Yesterday, the 14th of October 2016, marked three years since I had Norris The Tumour removed from my neck. You may have noticed the scar on my neck in videos or photos. What on earth has this got to do with a rubber thong I hear you ask confusedly. Oh hang on, hear me out. fullsizerender

So, first off - I named my tumour Norris because those close to me found it very difficult to speak about a tumour. It was always referred to as "IT" or "You know, the erm..." as they motioned to their neck. Tumour was far too scary a word, and I wanted (and I suppose needed) to lighten the mood regarding the dreaded T word, as well as speak about what was going on, how I was feeling etc. Hence I named it Norris.

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I'd say things like, "oh Norris is being a pain today, he's really making me feel a little bit poorly" when asked how I was feeling and people would smile at the mention of such a ludicrous name. (No offence to any Norris' out there, you're wonderful I'm sure.)

I guess a part of me also felt bad that this thing hung over those close to me like a big angry black cloud threatening to ruin everything happy and fun. When someone laughed I would see them glance quickly across at me as if maybe, just possibly, they shouldn't be having fun. Then they would see my beaming face smiling back at them and their shoulders would instantly relax. I wasn't about to let Norris ruin mine or anyone else's life.

Although I did make light of it, we were all pretty worried regarding the operation.

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The day of the operation to have Norris evicted was looming close. As it happened my Grandparents were going to be visiting around the time. I desperately wanted to pick them up from the airport. After a few "you're really not well enough Peta" 's I hopped in the passenger seat of my mum's car and we set off for the airport. Once we arrived I got out and went to wait in arrivals. As I stood there my phone rang and the hospital's number flashed up on the screen.

At this point please can we bare in mind that it was VERY loud in arrivals and I was also pretty nervous regarding the op. (Yup, this is me coming up with every excuse under the sun to try and justify what happened next.)

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I answered the phone and the lovely nurse explained that there were a few things I'd need to bring in with me in my bag.

  • Clothing & Pyjamas for five days
  • A toothbrush
  • Things to occupy myself, maybe a book

....

and finally...

oh god I can't believe I'm actually telling the world this.

I heard "Oh! Y tangas de goma" - In English: "Oh! And rubber thongs."

WAIT...WHAT?!

She quickly ended the call and I stood speechless in arrivals. My Grandparents arrived and we drove home. I pulled my mum aside in the kitchen.

I explained that I'd been asked to take quite a few things in with me along with rubber thongs. I was so confused. Why would I need rubber thongs?! What was going to happen?! Why a thong?!

My mum stifled a giggle and went into the living room and asked the rest of my family (including my grandparents) if they'd ever heard of anyone needing a rubber thong in hospital. My Grandad's eyes bulged out of his head and my Nan exclaimed "A RUBBER THONG?!"

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My main concern was where on earth I was going to purchase a rubber thong. The chemist was as good a place as any to begin with, so I popped into town and went into the local chemist. It was busy, so busy in fact that there were five people working behind the counter and a huge queue.

It got to my turn and I tentatively asked if they had any rubber thongs, explaining that I was going into hospital for an operation and I'd been told to take rubber thongs in with me. The old man behind the counter couldn't believe his ears. He made me repeat myself twice.

He then turned around and shouted ACROSS the chemist to another member of staff "DO WE HAVE ANY RUBBER THONGS, THIS GIRL NEEDS RUBBER THONGS"

"RUBBER THONGS?! A RUBBER THONG?! A THONG MADE OF RUBBER?!" Came the reply.

Silence fell upon the entire chemist. Oh please god let the ground just swallow me up, right here, right now.

"YEP A RUBBER THONG! SHE NEEDS RUBBER THONGS." - He responded.

Other customers began whispering and nudging each other.

"What does she need a rubber thong for?" and "A rubber thong" could be heard behind me. I didn't dare turn around.

The old man then shouted into the back. "DO WE HAVE ANY RUBBER THONGS BACK THERE. THONGS MADE OF RUBBER. YOU KNOW, THAT SMALL KIND OF UNDERWEAR - SPECIFICALLY MADE OF RUBBER." 

"I'm sorry sweetheart, we don't have any" he said.

"Erm...that's okay, thank you..." I replied.

As I walked out, some of the customers started giving me recommendations on where I could possibly buy rubber thongs. I live in a small town and there is only one chemist in the town. I swear, that day the majority of the town was in that one chemist.

I left, bright red and still utterly confused as to where I was going to buy rubber thongs. I began to panic. I started scouring all of the shops in town. It was Saturday and my operation was on the following Monday, I knew that everywhere would be closed the following day and I genuinely started to think that they wouldn't operate if I didn't have rubber thongs. (I know, I know - let's just blame it on me being reallllly worried and not quite with it.)

In the end I decided to call the hospital back, I couldn't bring myself to say the words Rubber Thong one more time so asked if she could repeat the list of items on the list that I had to take in. Thinking that when she reached "rubber thong" I could ask where I was to purchase such a garment.

  • Clothing & Pyjamas for five days
  • A toothbrush
  • Things to occupy myself, maybe a book
  • "Chanclas de goma" - Rubber flipflops. 

Oh.

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

OH JESUS.

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I went home and broke the news to my parents, sister and grandparents, regaling them with my time spent in the chemist and that I didn't need a rubber thong, I needed rubber flipflops for the shower.

They cried with laughter and every time someone thought of it they'd begin laughing. We spent that evening and the day before my operation laughing and laughing about those two silly yet very important words that had been lost in translation.

Just this tiny silly thing made us all forget for a while about the serious situation we were to face the following day. It gave us something to laugh about and poke fun at. It was the best thing that could have happened and looking back still makes all of us giggle.

I hope it made you giggle too.

:)