There is no free lunch, dammitPosted: February 25, 2011 Filed under: breast cancer | Tags: breast cancer, cancer battle, DIEP, economics, hospital, margaritas, microsurgery, new boobs, no free lunch, opportunity cost, plastic surgery, reconstruction, seedy bars, tummy tuck 18 Comments
Some things just go together like peas & carrots, as Forrest Gump would say. Like idiot people & dumb comments. I’m still scratching my head about this one, but am putting it behind me and moving on. I’m trying, people, really trying, to smile sweetly and listen open-mindedly, but I don’t think I can stand it any longer. Do I really have to listen to one more person tell me how lucky I am to be getting “a free tummy tuck?” Reconstruction is serious business, people, and while I’m all for finding some good in a difficult situation, I AM NOT GETTING A FREE TUMMY TUCK. Yes, I realize I was shouting, and I apologize.
First of all, it’s not free. It comes with a whole slew of costs. While I may not be paying cash out of pocket, there are costs. Boy howdy are there costs. Any economist will tell you that even if something appears to be free, there is always a cost to the person or to society as a whole. I know this because I almost failed Economics in college and had sticky notes with econ principles taped all over my apartment that semester. (My near-failing grade had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the class was taught by a wickedly cute TA who made it hard to concentrate. Yes, we flirted, then I was stupid enough to assert that I needed to earn my grade in the class and not coast on his goodwill and the fact that we drank beer together a few times at a seedy bar. True story. So stupid. The assertion, not the flirting.)
This “free” tummy tuck comes with a hip-t0-hip scar; 6 Jackson-Pratt drains, 5 nights in the hospital; 4 weeks of sleeping upright and in a chair; not being able to raise my arms for a week; a ban on lifting anything heavier than 5 lbs for a month; and no workouts for 6 weeks. Oh, and if you’re wondering how soon I will be able to get back out on the tennis court…don’t. Don’t wonder, don’t bring it up, don’t ask. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even speculate. Got it?
Can we talk about opportunity cost? Please, let’s talk about anything other than how long I’ll be on the DL for tennis. While I’m not paying actual money for this surgery, there’s plenty of opportunity cost, which means that to get one thing that we want, we usually have to give up another thing that we want. This is the idea behind the “no free lunch” adage. We could delve into economic efficiency, utilization of resources, societal costs, and other economic principles, but we don’t need to because (a) they’re pretty boring; (b) I never really learned them that well in the first place because of the prof crush & beer; and (c) all we really need to know is there’s no free lunch. Plus, I think I burned the textbook after that class was over. Bad, really bad.
Yes, I will come out of this surgery with a flatter stomach (something I could easily get from more time in the gym, BTW). And, as my cousin Susie said, I’ll be waking up to a nice present (new boobs). Both are true. But they’re not free. I reminded her, and will remind everyone who will listen, that I was pretty happy the way I was.
I don’t know where this place is or who these people are, but after all this talk of economics and surgery stuff, I want to go there. I might even stand in line for an “extreme” margarita. Don’t know what that entails, but I know I want one. Or two. Maybe I can even get a free lunch.