My Star Wars Utility Belt
By Laura Yeager
Just got out of the hospital with another cancer surgery. Long story short, the radiation of five years ago gave me cancer in my right breast. The cancer came back! Bummer. That which was meant to heal me made me sick again. I was a survivor. What am I now?
But I have to sing praises to one of the medical technicians on the fifth floor at Akron General Medical Center. He was about 25, way over six feet, gorgeous. He looked like a movie star. I wish I knew his name.
I’m 5’2”, 180 pounds, dumpy, 53, very middle-aged. And I’d just had my right breast cut off and muscle and skin from my back sewn in its place. I wasn’t feeling beautiful.
I was trying to put on my drainage bulb belt. For those of you who don’t know what that is, after you have a mastectomy (or any major surgery), they sew tubes into the wounds and stick bulbs on the ends of said tubes. The drainage from the wounds drips into the plastic tubes and into the bulbs. Then, the bulbs have to be emptied regularly, and the fluid has to be measured.
Well, I was trying to get this Velcro-connected belt around my waist. I was clad in only, white, granny underpants. Feeling a bit frustrated, I pressed the nurse’s call button.
Whom should appear at the door but the gorgeous movie star aid. I went with it, didn’t send him away, acted like nothing was out of the ordinary.
So I’m standing there exposed, and I say, “Can you help me?”
And lo and behold, he walks towards me. “Yes.”
“I’m trying to get this drainage bulb belt on right.”
So he comes over and helps me get the belt around my waist. Then, he inserts a Velcro piece into the tag in the first bulb. And then, he inserts another Velcro piece into the tag of the 2nd bulb. (I had a bulb connected to my chest and one attached to my back.)
And then he says something brilliant. “That looks just like a Star Wars Utility Belt.”
And he made me laugh.
I’m not sure if it was his stock line to make old ladies feel at ease or if he just came up with it on the spur of the moment. In any case, it was funny.
The child was a born caregiver.
There’s nothing like a good joke no matter what the setting or circumstances.
A good joke can cut through a lot of humiliation.
That kid didn’t know it, but I would remember him as one of the highlights of my hospital stay. Right after the beautiful flowers from my best friend, Jan.