Welcome back to this week's tour of the infirmary. Today we take Val's mom to get eight stitches removed from her face. A simple feat, you might think. But you are forgetting that we're talking about Val and her mom, out on the town, together again.
Mom hopped into T-Hoe with a bouffant to rival early Dolly Parton. "I didn't put any medicine on my face today. I figured I could do that after I get home." I could not even see Mom's incision. She had that hair all teased up with a silver metal rattail comb so it made a protective layer over her cut like a cone of cotton candy.
"That's probably not good for it. Those hairs are getting stuck in the stitches."
"That's all right. Those stitches are coming out."
In the waiting room, a pharmaceutical rep had the nerve to sit in the chair right next to Mom. Mom had already turned her body toward me, and the rep had turned away from Mom as well, to type into her drug-selling device. Mom fiddled with her hair on that side, twisting it and forming a barrier.
"I swear! Let it alone! What if you had this? THIS? This Frankenstein scar on your throat like me? That looks like my head is about to fall off. If you had that, you would part your hair in the middle, and tie both sides together down under your chin, like a beard."
"No I wouldn't. I would wear a scarf."
"It's ninety-five degrees out there! Deal with it like I do. A scar's a scar. It's part of you. People get used to it. Own your scar. If it was that big a deal, you should have asked for a plastic surgeon."
"Well, you have to understand, this is major surgery for me. It's the first time I ever had stitches. Except for the time I had that operation on my breast." She whispered that last word.
"Oh, and I suppose that didn't bother you at all. That you flaunted it. 'Look! Look! I have stitches! See my stitches?' Yeah. I'll bet you plopped it right out there for all to see."
"Yes I did." Mom sometimes gets a bit horsey when I take things too far.
She was called in, and I followed. She said I could. But when I instructed her to say, "Oh, you come in with me," when called, she refused. "You can come in if you want. But I'm not going to say that." Hmpf! I guess I DID go too far.
I had told Mom that the doctor would probably not take out the stitches himself. That he has people to do that for him. She said she would demand that he do it himself. That demand flew out the window when he popped his head in and told his nurse to do it for him. She was a tiny little thing with silky black hair (not unlike that of my sweet, sweet Juno--I wonder if this gal likes raw eggs) wearing fuschia sweatpants and a black knit shirt. So much for scrubs around the office.
"What ARE you?" Mom asked. Perhaps a bit politically incorrectly. The little gal had an accent.
"What do you mean?"
"Are you a student? A nurse? A nurse practitioner? Why do you do these things? Have you done them before or are you just learning?"
"I'm a nurse. I've done it before. Yesterday I had the BEST-LOOKING man! I had to clean out his ear. Still. I can look, can't I? I'm married, but I can look."
"Oh, when my late husband was in the hospital for heart surgery, there was a doctor who came to talk to me that was so good-looking that I didn't hear a word he said."
Fuschia told Mom to climb up on the table and lay on her side. She picked up the scissors the doctor had given her, and a pair of long tweezers. There was some debate about whether Mom had six stitches or eight. Mom proclaimed eight, but Fuschia said six. She was having a devil of a time getting ahold of those stitches.
"They are in so deep. Your skin has grown over them."
"What if you can't get them out?"
"Oh, I'll get them out!" Fuschia went off for better scissors, and returned with a pair that had curvy ends. "This should do it." By the time she was done, eight stitches lay on the exam table beside Mom. "I'm sorry, honey. I know that hurt. It's bleeding a little bit because they were grown in. Let me put some gauze over that for now."
Mom was a bit nervous, being back on her blood-thinner. It didn't help when Fuschia wiped with the gauze, and Mom saw it come away red. Fuschia put some alcohol on more gauze, and laid it on the side of Mom's head.
"Just lay there for a minute. You think THIS is bad? Let me tell you about the time I had stitches. All of my male relatives are ministers or preachers. I decided that I wanted to be a preacher, too. So I climbed up on the dresser, and was giving a sermon. I was walking back and forth, preaching." Fuschia walked her fingers along the edge of the supply table, back and forth, prancing, stomping. "I got to the end, and my foot slipped off the corner like THIS! And both feet flew off and I landed RIGHT ON THE CORNER! Do you know where I had to get stitches? RIGHT HERE!" Fuschia pointed to the area where her right leg joined the rest of her body. "Image a doctor taking stitches out, with his head right there! I was only twelve years old."
After we left the office, Mom said, "I really like her. She tells it like it is."
"No wonder. You two are just alike! You never know when to stop. Some things just don't need to be said."
Of course I had to tell that story to The Pony on the way home. His response?
"Ay yi yi!" With a palm to his forehead.