When hospitalized with a neurological condition diagnosed as Stiff Person’s Syndrome, I would often go into a spasmic shut down. Often these would lead to me passing out completely, lying unconscious for – must ask hubby as I wasn’t timing myself, that’s for sure.
Quite a few times, I was told, I was “out” and so unresponsive nurses expected me to die. I was warned that without supervision at home I could die after passin unconscious.
I think it may have been during those near final “outages” that I saw these two “screens” – just like the old 8-bit computer screens of the early 80s, and the final dot of light when black-n-white teles were switched off.
As a teen/young woman, I never seriously considered having a tattoo – “nice girls” didn’t have them (Only the girls who made their lives fun, I would wistfully, silently argue my upbringing.) However, it didn’t stop me staring at women’s tattoos –even going up to total strangers and asking for a closer look.
I liked the flowers in bud or full bloom, but not adorned with scrolls of wording.
In moments when I was mad at the word, I’d admire the blood-dripping-from-a-blade styles, but generally, I had neither the money to pay for a tat nor the guts to face-down my mother by getting one.
But now I can say – I have Two Tats! Both life savers at that. You see, when you have melanoma in the whole cluster of lymph nodes in your groin, which have to be surgically removed, there follows Radio-therapy. And to be sure the radiotherapy is aimed “spot-on” (forgive the melanoma gag there, folks) the lab nurses prep you with careful measurements, then tattoo you with two little dots.
When they gave me my two dots they offered to draw five petals around each to turn them into flowers. Sadly, the radiologist popped his head in and said “No time for that today, girls, we have a backlog.” So two dots it’s been, for years.
A few years later, though, the melanoma metastasised to the T6 vertebrae and I fought it off with radiotherapy (no tats that time for some reason), chemotherapy and immunotherapy (clinical trial of low dosage interferon aka Roferon to be self-administered over about three years) – and then the oncologists apparently quietly told each other I’d be “gone” by Y2K…
Some years past Y2K, I was with my GP and he said “time to check all your moles”.
I’m on the examination bed and his eye spots the dot tat six inches below the panty line.
He freaked! “What sort of mole is that?” and stepped out to get a senior nurse to bring in a medical text on skin oncology, and they’re flipping pages like crazy…
I asked what had got them in a tiz-waz– and they said “We’ve never seen a navy blue mole like that before.”
“Haven’t you?” I asked, enjoying their consternation.
“I’ve got another one up here,” and I showed them the second tat,
nine inches higher up, on my lower abdomen.
I waited just long enough for them to take it in and turn back to the text book.
But I couldn’t keep the humour quiet any longer.
I burst into laughter and reassured them – they were looking at those radiotherapy tattoos for lining up the machine.
They both sat down with a Thunk on their chairs. He stared at me, she glared at me, and for a while they said nothing. In the meantime I was chuckling out loud, which didn’t help their mood – I’m guessing a mix of relief and frustration?
…Well here I am thirteen years past That “use by” date, and so I am thinking –
“why the H- not?”
I have two designs I want. One is a signature I used to mark or sign all my property that followed me in to classrooms I taught in – a stylised owl, always different, but recognisable to all the students/pupils who would always return my “found” pen, calculator, folder…
The other is a logo I made for one of my online alter-egos, by taking a MS clip art from 2003 and recolouring it to match my moniker “Red Penn”.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the dot tats added to, to create the little flowers the nurses offered me back in 1992.