This morning, I had to undergo a 30-minute-long surgical procedure to remove the second occurrence of basal cell carcinoma on my left shoulder. Because it came back after being burned away a few years ago, the doctor was very aggressive this time, and I now have a cool 3-inch-long-ish incision stitched up along the top of my collarbone. (Help me think up a good story, you guys!)
I’ve decided to think of all my skin cancer removals as skin tightening (a.k.a. plastic surgery “tuck”) procedures, and am focusing on how firm and youthful all of the future areas in which I develop skin cancer and have chunks of skin and flesh removed will be.
Because: 1.) You’ve got to find your place on the Bright Side, people. The Dark Side sucks and the snacks aren’t as good. (It’s all Blood Brownies and Puke Pie over there. We get Rainbow Cookies and PB & JOY Sandwiches on the Bright Side.)
And: 2.) My biological father has had so many skin cancers removed he’s lost count, so it looks like this is going to be one of my health issues. And that’s fine, because we all have our issues, and you deal with them and move on. To quote my son’s preschool teachers: “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.”
So yeah. I took 2 Xanax to stay calm and was still shaking during the procedure, which I “hid” by clamping my jaw shut, tightly holding my own hands across my stomach, and becoming covered with red, blotchy hives. Because of the cancer placement, the doc had to scrape my shoulder bone with the knife, which I could feel and was mildly unnerving. I mostly just don’t like to be awake during surgeries. I would be put to sleep for every medical procedure if possible, even minor. I love anesthesia. I experience none of the wake-up nausea people sometimes have, and I always wake up giggly and happy. Isn’t that weird?
When they cauterized the wound, they turned on a vacuum to suck up the smoke. Did you know that? There is a company that makes Human Flesh Burning Smoke Vacuums. Did you also know that human flesh burning does not smell like ham as I have always imagined, and actually smells closer to that icky human hair burning smell. I was so disappointed. I wanted to smell delicious when cooked.
So that was over, and I drove to the pharmacy to fill the prescription for 12 Tramadol pills because once again, a doctor wouldn’t give me Percoset, which is the pain reliever that works best for me post-surgery with no bad side-effects. And gee, thanks for the 12 pills. Whatever you do, don’t get crazy and round up to, like, 15 or anything. Jesus. Pain control is an important part of the healing process, doctors. Yes, there are drug addicts who fake pain to get these drugs, but people who’ve just had surgery aren’t faking. And you know how you can tell? BECAUSE YOU JUST DID THE FUCKING SURGERY. YOU JUST CUT MY BODY OPEN AND TOOK OUT FLESH I WAS BORN WITH USING A SHARP SCALPEL, AND THEN SEWED ME SHUT LIKE A RAGDOLL, AND THAT HURTS.
(Sorry. I had to fight my ob/gyn for a second bottle of Percoset post-hysterectomy/oophorectomy and whatever the Latin name for cervix-ectomy is, and I’m still bitter.)
On the way to the pharmacy, I was behind a giant white older model Dodge truck with a camper shell with two big redneck-ish guys. It had black tribal-tattoo-style designs on the upper front window. They were doing 5-10 under the speed limit and I wanted to get to the pharmacy in a timely manner to get the pain meds before the shoulder anesthesia wore off. So I decided to pull into the left lane to pass them.
They did the pissing contest “suddenly speed up by 10 MPH so you can’t get in front of me” maneuver, but my right turn was coming up so I sped up and squeaked into the spot. They got UP on my ass so close that all I could see in my rearview was giant white vehicle and redneck rage, then backed off. I’ll be honest: it worked. I was scared. I sped up, turned right, they followed.
I drove 10 over the speed limit, which I don’t normally do, just to increase the distance between us, because angry road rage people here have lots of guns but not a lot of brains. It’s Oklahoma, after all.
I left them far behind, watched them turn left, breathed a sigh of relief and continued on to the pharmacy. It took 15 minutes to fill my pain med prescription, so I wandered around the store, buying food I shouldn’t eat and post-it notes, got my drugs and went to my car.
I drove out of the parking lot and onto a busy main road that has construction happening on it and realized my back right tire was completely flat. As in, “you’d better pull over quickly or you’re going to damage your wheel” flat. So I pulled into the first nice neighborhood I saw.
Someone had knifed the side of my tire while I was in the CVS pharmacy. Clean stab to the sidewall. I could stick my finger in it. I wondered if the guys I pissed off got done with whatever errand they turned off to do, were driving by this pharmacy, saw my car parked alone, in the front spot (lot was very empty- I would be completely visible from the road) and decided to pull in and get chickenshit revenge on the girl who dared to try to go the speed limit rather than the 5-10 under they were doing. (I mean, how dare I want to do such a thing?)
