Don’t scroll down and don’t read this post if you are easily grossed out. This is about my wrist, which was the “donor” spot for the material that was used to reconstruct my tongue after the tumor was removed.
The irony, of course, is that a major portion of that tongue reconstruction was lost due to the infection I suffered post-surgery in the hospital. The fact that I have retained a fully functional if somewhat truncated tongue is mostly attributable to my obstinacy and linguistic obsession, so-to-speak. At least one portion of the reconstruction I literally swallowed one day, hardly noticing it, after the second surgery cut it off and left it like a hanging useless bit with nothing to do. I think of my original forearm-sourced donor flesh, only about 10% remains at the root of my tongue – unless I have misunderstood the doctors.
Those same doctors insist, however, that the transplantation, though not entirely successful, was still utterly necessary – as it gave my tongue a critical period when I could “retrain” it to stay straight and forward-pointed in my mouth. Otherwise, it may have healed curled into a knot at the back of my mouth and I would have lost a major portion of my function. I’m inclined to give the whole thing the benefit of the doubt, but recovering my forearm functionality is now a major obsession of mine.
My wrist seems to be healing well, though. Last night, I slept with no bandage on it, for the first time. I woke up with a sprinkling of scab-detritus around me but the wound itself remained solidly closed and fine. I’ve had no infection problems whatsoever at the wrist spot, and it causes only minor discomfort, more due to the severed nerves than due to any actual pain.
But looking at it is difficult. I may never feel entirely comfortable with it out in public – as Andrew remarked while I was still in the hospital, it looks like a small but vicious sharkbite scar.
Frankly, I think it looks like I received an implant made of Canadian bacon in my wrist, that was then crafted through clever scarification to look like a helium balloon floating away in the air. When I look at it, I think of ham.