Monday, 8 June 2009

A Strange Contraption

Mr Hadjiminas arrives bright and early, Nurse Honoria trailing in his wake. He gives my torso the expert once over and mumbles to Honoria “36C.”* Honoria buzzes out of the room. Mr H changes all my bandages and by the time he’s done that, Nurse Honoria is back with a device that looks like a cross between a sports bra and a straitjacket.

“This,” says Mr Hadjiminas, “is a compression bra.” He and Honoria carefully manoeuvre the contraption around my ribcage. They engage the huge zipper in the front and then fasten the thick Velcro shoulder straps securely in place. The compression bra is completely seamless and made out of a thick but soft stretchy fabric. It hugs me firmly right down to the bottom of my rib cage. For something that looks so formidable it is remarkably comfortable.

When Flossie arrives I’m sitting up in bed proudly showing off my new, very white, compression bra. “Oh,” gasps Flossie, “I want one of those!” “Think about it Flossie,” I say, “you really don’t.”

* Before they fitted the compression bra I pointed out to Mr Hadjiminas that I am actually a size 36A. “Oh this will fit,” he said, “the surgery will have caused a lot of swelling.” He was right. He always is. On the same subject: when Iris heard that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer she is reported to have said “What do you mean Lily has breast cancer? She doesn’t have breasts.”