I swear that whenever I venture out into public I hear people humming that song "Who Let the Dogs Out (Woof Woof Woof Woof)?"
It could be that I am just overly sensitive to the resemblance of my trach apparatus to a dog collar. When you combine my trach collar with a tongue that is too swollen to stay completely inside my mouth, I guess I look more canine than human, especially if my G-tube is drooping behind me like a tail.
It really is time for me to permanently incorporate scarves into my wardrobe.
When I carped about scarves in this blog recently, I owned only one: a cute lil' number that my prescient brother and sister-in-law sent to me last Christmas, long before I knew that a head-and-neck surgeon would be poking a hole in my neck in the new year.
Since then, my scarf options have grown.
Early this week, I discovered a scarf in my sock drawer, a relic from a brief period in the early '80s when I fancied myself as a New England preppie.
Then one day I opened my mailbox and saw a package from Ginger Brewlay, an icon from AIDS/LifeCycle and a tireless advocate of AIDS causes.
If you have never met Ginger Brewlay, you just don't know what you're missing. Here is a photo of Ginger on Day 2 of AIDS/LifeCycle 7, and here is a photo of her and my dear friend Beau near the peak of Quadbuster on Day 3 of ALC 7. And here is a photo of Ginger horsing around with my friend Jim on Day 5 of ALC 7.
You see the wigs that Ginger is sporting in those photos? After Ginger learned that I had cancer and would begin radiation and chemotherapy soon, she wrote: "If for some reason you lose your hair, no worries, I'll work my magic on some wigs and hats for you, you'll be just fine. Being in DRAG for a day could be fun! Give it a try. Ha-ha!"
When I opened the package from Ginger, I found a beautiful eggshell-colored scarf with a shiny star embroidered on it, and a card from her that said "Here is one of my scarves that I have put a star on. You are a brilliant star crossing our universe. Wear it in good health!"
I decided that the scarf would be what I wear on my first day back to work.
Just a few days later, I opened my mailbox to discover another package from Ginger Brewlay.
This time, there was a note from Ginger saying that she was cutting hair a day earlier, and spoke about me to a friend named Jim who crafts some of Ginger's skirts and dresses, including this dress, which Ginger wore on a World AIDS Day bike ride in 2007.
"[Jim] gave me this scarf for you to hide the trach," Ginger wrote. "Bring some color into your day!"
The scarf Ginger's friend Jim made is a gorgeous rhapsody of red, yellow, purple, blue and black, and it even has his signature on it. I'll wear it on my second day back at the office.
I'm lucky to have friends like Ginger and Jim looking out for me and boosting me up the fashion ladder and keeping me from looking like a model in the Petco catalog.
If only Mr. Blackwell were still around, I'd have a shot at landing on his best-dressed list.