Friday, May 22, 2009

No! It's Not THAT one!

So - it's down to a waiting game at this point. I'm going into surgery on Tuesday, I've wrapped up work, I'm officially on Short Term leave, and I'm looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend. We're having what started out as a small get together at the house on Sunday, but has now blown up and grown into an open house that everybody's coming to.

That's cool. I'll most likely be getting drunk anyway, so whatever.

And I haven't done that yet. And by that I mean getting myself skonched. One would think that I would have at least gone out and tied even a small one on... but not so. I did go out with my brothers; Curt, Phil, and Rich, last week to our favorite Irish pub, Mick's. (Mick's, by the way, is closing -- problems with the boys who owned it not paying the taxes and bills to the tune of some several hundred thousand dollars. It's sad really. Fortunately, we've got Mullarkey's in Downtown Willoughby and, truthfully, it's a much shorter stagger home for me).

So, anyway, we had a few pints, but that's really been it. This weekend, on the other hand, may be a different story. But you didn't come here to here me wax rhapsodic over the wondrous elixir and frothy, cold, adult beverage that is Guinness.

I'm writing this update to clear something up. You see, several people have asked me about it, and I feel it necessary to clarify... no, my cancer is NOT in the moob that I had pierced.

That's right folks, I did have a pierced nipple at one time. Hard to believe, I know.

Let me tell you the sordid tale...

So, some years back, when I was single and enjoying all that being single was about, I decided to - on a whim - pierce my nipple. The girl I was seeing at the time said that it was like "paving a four lane highway of feeling to your genitals".

Not one to argue with such a well put together - albeit crude - simile; I was convinced that it would be a good idea to, in fact, jam a surgical needle through my left nipple and follow that jamming with a horseshoe shaped piece of body jewelry. This would have been about 1995.

I'm often asked, did it hurt? I guess it's the same question people with tattoos get asked about all the time... and I'll answer that with a simple, "Fuck yeah it hurt! How do you THINK it felt!"

Actually, the piercing itself at the tattoo shop wasn't that bad. Much like returning to the gym after a few months off, or after a car accident... you're not sore when it's happening. It's the days afterwards when the aching pain settles in. I took to cutting a tennis ball in half and taping it over my nipple and piercing because the simple act of rolling over in the middle of night was painful enough to wake me from a dead sleep.

But, as in all things, the pain went away and I healed.

I have to say I liked having a pierced nipple. There was something so cool and subversive in sitting in business meetings and knowing that, under my polo shirt, I had a piercing that would have shocked and horrified many of the conservative and buttoned-up people I worked with. When I was still single, I also took great pleasure in going to concerts and clubs and dancing shirtless. (Ahhh... how I still long for those lost days when I had abs and significantly less body fat). And, best of all, remember that girl who'd made mention of the sensitivity of a pierced nipple? Yeah, she totally had it right.

Then I met Mrs. Zombie. From the beginning she hated it. I still remember the look she gave me the first time I took my short off. She raised an eyebrow and said, "WHAT is THAT?"

So, obviously, she wasn't a fan.

But she liked me, and so tolerated it. I like to think she had actually started to accept it. So you could say that life was good for me and my pierced nipple.

And then tragedy struck...

Michelle and I'd been married for a year or so and it was summer. She was in the house with our oldest, who was still a baby, and she asked me to water the garden for her. I happily obliged.

So I headed out the back door with our English Bulldog, Clay, and went to where we had a small vegetable garden set up. I should preface this by telling you that we've always had a considerable amount of rabbits in the neighborhood and, to thwart the ravenous Lepus, I had erected a two and a half foot anti-rabbit wire mesh fence around the garden.

So, I took the sprinkler and placed it in the center of the garden. After turning it on, I realized that it was not getting all of the tomato plants. So I returned to the garden, reached over the fence, and readjusted the sprinkler. I jumped back to avoid getting wet and, as I stood up, I felt a pull on my nipple ring.

I thought nothing of it, as it was always catching on things, and turned to our bulldog, "C'mon, boy. Time to go in!"

As I turned, I noticed a flash of silver on the ground. On closer inspection, I saw it was my nipple ring. My first thought was that I must have lost the ball off of the end of it and it had fallen out.

But then I looked at the front of my white t-shirt.

Spreading like spilled wine on a white tablecloth, I saw blood spreading from my nipple and soaking the stomach of my shirt.

So... long story short, I wound up at the hospital with my angry wife who did not find it anywhere near as funny as I did that everyone had to keep saying nipple. The ring had torn and severely traumatized my poor nipple. If you were to look at, say, a gum drop -- and imagine that someone had taken a knife and cut a cross into the top of it -- you'd have an idea of what it looked like. A ragged, bleeding, unevenly cut cross that bisected my nipple into four uneven bits.

As I said, I was, actually having fun with the whole situation. That's my personality really... it comes from years of being the butt of some sort of unlucky cosmic joke (look at the Cancer thing... need I say more?!?) Much to the disgust of Michelle, I was joking about the situation. For instance, I found it hilarious when, while waiting for the doctor, I had a high school student volunteer poke her head in the room and ask if I needed anything. I flashed her my mangled nipple and she bolted from the room, her face suddenly green and a hand held up to her mouth to suppress the nausea she suddenly felt.

It was all fun and games until the doctor came in. I can think of few things worse than the sharp burning pain of the needle and lidocain doctors inject you with before any procedure. It's like fire until the nerves go suddenly and blissfully numb.

Now understand, I have a very high threshold for pain (I mean, I had my frakking nipple pierced!). And, knowing that I have an unusually high tolerance for pain and discomfort, imagine how horrible that pain is when they're doing it TO YOUR NIPPLE! I am not at all ashamed to admit that I almost lost consciousness. Getting my nipple pierced and subsequently having it torn out was nothing - NOTHING - compared to having it jabbed with that insidious little needle before they put two stitches in.

So... after that ordeal, my nipple healed fine. It was slightly larger than my right nipple, and that was a result of the piercing itself (piercing nipples causes the nipple to enlarge). Truthfully, that never really concerned me.

And - as I've said - it was my left nipple. The cancer's in my right side. So... the piercing had nothing to do with it.

Although I do feel sorry for my poor abused nipple. After Wednesday of next week, he and his smaller brother will be gone. That'll be odd, ya know?

By the way, it's still funny to say, and write, "Nipple". : )


Jeff said...

So, it's weird that you won't have nipples, right? I say (if it turns out that you're allowed) you get nipples tattooed onto your chest when this is over.

As a bonus, you could get them in interesting shapes: card suits, for instance. Just a thought.

Mojito Libre said...

I vote for getting 2 spades tattooed where your nipples used to be. Or mean looking eyes.

Oh, and I will admit that when I was getting my latest tattoo done (a big Celtic cross on my back) I started getting the hot, white flashes and almost passed out when he was focused on the spinal area.

And I just wanted to tell you good luck tomorrow, Z. We're all counting on you.

Randal Graves said...

Let me second the evil eyeball thing. Hope all went well and that you're recuperating with much legal-only-in-the-hospital substances.