Sparkling Cyanide

“How are you, Tanya?” My plastic surgeon says, beaming his big smile as I sit across the desk from him. Mum is sitting next to me.
“OK, I think,” I say. This is the first time I’ve seen him this year. He looks jolly, as usual. It always cheers me up to see him.
“So, are we going to put some fluid in your expander then?” He says.
“Hope so,” I say.
“If you just slip your things off behind the curtain, then we’ll see,” he says.
Taking my top and training bra off, I hope that everything has healed enough for him to start filling the expander.
“That looks fine,” he says.
The plastic surgery nurse hands him the syringe. It has the most enormous needle on the end of it. Flinching, I look away.
“It won’t hurt,” he says. “You won’t have any feeling in that area.”
Moving the magnet over my skin, he finds the port and plunges the 10cm long needle into my chest. He’s right: I don’t feel anything. Pushing the plunger down, he pumps 60 millilitres of fluid into the expander.
“All done,” he says.
“Let’s just put a plaster on there,” the nurse says, pressing a plaster over the place where the needle went in.
Pulling my training bra and top back on, I sit next to Mum again.
“So, how many times will I have to have fluid put in?” I say.
“Depends,” he says. “The device holds 500 millilitres, so we can go up to that or…”
“Will you need to put that much in?” Mum says. “You’re very brave, darling,” she says to me, squeezing my hand.
“Well we want to get it the same as the other side,” my plastic surgeon says. “We’ll see.”
“So when do you want me to come back?” I say.
“Next week,” he says. “We’ll do it every week, until the expander starts to fill up and then we can change it to every two weeks.”
“Look at the size of the needle, Mum,” I say, showing Mum the needles on the nurse’s tray.
“You’re astonishingly brave, darling,” Mum says, kissing me on the cheek…

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