A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Plastic Surgery Day


I have some fans out there in cyber-world  that fill my box with e-mails.  However, I occasionally forget that not all of my readers are chronic fanatics that read everything I write each and every day.  Some of you are people that just happen to browse through my site totally randomly.  I got an e-mail the other day saying just that…. and that I should explain things a bit more… So here goes.

For those new to my blog, I’m a surgery nurse and my passion is in Neurosurgery, Spine surgery and orthopedic reconstruction.  Unfortunately,  when I get to work, I can’t always pick and choose what I want to do.  Frequently I get in a room that I, not only is well out of my comfort zone, but is a true learning experience.  Today, I was in a plastic surgery room.  I have done this once or twice before, but the plastic service is still clearly not totally in my comfort zone.  That said, the first case was a traumatic removal of a man’s thumb.  If you lose your thumb, you loose 40% of your mobility of that hand.  Just try to grip something without your thumb. Really difficult.   To remedy this problem, we cut off this man’s great toe from his foot and re-attached it to his hand, constructing a new thumb.  It even looked very much like his normal thumb.  Way cool,  and the patient will be really happy and still maintain near total mobility.  A  total learning experience!

   Our next case took the whole rest of the day.  It was a lady with breast cancer.  We did a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction with implants.  The lady even said preoperatively, “hey, I never thought about my breasts, but if I have to get them surgically altered, I want them to look really good… and bigger too.”   I laughed with her and told her that I would do my best to make her happy.

When I got into the room and we were under way,  I brought in the cart with the selection of implants.  The doctor immediately grabbed the largest two.  “We’re putting the 850’s in this lady.”   I took a second look,  “wow, that’s like double – D’s … isn’t it?”  The doctor nodded and said, “well, she said she wanted to go bigger.”   I took another look and continued with the case.  things went well and at noon,  another nurse came in to relieve me for my lunch break. 

  When I got to the lunch room, I sat wit other nurses talking about how their day was going and what they were doing.  I told about my lady and how she was getting some brand new DD breasts.  Two other nurses chimed in,  “I don’t think that’s appropriate… I mean, she’s bending to social pressure and social media in getting large breasts.  If you’re not planning on having babies, there’s really no use for breasts and therefore no need for anything more than what you would normally have.  To do all that reconstruction and implants to boot… is well, a waste of money.  I think that if I had cancer, I’d just get the mastectomy and that’s all” 

I was aghast and although I was not a experienced plastic surgery nurse, I had to defend my case.  “Hey, I don’t want to cut them off, but if a woman has cancer, I think that she should get whatever she needs to feel better about herself and her self image.”  I went on to argue,  ” I don’t agree with high school kids getting breast implants, but …. I’m all in on the idea of breast implants with cancer and especially in this case.”   As usual, with my lunch room debates,  we were at an impasse.  There were several nurses from the surgery team as well as the Recovery/ PACU team that were against me. 

Because of my mental illness,  I let this non-argument bother me.  As with politics, social issues and practically anything where people have differing opinions than myself,  I try to understand  why  they think that way and, it’s wrong, I try to change my own views or get more information to help me change their views.   I got up still thinking about it this morning.   I tried to get an objective opinion and I asked my wife about breasts and breast implants.  She said that they “were a terrible pain and were there only for one reason and that is to attract and maintain the happiness of men.”    After I took a step back, “What?… they are good for other things… surely they are…”   and she said, “well, once your done with having kids, just name one ….   .  .  well,  I’m still waiting…”   I was totally speechless,  I couldn’t name one that didn’t reflect back to her original statement about men. 

I got up this morning still pondering the dilemma of the practical use of breasts … that is,  other than (A)  just because I like to look at them and  (B)  I like to see how they fill out a nice dress.  Which probably is still a different take on (A) again.  Then, while I was looking at all of millions of websites that came up when I Googled “woman’s breasts”  I came upon this one about why it is a wonderful thing to have DD breasts and how they just might have saved this poor woman’s life.  Click onto this article about  DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM.  It was great and supported my argument about why any woman would think it a great thing to have large breasts!


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