11/10/15: my Bathroom-Six days post surgery. Six days of scrupulous strip washing. Six days desperate for a bath.
I need to feel the warmth of the water as it envelops my skin, watch as the bubbles close in over my sinking body like a soft fragrant blanket…
…but I still have a dressing on and it has to last another 5 days…
So gingerly I step into water that barely reaches my ankles and ease myself gently and single handedly into a kneeling position at which point I realise a major miscalculation on my part.
In order to manoeuvre myself from this kneel I need to somehow extricate my legs out from under the full weight of my body, unfolding them out in front of me within the narrow confines of my bath and without the use of both arms for leverage-hmm…a task more complex than I had given it credit.
Not about to be deterred this close to bath nirvana and perceiving the situation to be a simple mathematical puzzle I reconsider the area, recalculate the angles and when this fails in one final fantastical gymnastical contortion I plonk backwards with a splash simultaneously kicking out my trapped legs, sliding quickly down the back of the bath before steadying myself with my good arm and just in time!
I utch myself up into a sitting position, tilt on to my good side elevating my dressed wound and then carefully inch my way back down in a controlled manner until I’m as far as I dare go. Using a rolled up bath towel in the corner behind my head to provide the illusion of some comfort I finally relax-in a fashion!
The soft foam laps around my kneecaps not quite able to mount them.
Still…I am finally in the bath!
A fruit tea and a novel wait by my side.
And in spite of ‘wet-dressing’ anxiety, the bubbles work their magic. As the heat of the water at least on the underside of my body, begins to soothe and calm, a space clears in my mind- space for something other so I reach for my book and begin to read.
I see the letters that form the words.
I see the words that form the sentences.
I read the sentences.
I read the sentences.
And I have absolutely no idea what I’m reading.
I go back.
I read a word.
I read a sentence.
I read a paragraph…nope! Not a clue!!! Its a puzzler, the warmth has melted my mind, the bubbles dampen the din and still the narrative will not unfold within my head.
I replace my bookmark. Lay down my book and lay down my head.
I stare at my chest.
“So what awfulness did you see, what horrors were you witness to when I was out cold?” I ask quietly of the breast I still have.
It looks down…in both senses. Clearly not wishing to engage it carries off what appears to be an air of sulkiness.
I put it to my right breast that perhaps having been privy to the fate of its lifelong partner in crime, it imagines itself a similar fate awaits? Unfortunately I am unable to offer it any long term guarantees on this front.
“Perhaps…” I enquire tentatively, “Perhaps you fear I will prefer my new flattened chest?” ahhh, this strikes a chord. My right breast is jealous! Who would’ve thought it? I attempt a little reassurance and I apologise for the total lack of support I have provided it quite literally-having gone from a variety of robustly structured, highly scaffolded underwired affairs to keep the lively duo in check throughout their heyday to something akin to a slackened hammock for one must have come as quite a shock for my surviving breast.
It is an interesting dilemma-a reconstruction or a prosthesis is catered for in the brassiere business but going natural ie. mono boobed is not.
Now there’s a gap in the market if ever I saw one! Of course I could always get out my sewing kit and DIY my vast collection of redundant balcony bras…