Week 3


Xena's back!Well, the nurse last week was very cautiously approving of my gig plans, but everybody I know who has actually had top surgery was against it. Meh, what do they know? I made plans to have a first practice with Jet on Saturday. To prepare, I was taking longer and longer walks, with my recently returned dog, to build up my strength, but not playing bass. I was tapering off painkillers. Life was good.
When I actually pulled out my bass, my dexterity was really low in my left hand and my playing kind of sucked. I got gradually better as the practice went on, but it was pretty short because I got tired really fast. Jet, who is lovely btw, went on to her next appointment. Then the pain started.
Oh my gods it hurt. The next day, I thought I might have torn something. I had no more of my more powerful painkiller left. I called NHS Direct to find out if it’s ok to take parecetamol and ibuprofen at the same time. “I just had a mastectomy.” I explained. “A vasectomy?” the woman asked. Um, not exactly. Anyway, mixing them is fine.
By Tuesday, the pain had receded enough that I thought I might manage being social in public, so despite not being able to use my left arm for things like wasing up, I got on a bus with Paula and headed to Vauxhall for Bar Wotever. I turned up earlyish, got a seat in the back and didn’t budge for the evening. Dr. Jane came by. She noted that I’d written that she rushed up to me after my dressings appointment two weeks ago. “You were walking like this,” she imitated an old man shuffle, eirily reminiscent of my grandfather and then described how pale I was. I guess it must have looked pretty alarming. Anyway, the night out was fun. I got pretty tired by the end, but it was ok and I was fine in the morning.
Which was good because I walked over to my GP’s office to learn the results of having my hormone levels tested. Shockingly, they were fine! I’m very pleased as I’ve been feeling fine. In the past, feeling fine has correlated with my levels being too high, followed by my dosage being cut to a level where I don’t feel fine. 2.5 years on Sustanon and I finally know how much to take how often.
Xena in the parkMeanwhile, coincidentally, my godmother signed up for facebook. It alerted me, as they seem to have a copy of my addressbook. About a year ago, I had sent her a coming out letter and had heard nothing back. So, I sent her a friend requst and she accepted and then sent me an email. We had an exchange and she asked why my status messages were about being too tired to walk my dog properly. I explained I’d had an operation without further specification. She didn’t ask what my op was, but instead what name I prefer to go by. My heart was greatly warmed.

Third Outpatient Appointment

Yesterday, I headed down to Tooting for my last appointment with the dressings clinic. I walked from my flat to Tower Hill at near normal speed! Just being able to walk quickly again is such a relief. I had the same nurse as last time. I described to her my bass playing woes and showed her my non-painful range of movement. She said there must be scar tissue and that I need to keep moving to keep from stiffening up entirely. She suggested shoulder roles and gently raising my arm as far as it wants to go. I need to work back to being able to reach things. I’m going to procede with caution.
I also asked about getting signed off for medical leave, as I haven’t done any studies for about 3 weeks now. She said the hospital would automatically give me one week and if I want more, I need to talk to my GP. One week?! Good lord. The ideal Briton must heal very quickly indeed.
3 weeksShe looked at my wounds. My right nipple continues to heal as it should. The left nipple has become appropriately dry and therefore no longer needs bandages. The necrotic bits on it will turn to scabs and should come off on their own. She advised against picking at them, something I don’t need to be told twice. Or even once, really. I’m to moisturise both nipples twice a day. This will help the puffy, ruffly bits to flatten out and thus hide my scars.
Because neither side needs dressings anymore, I am not scheduled to return to the dressings clinic. I will see my surgeon again in about 3 weeks. It’s possible to ask her to do the documentation for medical leave, but I’m going to try my GP first because that will take less time and because my surgeon, like all surgeons, thinks people recover from this after 2 weeks. If I can only get a note for 2 weeks, that’s better than none, but since I’ve been useless for 3, that would be better.
I look forward to being able to bicycle again and play bass and take long walks with my dog, holding the leash normally instead of looping it through my belt. And also to write some new music. Being medicalised gets old fast. It’s worth it, but I’d like to go back to normal.

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Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

One thought on “Week 3”

  1. Les,

    I'm glad to hearing you're healing up nicely. You sounded kind of miserable a couple weeks ago, but it sounds like things are progressing nicely.

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