“We’ll try to make the scar as small as possible. Many people are self-conscious about not just the scars but having the ICD itself, so we try to keep it small and easily hidden. In fact, so many people have a difficult time adjusting that we recommend patients see a medical counselor who can talk with them about their feelings.”
What an intro to life with a medical device.
As I said last time on Fancy Coffee Friday, embracing Cordelia and her coming into my life was the goal. Being positive about her placement and evidence of her home – that is, my scar. My feelings haven’t changed, and I’ve thought about those words said to me a few weeks ago when I was being told the recommendation for having an ICD placed.
The fact of the matter is that those words prompted me to think about my scars, old and new. I’ve grown quite the collection of scars over the years, from tiny to large, but the only one I’d felt self-conscious about was the one from my appendectomy that I got when I was about 12 years old. I didn’t think much of that scar until I was in my mid- to upper-teens and boys were becoming a bigger deal that in previous years.
Would boys reject me because of this 5” scar across my abdomen? What about when I got older and thoughts of marriage entered my mind – would a seemingly great guy decide that I was suddenly unlovable the moment he discovered this puckered stripe on me?
Thankfully, those thoughts went away when I realized that my scars come with stories. We all have our stories and our scars. If someone truly loves us – they accept both.
Some of my scars and stories were of having fun with my ‘nother siblings (kids of another family we hung out with nearly every weekend), bouncing around one of the bedrooms at their house that the boys had lined with mattresses. That’s how I got a dent on the top of my head.
I have a slice across the back of one heel from when my ‘nother siblings and I were exploring and doing what kids do in the machine shed, leaping off the loading area at the back and kicking up our heels. I kicked a little too high and a bit too close to the damaged steel barn door and cut my heel but good.
I have a scar on my forehead from when I was about three years of age. I got up from a nap at the babysitter’s house and ran down the hall she’d just mopped, sliding head-first right into the corner of the console television. Apparently, I bled through a couple of towels with that one.
When it came to my appendix removal, being the scared kid that I was, my brother decided to tell me just before they wheeled me down to surgery that to cut me open, they would use one of those large, swinging pendulum blades from the ceiling. Part of me was sure he was wrong, but the other part of me was terrified that he was RIGHT. I bawled the whole way down to the surgical suite saying, “I don’t want to die!” The medical staff thought I was just worried about my appendix about to burst…
Upon coming out of the anesthesia stupor in a recovery area, with gurneys full of patients packed in like sardines, I could hear someone groaning and moaning loudly. I rolled my head to the left and very sternly said, “Would. You. Shut. UP!” With that, the nurse responded in a sing-song, “Well, looks like someone is ready to go back to her room!” And I was wheeled away.
Last year I nearly chopped the end of my left pinkie finger right off as I diced rhubarb. You turn away for ONE second and “SON OF A BITCH!” With Mr. Muse’s assistance – we glued it back together with some super glue. Maybe not the best idea, but surely it didn’t warrant a trip to the ER!
So, Cordelia’s place is near to my heart – literally (sorry, I couldn’t resist) – but I’m not ashamed of it or her. A friend, upon seeing the wound last weekend remarked, “It’s bigger than I thought it would be.” Holding my shirt away from it, I looked, and I thought, “Hmm, I guess I didn’t think about how big or small it would be… just that it would be.”
Three-and-a-half inches of stitching is holding together my latest badge that I’ve earned in the Life Scouts. The surgical glue, even two weeks post-surgery, is still hanging on and amazingly enough, I’ve not picked at it. I look at the area every day to see if there are any changes, or if I feel any differently about it, but – it just is.
There is no shame in scars – whether they are acquired from stupidity (I have plenty of those) or from surgery (two, for now). In 7-10 years, I’ll get another when Cordelia’s battery (her “can”) needs replacing. That’s inevitability and it “just is.” And, like this time, I’m sure I’ll gain a few more good stories to go with it.
Scars DO have the best stories!