Raucous laughter at our friendly neighbourhood onco unit last week when I happened to ask if they knew why my left (the side on which the good surgeon chopped out a dozen armpit lymph nodes) hand and wrist now looked like a string of giant bratwurst sausages.
"How many hours did you say you were doing per day writing that book of yours?" snorted one of the nurses. I told her. "And you're surprised? You're lucky your whole arm isn't the size of one of those French horsehair bolsters. Here, take this video home and watch it."
Off I trotted, antique VHS format videocassette in hand, wondering if we still had a VHS player in the house and if so whether the cats had walked on the controls and reprogrammed/ruined it like they did to my fax machine. My son sneered down his nose at this ancient piece of pre-technology but obligingly rummaged in the attic for a VHS player and hooked it up. We settled down to watch the show.
Now, the VHS technology might have been pure 1980s but the model chosen to demonstrate lymphedema massage was straight-out-of-the-noughties Politically Correct; a post-mastectomy man, poor chap. However the fact that he was a big, fat middle-aged fellow with body and chest hair the texture of Sherwood Forest didn't help me to understand the technique. I found it tricky to relate the places he was stimulating on his thicket of coarse Norwegian Pines to the equivalent places on my still half-bosomed, hair-free chest. The voice-over narration droned on incomprehensibly, the script no doubt having been written by an expert (they're the last people who should ever write training or explanatory material, because they know too much.)
Three times we watched the video and with each showing I became more confused. "Do we have to watch this again, Mum?" asked my son through clenched teeth as I reached for the video player once more. I pulled the cassette out of the machine and said no.
"I guess I'll just have to be FatFingers," I grunted. But then I remembered a friend of a friend who is a Lymphedema nurse ... aha, the lovely Yvonne. She will be getting a call from me very soon. In the meantime I just wish there were a pill I could pop to shrink my giant bratwursts ... to regular weiner (frankfurter) size would be good. In the meantime, here are some other pills for women to pop that can make us all feel a little better...
~~~~~~~~~~D A M I T O L
Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 hours.
St. M O M 'S W O R T
Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.
E M P T Y N E S T R O G E N
Highly effective suppository that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.
P E P T O B I M B O
Liquid silicone for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and improves flirting.
D U M E R O L
When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low I.Q. causing enjoyment of country & western music.
M E N I C I L L I N
Potent antibiotic for older women. Increases resistance to such lines as, "You make me want to be a better person ... can we get naked now?"
B U Y- A G R A
Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.
Extra Strength BUY-ONE-AL When combined with Buyagra, can cause an indiscriminate buying frenzy so severe the victim may even come home with a Donnie Osmond CD or a book by Dr. Laura.
J A C K A S S P I R I N
Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary or phone number.
A N T I-T A L K S I D E N T
A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers.
S E X C E D R I N
More effective than Excedrin in treating the, "Not now, dear, I have a headache," syndrome.
Love to all