Almost 3 weeks ago, my husband had a heart attack.  And I was afterward reminded of a few facts that all women (and especially those living with mastectomy) should consider. 

First of all, hubby is fine now.  It was a scary couple of days when it happened, with an evening in the emergency room, an amazing cardiac team being called to the hospital in the middle of the night to save him, and a week later, a bit more outpatient surgery.  We were blessed to have the local 'rock star' of cardiac surgeon's to tend him through it all, so he improved quickly & dramatically.  Although he is still living with a variety of other health issues that keep us both busy with doctors, (that part has been going on for years, so it's almost normal for us) my husband has his sense of humor back by now and we enjoy life together no matter what, joking about all the difficult parts to keep them in perspective.

So, what has all this got to do with mastectomy?  Well, a lot, if you're used to going through a certain degree of everyday routines without thinking much about it, and forgetting to stay prepared for the unexpected.  For one thing, as many of you know from reading this site, I prefer microbead breast forms in a version of a slip/cami. It helps lymphedema stay under control and the underarm scar-pain is MUCH less. 

That's what I USUALLY wear, but... on the day of his heart attack, I had decided to wear a new mastectomy bra style to test it out, with a pair of regular breast forms.  Not bad early in the day, but during the many hours later in the emergency room, as the arm started to get REALLY uncomfortable, I began to think that just MAYBE I'd consider keeping a slip-cami with microbead forms in the car for emergencies, if not in my purse, lol...  By 4 a.m., with a swollen arm and an achy body, I was considerably miserable.  Add to that, no sleep, no food, and a lot of worry. 

Imagine the picture... Hubby had finally been stable for a few hours and had drifted off to sleep, so I decided to dash home just long enough to change into something less painful and to feed & walk our little dog.  After a few blocks, I suddenly realized that the car was running out of gas and remembered that my cell phone battery was down, drat... and there was no one on the streets before daylight, and only a very few gas stations open.  I stopped at one of the few, in an unsafe area, and started to fill the tank, irritated at my unusual lack of planning ahead.

Looking up, I noticed what appeared to be some guys possibly looking over the gas station with robbery in mind.  They backed their SUV in toward the door instead of pulling in the normal way, looked around suspiciously, and nodded to each other, as if to say, 'the coast is clear, just some old lady out here'.  Do you know what my first thought was?  BRING...IT...ON... Do anything to get in my way of getting this gas and getting home to get out of this agony so that I can get back to my husband quickly, and I'll beat the living daylights out of you with this gas nozzle.  Funny how nothing scares you when you're in pain. It's probably the reason you should never reach out to touch an injured animal to help them, they'll BITE.  One of the guys looked as if he was going to walk toward me, but changed his mind when I stared him down.

So, dear readers, if you have ANYONE under your care who may need you to be thinking at your best, whether a husband, child, or grandchild, for heaven's sake plan for the unexpected.  If possible, always either dress for comfort to start with, or keep something comfortable in your car, because a cute new bra isn't worth the pain.  (Along about 12 hours in that blasted bra, I'd have given almost anything for a cami and the microbead forms.  The last thing I needed was a painful swollen arm to distract me from helping hubby.) 

As for keeping your gas tank full and your cell phone charged, well, that should be a no-brainer for anyone.  You do not want to be looking for gas when you need to be somewhere fast in a medical emergency.  Thank GOD we had made it to the emergency room quickly enough the evening before. If we'd ran out of gas on the highway earlier, especially without a fully charged cell phone, this story may have had a very different ending.

So, that's my little soap box comments for now, lol... just add this to your collection of things to remember to do, as if we women don't have enough already, right?  :^)