So I called our insurance’s emergency roadside assistance number, they sent help and he was such a sweet guy and got there 15 minutes early, my tire got changed, my husband came home from work to take my car to get a new tire and told me to call the CVS to see if they had a camera in front where I parked.
I got an amazingly helpful lady with a strong sense of justice who reviewed the tape and told me that, yep, about 30 seconds after I parked and walked in, the same distinctive older Dodge truck with a white camper and black tribal tattoo-style designs across the top of the front window pulled into the spot next to me, one guy got out and stabbed my back passenger tire, got back in and they drove off.
So they faked turning off the road we were on to throw me off… and then turned around and got back on it to follow me, because she said they were about 30 seconds behind me on camera. Which is sooooooooo creepy. They totally followed me in a sneaky way. What if I’d driven straight home?
They backed out, so no license plate, but the police officer with whom I filled out the crime report said that the distinctive car might help us catch them. I know I’m not getting the satisfaction of a quick bust, but at least these pussies who cowardly follow women in tiny Nissan Versas with car seats into parking lots to slash their tires might get pulled over, questioned about it, and be less likely to do it to another lady. Ugh. Why you got to be so mean, people? (Honestly, I would have slowed down and just let them get in front of me if I’d noticed they were speeding up to not let me in sooner. It was one of those split second decision things where you can pull into the spot or not make it into the right lane in time to make your right turn, if that makes sense? I didn’t mean to be aggressive.)
Anyhow. While I waited for help on the side of the road with my newly-stabbed flat tire, two separate nice older men offered to change it while I waited for roadside assistance, and one man who lived in a nearby house brought me a bottle of cold water while I waited in the heat with my surgery gauze on my shoulder, wishing I could just finally get home and relax after a stressful morning. He told me, “If they don’t get here soon, please come over to our house (across the street) and wait inside with my wife and me. It’s hot out here.” Isn’t that so sweet? So people are good.
And the fellow who came to change the tire was early and nice and friendly and fast. So people are good.
And the nice employee at CVS who reviewed the video footage, and walked the officer back to review it, and then told me she’d have their security guy burn a copy and deliver it to the police with my case number was awesome. (I love you, Emily! Thank you for helping me! You are a great human! I am sending “I hope you have a wonderful life” vibes your way forever!) So people are good.
And my husband came home from work early to get a new tire on my car for me so I could rest and brought me lunch and drove my drugged-up ass to the CVS to file the police report and he treats me like a princess and I love him. So people are good.
In short: Haha, you woman-bullying, car-stabbing cowards in the ugly truck… you didn’t win. Because rather than making me feel and share the hate and anger you must feel inside over your tiny penises to be able to do something so chickenshit as to follow a lone woman into a parking lot and vandalize her car, I instead felt nothing but grateful for the kindness of so many people who helped me today and renewed my faith in humanity. You didn’t win. I still believe that people are good.
You didn’t win.
Because you still have to be the sad, cowardly, pathetic people you obviously are, and I get to be loved and treated with kindness by good people I don’t even know. What you did today to try to pull me down to your level and make me feel as bad inside as you do actually made me feel better about my community and the people in it and the world. Because we are all a community. And we are all connected. And there are so many more good people in our world community than bad people. We are blessed to have each other.
I truly pity you. It must honestly suck to be you. I’m really sorry you feel so bad inside that you could do such a rotten thing to someone you don’t even know. My eyes are actually watering tears of sadness for you as I type this. Because you must feel so unhappy inside. And I don’t want that for anyone. Not even after what you tried to do to me today do I want that for you.
Also: Thank you for choosing that particular tire, because I have had to have it patched twice after picking up a nail/screw in the past few months, and I needed a new one anyhow.
And thank you, tire-stabbing cowards for the inspiration to learn a new skill. Because while I stood on the side of the road feeling helpless (as I have always had a boyfriend to change my tires for me so I’ve never learned how, and just had shoulder surgery, so attempting it was not an option for me today), I decided that I hate feeling weak and helpless more than just about anything in this world.
So once my shoulder heals, I’m going to invest in a good jack and have my husband teach me how to change my car’s tires. And then I’m going to practice on them until I can change one as fast as possible. Because I have a child to protect and I’m a grown-ass woman and I should be able to change a damned tire at my age.
Anyhow… how was YOUR day, my friends? 🙂