As I was mentally preparing myself this morning for today’s stent insertion (which included a fair amount of leg-shaving and heel-moisturizing), I was struck by the irony of my repeated exposure to complete strangers.
I’ve always been a fairly (all right, extremely) physically shy person. Not that I won’t hang out in a bathing suit (tanning is more important than modesty), but for the most part, changing in locker rooms, getting nekkid for physicals, etc. have never been something I’m comfortable with. I’m definitely not the lady who leaps dripping out of the shower after her workout, toweling her hair and launching into conversation with her friend at the makeup counter, for instance.
So I can’t help but chuckle/wince/shudder at the amount of time I’ve spent completely bare in front of complete strangers over the last few years. It started with childbirth, certainly, but at least the L/D nurses closed the door of the bathroom while they helped me change after the process was over. I remember being prepped for my first surgery in 2006, feet in stirrups, gown at waist, while OR nurses, medical residents (some of them really cute guys) and assorted personnel kept coming into the room and introducing themselves to me. I finally said, “Is it just me, or is it a little drafty in here?” They got the point and grabbed a blanket.
But once you’ve been cut open from stem to sternum, there’s just no privacy any more. After my last big surgery in 2007, I remember the (delightful, sensitive, thoughtfuln’t) surgical residents popping into my room at 5:30 AM for rounds, cracking on the overhead klieg lights, ripping off my blankets and having a look-see at my incision before I had even opened my eyes. (I did NOT bake cookies for the surgical residents.)
And today, a cute man I’ve met with for approximately twenty minutes will be inserting a stent…well, you know…while I’m unconscious and naked from the waist down. Just another one of those things I have to let go…