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, and may drop in I got an e-mail the other day saying just that… He was a bit irritated with me, 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 is, not only well out of my comfort zone, but is a true learning experience. Nursing management never actually touches a real live patient. They only manage. (See the daily Dilbert cartoon about “managers”). They expect us to be “well rounded” and “fluid.” But in the real world, it would be like expecting a plumber to rewire your house… but that’s a whole different story that I’ll address on another day.
Today, I was in a plastic surgery room. I have done this once or twice before, but this service still clearly doesn’t come naturally to me. 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. Yea, it’s 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. Apparently, you really don’t need that toe anyhow… and it even looked very much like his normal thumb. Way cool, and the patient will be really happy and still maintain near total mobility to what he had before his accident ever happened. This was way cool, and a total learning experience for me!
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 pre-operatively, “hey, I never put much 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… this is bigger” I took another look and continued with the case. “I guess it certainly is,” I responded back to the surgeon as I held out a 700 size, in maybe gently suggesting that an 850 could possibly ever be too big?” The surgeon insisted on the larger size and everything proceeded well, At noon, another nurse came in to relieve me for my lunch break. When I got to the lunch room, I sat with a few other nurses talking about how their day was going and what they were doing. I told them about my lady and how she was getting some brand new double-D breasts to replace her old cancerous C-cupped ones. Two other nurses chimed in with a snotty attitude, “I don’t think that’s appropriate… I mean, she’s bending to social pressure and social media in getting larger breasts. That’s totally sexist. If you’re not planning on having babies, there’s really no use for breastfeeding and therefore no need for anything more than what you would normally have. She should have simply a mastectomy. 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 reconstruction… 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 (OCD), 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, why they believe it’s wrong. I will either 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 is still probably a variant of “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!
Yes, they stop bullets from terrorists too. So there you have it.