On My Heart (A Series) … I Can’t Look


My bandage fell off in the shower this morning. It just let loose and started to slide down my front. I caught it before it fell to the floor. I’m not supposed to bend over to pick things up, and the one legged toe grab is probably not a good idea in the shower.

I could not look down at my scar. Now that the bandages are gone, I am supposed to wash it with Hibiclens antibacterial soap. I stepped out of the shower and tossed the bandage in the trash, then grabbed a wash cloth. I couldn’t bring myself to touch it either.

I’m not sure why the hesitation to see what I already know to be true – not seeing it does not change it. The reality may not be as bad as I imagine. Charles saw the scar when they took off the vacuum pack in the hospital. He didn’t faint or turn green, and I’m sure it looked worse then than it does today. But, still, I brushed my teeth standing to the side of my mirror and refused to look up. (Forgive the toothpaste spots, I’m not supposed to use my arms a lot).

I’m not a vain person. The dew fell off this lily skin many years ago, and appearances don’t factor in any significant way for me. I’m not concerned about how Charles will feel about it. We met each other when I was 48, there is no pain over lost youth or beauty. Plus he’s seen me after a couple of drowning accidents when I looked more like a dead blue fish than anything else. If he was in this relationship for my looks, he would have been gone long ago.

I think, after a while, couples must stop noticing the physical changes in their partners. He looks the same to me as he always has, except with a little more salt and pepper on top (which I find incredibly handsome). I’d like to ask my mother about that, but I can’t.

After the shower I dried and dressed without looking down. I know my entire abdomen is covered in bruises from the myriad drain tubes. They don’t bother me in the same way as bruises go away. In my mind, the scar is an 12 inch long whipstitched mountain range from my throat to my belly button. Just writing about it makes me queasy.

Is it important that I look? I can’t really go around avoiding mirrors for the rest of my life. One day I’ll have to put on a bra again, and that will require a certain amount of observation in the area. I need to find a way to make it something I can be proud of. I mean, I did go through a lot of time, effort, and expense to get it. This scar will most certainly overshadow the tiny scar at my throat from the cancer biopsy in 1992, and every once in a while I’m surprised when someone (not a doctor) asks me about it. It doesn’t annoy me, just surprises me.

So, the bandages are off and I can look at the Bovine Mountain Range any time I choose.

But not today. Not today.

03 comments on “On My Heart (A Series) … I Can’t Look

  • Kathy A Towry , Direct link to comment

    After you completely heal there is some lotion that you can put on your scar that will help, but it is something to be proud of “You are a survivor”, and the worst didn’t bring you down. You and your scar a testament to that, you are stronger than you ever realized and you have a story to tell to others that are struggling. Jim felt the same at first and now he good with his scar, however I do believe women are a little more vain, but Jim was a close second. I would lay my hand over his scar and tell him how proud I was of him and so thankful for him. We’ve. and I say “we” gently have been through two open heart surgeries, Jim is more handsome today than he was the day we married, with his pot belly, the limp he walks with, the wrinkles that time has given him, and his beautiful white hair and the scar down his chest, that “we” are so thankful for. When people look at him they see his strength and loving personality, he’s a survivor just as you are. Your scar in no way defines the loving person you are, and while you don’t like it, who would, Jim didn’t, but he’s been able to help encourage others as you will do. Hang in there sweet girl, and when you’re ready you’ll come to terms with just how wonderful your scar is. Sending love and continued prayers your way.

  • Sheryl owings , Direct link to comment

    I know how good you are doing please take your time getting better. You take all the time you need .I probably look down but not in the mirror it’s ok my grandmother told me the seaport bra was good she had git it size bigger than she needed. I think you need get a tattoo of a zipper down your chest like next year be cool

  • Cheryl , Direct link to comment

    You are such an inspiration! Whenever you decide it’s time, go for it! I’m just so thankful you’re still with us to make this tough decision! ❤️

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