When I was in the hospital giving birth to Widget and then, later, Little Bear, I was so excited to check in. WonderDaddy and I went to the registration desk, filled out the paperwork, and got a small white identification bracelet to put around my wrist for the duration of my stay. You know which one I mean — if you gave birth in a hospital, you got one too. Then, when the baby was born (at last!), he got a tiny one to match, or maybe two, one around each foot, and it was a source of endless amusement, the tiny identification bracelet with bar code, as if he were a sack of potatoes that we’d just picked up at the market, and then the delight when we compared ours and his and confirmed that they matched.
Of course the bracelets are not a phenomenon of childbirth. Every week when I went for chemo I got one too. Not as exciting, somehow, the yellow striped bracelets that were double-checked when I checked in, when I was given the first bag of premeds, and when I was given the chemo infusion. Every week, as we left through the heavy double doors, I paused for a moment and ripped off my hospital bracelet, tearing it to shreds, and stuffing it deep into a pocket of my jeans for destruction at home.
I thought I was done with them for a while.
But today I went down to the hospital for last-minute preop tests (you’d think they’d tell you about that before the actual last-minute) and scans, and what did they do first? You guessed it; I got yet another hospital I.D. bracelet. But this one I didn’t mind so much. I left it on during the blood draw (Yes, I fainted. But you might too if the first two draws didn’t produce any blood that flowed, and the third one, on your wrist, had to be coaxed to get enough blood to flow out and into the tube). I left it on during the chest x-ray. I left it on when I walked out of the hospital, and I left it on on the ride home on the Metro.
I have to admit, it’s still on my wrist, five hours later. It doesn’t chafe me as much as the chemo bracelets did, somehow. I suspect that I’m tolerating it much better because of the DATE on the bracelet: 1/22/08. The date of surgery. They’ll give me a new one when I arrive at the hospital on Tuesday morning, but for now, I’m leaving this one on. It reminds me that I’m going in for surgery in FIVE DAYS, and then all this suspense will be over. Or at least lessened. They will cut the cancer out of me and I can move on with my life (after I get the path report and after we do radiation, but who’s quibbling?).
Reason #5 to look forward to surgery? No more bracelets, and my Thursdays will NOT be my chemo days. They will be just another day, like any day, and I resolve to live them to the fullest.