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Out! Out, Damn Spot!

"You are braver than you believe,

stronger than you seem..."

~ Unknown


When I got to Summerlin Hospital yesterday, I went through the gauntlet at the front door, as everyone does. Have I been out of the country lately? Out of Las Vegas? Have I been in contact with anyone who tested positive? Have I a fever? Cough? Headache? Loss of smell and taste? A kiss through our masks, and Mike and I parted. A wonderful woman accompanied me to admitting since I was alone and shaking.


Again with the questions: Have I been out of the country lately? Out of Las Vegas? Have I been in contact with anyone who tested positive? Have I a fever? Cough? Headache? Loss of smell and taste? And a new one: Have I been tested for COVID-19?


Gina, my admitting nurse, called me back. Again with the questions: Have I been out of the country lately? Out of Las Vegas? Have I

been in contact with anyone who tested positive? Have I a fever? Cough? Headache? Loss of smell and taste? Have I been tested for COVID-19? I had to sign a paper stating that I had answered "NO" to all of those questions.


I knew why they did it, but it grated my nerves. Was I going to change the answer from one person to another? I almost answered "YES!" to the headache question the last time. Yes! Your constantly asking me these questions is driving me batty.


Dr. Elson, the anesthesiologist came in at some point. "You wrote you are 'terrified of anesthesia,'" he announced as he waved the sheet I had filled out. "So am I." I looked at him. "Why are you afraid?" He plopped into the chair next to my bed. I explained the problem I'd had when I had Jason, and he listened intently.

"That was 40 years ago," he uttered. "Things have changed. Have you not had anesthesia since then?"


"Look." I get tired of explaining my fear; I know I'm not the only one. "Just don't tell me what you're doing. Do it, and make sure I wake up when it's all over." He smiled at me.



"You're going to be fine," he assured me. "We'll give you Versed to relax you. I won't let anything happen to you."


Dr. El-Eid entered an hour later, and after going over specifics, she drew a purple "X" on my right collarbone. I had to sign that she marked me, and while I did, she talked to me about Italy. "I know how to calm you down," she laughed. She does. "When this is all over, you'll take me on one of your trips...but not this year....We have to fight this battle together first."


A letdown of sorts, but I'd rather get well. I thought of Italy after she left. Italy. Not cancer. Not that horrid thing I wanted out of my body. Italy. Pettorano. Bologna. Sulmona. Carunchio. Lucca. Venezia. Burano. The thoughts calmed me down.


Gina, my surgical nurse (not to be confused with Gina my admitting nurse) broke my reverie and wheeled me to Surgical Suite #1 (How many do they have?). I saw my mammogram on a screen, my surgeon staring at it, a few other nurses dancing around. Called to be at my side, Dr. Elson waltzed in as I slipped onto the table. Dr. El-Eid told a joke someone had just texted her. I woke up in another room two hours later.


Mike was waiting at the door when they wheeled me out. I could tell by the eyes above his mask and his overall demeanor that he was relieved. He told me Dr. El-Eid had called, and he had written it all down so he wouldn't forget. She told him she got it all out and that the node looked clean. Pathology would tell, but she was 99 percent sure she got everything. She assured him that everything was going to be fine.


She hasn't lied to me yet.


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