, apple-sized), you have a drain, and it’s yucky. There are a lot of yucky things involved in post-op.  Nothing glamorous about it, which is perhaps why I didn’t take visitors. That, and pills make me crabby.

I would not want to be the person who has to look after me post-surgery. I have unrealistic demands, and I refuse to look like a sick person.

“Z, does this lipstick make me look like I’m pumped full of Vicodin?”
“Well, you are pumped full of Vicodin,”

Then I start crying, because I look like what I am, and the whole thing is very depressing and unsettling,  my hair looks bad, I can’t drink, and there’s not really a good shade of lipstick to capture what I’m going for, and nothing fits over my boob-juice bag, and druggy-chic isn’t as cute when you’ve actually been fucked up for five days.

I was reading a Dear Abby about a woman whose husband was laid up after a major operation, and the woman was upset because no one was asking how she was doing.  She’s the one who had to look after him and keep the house, yard, and bills in order. This is key, and I’m realizing firsthand how important this really is.

The person who’s been operated on has two jobs: to recover, and to swallow whatever pill is handed to her.  The caretaker has a million jobs, including, but not limited to: feeding, cleaning, and transporting the patient. Helping her in and out of bed. Making her comfortable, cutting up her food, listening to her whine, and taking over both sets of chores (in a relationship, there tend to be ‘his’ chores and ‘her’ chores, and when one of you is out of commission, suddenly the caretaker is doing double). Add in a job and a dog, and the caretaker basically has to be superman.

PLUS, if you happen to be in a relationship with me, you’ll become responsible for making sure my clothes match, listening to all of my brilliant Vicodin-infused ideas, ensuring that I “don’t look like some trashy bitch in public,” providing Indian food, lipstick, and a fluffy poodle, listening to me cry whenever the car goes over a bump, and sitting through ridiculously bad Indie movies that I invariably fall asleep to but you can’t change the channel because the remote’s all the way over there and I’m drooling on you.

Z has really shown me this week that he’s not going anywhere, and I commend him for his strong stomach and his ability to make me laugh and feel good when, really, I’m terrible to be around, and gross to boot.

So, an idea. When a friend goes through a major operation, send your support to the patient and the partner. Both parties are going through a lot, especially if the patient is anything like me.






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