It might even be a novel idea, or a goal, to work our way through day-to-day without creating, or contributing to, a flap. I’m talking about flaps that tend to stir things up. On the other hand, one could argue that periodic feather ruffling is a good thing, which ends up sharpening our senses.
If I were a thinker of the philo type, I might continue this flap thought as a metaphor — relating it to a window into how we grow. But instead, and because I’m not that thinker, I’ll just elaborate how I eliminated a recent flap.
When I had the side of my face re-done in August, replacing part of the mandible with my fibula involved building a scaffolding type structure on my neck (they) called a flap.
During the first week after the operation, they pricked it almost every hour to make sure it bled. It was a window into the health of the fibula transplant.
The flap was skin from my lower leg which had micro-vascular veins attached. It was the size of a half-dollar stretched oblong. But it looked like a weird growth, almost like the tip of a tongue protruding out of my neck.
Not that I minded having a piece of leg on my neck. It was just that it bit into my neck and felt uncomfortable. Its purpose was spent. It was no longer functional except that it was a part of my neck. And it was stirring things up in my head. So, what do you do when a flap is uncomfortable? What else, you get rid of it.
Last week I had a six week follow-up with the surgeon and asked him ahead of time if he could take out the flap during the visit. He said, “probably.” Getting it cut out was an option, I was told. Evidently, they don’t take out a lot of them in the office, because the head-nurse, after 1.5 years working there, had never seen one taken out.
After the surgeon closely inspected my neck, he said he’d do it and asked if I was ready “for this.” Ready? What was I not to be ready about? It was the start of Thanksgiving holiday and I had already given thanks for the flap. It was time to give thanks to its disappearance. So he had the staff prepare the stuff they were not familiar preparing. Then he poked me with a local several times, got the scalpel out and went to work. It was out in no time. The electrostatic cauterization process afterwards made the room smell like burnt flesh. When that was done, he pulled the skin together and proceeded with his handy dandy needle work. He told me he saved me a trip to the OR. We were both thankful for that.
Before I knew it, I was back at the office in a meeting with a patch over my neck covering up the latest surgical operation.
I’m flapless again, at least for a while. And in the spirit of this holiday, I’ve given thanks for all flaps out there wether they are functioning or simply hanging around. In the meantime though, I’ll focus on making as few new ones as possible.