Yesterday's post was abbreviated by our call to reunite with our where's-my-mama?! little man, just coming out of anesthesia. He was very sober yesterday, though he spared a grin or two for his sisters when they came to visit. Today, he is again a lover of the world and everyone in it and has dee-lighted me with his joy.
Reuben hasn't had any complications and frankly seems more comfortable than he was before surgery (doubtless the narcotics are helping with this), as his tumor was a bit damaged and tender enough that he would flinch whenever I touched it. I'm happy to report that before I came to the computer this afternoon, I transferred that sleeping sweetheart from my lap to his crib without having to worry about entanglements with the IV pole; Reuben is now monitor and IV-free. He just has a couple of drainage tubes coming out of his chest, attached to a bag that exerts a gentle suction to pull out blood and fluids that we don't want pooling and inviting infection. Because there is empty space there, now, where the tumor used to be, where surrounding muscle and a few nerves and the tip of his right scapula used to be. It will be awhile before we know the cosmetic details, but I'll admit it's a bit sobering to see that those dressings just aren't as puffy as I had expected, because that underarm flesh is not as full as I am accustomed to seeing it.
It's not the scar that worries me. I would have troubles, I know, with facial disfigurement (our identities are so strongly linked that way, and I am fascinated by--and so admire--those who bravely face that journey like nienie), but I think scars are badges of courage. Our family has a great example of this from my 8-year-old nephew Drake, who was badly burnt when he was two, pulled through the very long (continuing) healing with honor, and now says his scars are his favorite thing about himself. I think our present's social tolerance will keep him from any trouble that way; our differences aren't as hidden as they were in the stupid 50s ("How can you hate an entire decade?" a friend asked me. Oh, I can. Can and will and do... so conformist and ostracizing and nasty...which I know is a ginormous generalization on my part, but I just get so tired of 50s deification in certain quarters that I overreact).
What worries me is facing the reality. We've lived in the land of maybe-this-and-hopefully-that-and-don't-really-think-about-the-other-or-you'll-implode-because-that-hole-in-your-heart-will-get-so-big, and now we are constructing the now. Now Reuben has an arm that he will never be able to lift high in the air because he no longer has the muscle that will pull it there. Now Reuben has a scapula that will not grow. And, happily, now he has a beautiful little hand with no discernable nerve damage. Now he has an elbow that works and a fat little forearm that is way too small for the available slings (hospital crafts have begun!) and a tumor-in-a-freezer instead of a tumor-in-a-shoulder. Fingers crossed and arms folded in prayer and heads lifted and thoughts directed to the hope that that tumor has lovely healthy margins. Then the now that is cancer can be over.
Awaking. Now he wants to play. Or eat. Most certainly, he wants the mama.