The next morning, I was fully awake and glad to see a breakfast tray of coffee and brotchen, butter, jam, and cold meat cuts arriving.
I had a tiny private room - just big enough for the hospital bed and its paraphernalia, and one visitor's chair. Built into the wall within arm's reach as I sat in bed, was a wee refrigerator, and a cupboard. I had my own bathroom. I was a private patient because of my American insurance. What I loved about my very very small room in this old building was the floor to ceiling window. The first floor window overlooked a tree-shaded path on the campus. I was aware of medical students with backpacks biking, walking, scurrying to this hospital in the morning. Later, I actually saw one or two of them on this station in their short white coats. As a high school teacher, I loved seeing these students, now beyond secondary school, which is where we want them to be going.
The day after surgery I was sent a physical therapist who showed me how to exercise my left arm while still in bed. But I did not remain in bed long. That day I walked the station, a short walk. The second day after surgery I walked the entire wing, discovered an interesting route back when I got lost.
In the meantime, dressings were changed and I discovered what I still had for a left breast. The nipple was gone, and most below it. The scar was harsh. Eighteen lymph nodes had been removed. I had two drainage bags, one from the breast, one from the the left axillary. Both bags were pinned to my t-shirt. In order to shower, I had to stand outside the shower and stick my head in to shampoo my hair, then stick in my arms, legs - keeping my chest etc absolutely dry. A challenge. On my surgeon's rounds that day I said to him, " I washed my hair in the shower this morning, all by myself." Said he, "Wow! So did I!" I looked at this athletic healthy man's short hair, and loved his humor! Bless him.