Monday, November 7, 2011

Pink Proxy

My little patch of hair is falling out again. Again! Seriously, how many times can a person's hair fall out in the space of a year? I hope you're keeping count, because I've lost track.

This past week has been, shall we say, interesting. It seems fitting that I spent Monday, the last day of Pinktober, at Pinkbank Hospital being investigated for mystery shortness of breath.

I started off in the cardiac unit for an echo cardiograph, but was sent packing when they couldn't find my heart on the scan. Somewhat troubling and almost laughable. The techs parting comment to me was something about implants hiding the heart. Damn those pesky reconstructed breasts!

Then I was shunted off to receive a chest CT scan, where I was greeted like an old friend by the radiology nurse who came to access my port, so that I could be shot up with radioactive dye. It's also troubling when everyone in the hospital seems to know you. Obviously I've been spending way too much time there.

Then the news. You have a pneumothorax (partial collapsed lung) and we're taking you down to the emergency room now. Great. Here we go again. Cue the waterworks.

Pull up to emergency room desk. Me in my wheelchair sobbing. Radiology nurse clucking attentively. Emergency room desk receptionist dressed in bright pink breast cancer awareness sweatshirt and pink ribbon lanyard. Rather than taking pity on me, as I would have expected from someone who was so aware of breast cancer, and on the last day of Pinktober no less, the bitch (it's the only fitting descriptor) couldn't have cared less, and rudely waved us on to the next receptionist.

It was at this point that I stopped crying, and almost burst out laughing at the irony of the scene.  Has the color pink simply become a proxy for giving a shit? Wasn't I the point of her stupid sweatshirt? Wasn't I entitled to some special pink treatment during my special pink month? What's the point of having breast cancer if you can't jump the ER queue at least because someone's AWARE of you? Perhaps it was my fault. Maybe my chart wasn't clear enough. More the fool me for forgetting to wear my pink feather boa, bedazzled pink fedora, and Fight Like A Girl t-shirt.  End facetiousness.

Cubicle 18. Hooked up to monitors and oxygen. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Finally my old friend Dr Cuteness arrives. Mother-in-law almost swooned. The man is seriously handsome. But I managed to focus and listen to what he was saying and after a long discussion we decided against an immediate surgical intervention. Let's see if this thing reflates on it's own. Come back on Wednesday for a chest x-ray, and if it hasn't improved then I'll meet you in the operating room.

Luckily, my date with Dr Cuteness in the operating room hasn't yet come to pass. So far the lung is behaving and I've managed to avoid surgery. I'm not out of the woods yet, but at least headed in the right direction.


  1. There should be a law against pink sweatshirts. Did it have sequins? Perhaps we could start our own campaing called , "Idiots For Awareness?" What thinkest thou?

    We laugh and joke because that's what we have to do sometimes. That you can spell pneumothorax in both directions now is too much for one woman, not to mention one woman in one year.

    Love to you. I'm glad your lung is inflating on its own accord. Another dark passage navigated. I'm so glad for that,


  2. I don't what to do first, laugh hysterically at your diatribe, or cry because I am so damned sick to death of the Pink Farce. I hate that you are suffering more. I hate that the politically correct nurse was such a bitch to you (to anyone). I effing hate effing cancer.
    And I love you for you smart mouthed, brassy, powerful attitude. Thank you for giving words to my feelings.

  3. I'm glad you are re-inflating on your own. Such a clever girl you are!

    As for the Bitch, I think you nailed it, my love. Sorry to say. Yes, I do believe this is the quintessential example of how some folks think if they wear/buy/publicly tout all things pink, then they've done their bit for breast cancer awareness. Because, like, actually doing their freakin' job and demonstrating actual compassion is, like, waaaaay too much work.

    Maybe we can rig you up a battery-powered marquis that lights up in pink sparkly bulbs that spell out something like: "I HAVE breast cancer. Be AWARE of that!"

  4. I don't know what to say except that we need a whole lot of change in the health care system. Where is the kindness and compassion? Sickened by the pink rudeness...

  5. I'm so happy you didn't need to have that surgery with Dr. Cuteness and that your lung is doing what it's supposed to. That bitchy nurse sounds like a winner. It's so ironic she was all decked out, but didn't have a clue... too familiar with that scenario aren't we?

    I'm sorry for all the crap you must keep dealing with. I'm sorry about the hair too.

    Love your snarky post. Thanks for writing it. Hugs.

  6. Just another example of how pink is so in our face, that people...even those who wear in...gloss over it. I am sorry you have to put up with people like her in a place where it should be about you. Your strength is amazing. I am in awe of you. You are a real JERSEY that is said with love and admiration. Take is so good to hear your voice.


  7. ARE you KIDDING me?? Who moved the dmv people over to the ER triage area???

    And, "I got my pink on, I did my part" ummmm, no.... that's not really working for me, either.

    Sorry to read that you even had to go near a hospital again, glad the lung is cooperating and always inspired by the sarcastic humor you manage to maintain throughout.



  8. You don't need a damn t-shirt -- no matter what the color, to prove that you fight like a girl, girl-friend! Flip "nurse bitch" a bird; oogle Dr. Cuteness; and tell them both that you don't need either of them. You are taking care of business on your own! Now if Dr. Cuteness is autographing his Thunder Down Under calendar...then you have a reason to go back to visit him. Better yet, house-call! ... In all seriousnesss, hang tough sweetie. You got this! xxoo

  9. You called that nurse out on exactly what she was -- a bitch. Good for you.

    I'm so very sorry you have to deal with all this sh*t, and the insult to injury is all the pink descending on you on that day.

    I'm glad your lung is behaving so far. I think of you a lot and am sending cyberhugs.

  10. That absolutely sucks that you had to go through that. I'm glad your lung is behaving!

  11. Wishing you fully inflated lungs, handsome doctors and no pink bitches. Sister snark on from. Yay!

  12. I'm so sorry that woman was rude to you. Sometimes, all we need is a kind word and when we don't get it, it is harder than it should be. If those people only knew what they did to us.

    I managed to skip all the pink nonsense by having surgery on October 3rd, staying hospitalized a week, and staying home the rest of the month. It pretty much passed me by, for which I am grateful.

    I hope you are breathing well and are re-inflated, both in lung and in spirit.

  13. Rachel, I read this and can only imagine how you were feeling. Hope you're on the mend.

  14. Does the fact that you are able to go on vacation mean that things have resolved themselves? Enjoy, oh fierce one.


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