The anxiety that has weighed on me for weeks and weeks? So not worth it.
Yesterday, I saw Dr. L for the first time since January and it was good. The clinic was running on time, I wasn’t there very long, I got to see some of my favorite nurses. Two of the parking attendants said it was good to see me, that it had been a while. It was like no time had passed.
My blood pressure was okay, a little higher than usual. The nurse asked if everything was okay and I lied, I said that work had been hectic. It had been but no worse than usual. The truth was that my hands had been shaking while I was sitting in the waiting room and I felt this heat crawling up the back of my neck. I had to convince myself that I shouldn’t reschedule the appointment and walk out. I’m glad I stayed, even if we hit on everything from my anxiety chart.
It was a casual, conversational visit. He came in, sat down, said I looked good and asked how things were. I told him my stitches were still in and that was the only thing still bothering me. I think he didn’t want to look surprised, but he did. So, he suggested we take them out, that it wouldn’t hurt. Lies.
Stitches that are left in for 12 weeks hurt when they are removed and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really have feeling. But it was worth it. Having the stitches out makes it look so much better and it felt like a huge emotional relief to look at myself and just see skin there. It’s amazing what the little things can do for you.
We talked about traveling, State Department jobs, Anthony Bourdain and Iran. Then we talked about next steps. Another expander or latissmus flap with fat grafting was an option, but fat grafting isn’t always successful. And I listened but I steered the conversation back to the expander. We reviewed the bacteria that was cultured from the infection and then I asked a question.
Since I have always prescribed to complete honesty when it comes to this journey, I suppose this applies to this blog and my relationship with Dr. L. I asked if the bacteria, which is rare and atypical, could’ve come from a hot tub.
I went away to a spa for my birthday, shortly after I had my last drain removed, and while I was there I got into a hot tub. At the time, I knew it probably wasn’t the smartest idea but I was so desperate to feel like a normal person that I did it regardless. So I asked him if it was a possibility and he kind of laughed. Yes. This bacteria is known for living in hot tubs. So. There’s that.
In light of that information, we decided to try the expander again on May 27th with a caveat. If there are any signs of redness or infection, we’re not going for antibiotics. Both expanders will come out and I’ll be done. Maybe forever, maybe for just a year or so. Who knows, but there’s a plan in place and that makes me feel better.
And I think I’ve sworn off hot tubs for life.