Monday, December 7, 2009

I have a new respect for pin cushions

I like to think of last Friday as the day I gained the perspective of one of my favorite tools............the pin cushion.  I couldn't work without mine, but then again, that's a sentiment that most textile artists hold near and dear.  We love our little bits of fluffy stuff that hold our pins so gracefully and so effeciently.  They never complain if we replace pins a bit too forcefully when we're frustrated with a project.  If they get smooshed under a wall when we're wrestling with a dollhouse on the work table, they don't whine about it.  After giving this some thought I've come to the conclusion that pin cushions might be the unsung heroes of the creative world. 

We do celebrate them.  We find fun and fanciful shapes for our pin cushions and collect them in all shapes and sizes.  We have different pin cushions for different jobs.  There's the wrist wrapper that's a must-have if you're doing a job that requires you move around or away from the table.  There are the sand filled cushions that keep our needles nice and sharp.  I even have a ring pin cushion that I wear on my finger when I'm doing silk ribbon embroidery and working with several loaded needles at the same time.  (and after the first time you jam one of those huge needles into your finger instead of the pin cushion, you learn how to pay attention to your depth perception!)

My very favorite pin cushion is a little black cat wearing a purple witch's hat.  He's in a crouched position like he's ready to pounce on something!  I use the hat more than any other part of him because I tend to feel really bad when I stick pins in his butt.  Every time I do that, I have a mental image of a black cat somewhere in China screeching in pain.  It's kinda creepy actually.

My other favorite is a little stuffed tea cup that my MIL gave to me.  It's so bright and cheerful because the cup is made with a fabric patterned with cherries.  Since it's a tea cup, it has a handle on it which is a very handy thing for a pin cushion to have.

I don't have a tomato pin cushion.  Those remind me of my mother and, well, let's just say that I'd rather not think of her when I'm doing something fun.  But I do know that the traditional tomato pin cushion with the attached sand filled strawberry needle cushion is a staple at one time or another for anyone who sews.  Show of hands here...........who started out with a tomato as their first pin cushion?  Yep, almost everyone.

I've seen some really spectacular pin cushion collections owned by seamstresses and quilters.  It's amazing how many different designs there can be for pin cushions!  Oh, and needle cases.  Now those can be truly awe inspiring!  If you ever want to see some gorgeous examples of textile art, google "embroidered needle cases" and see what you come up with.  Be prepared to drool.

The reason I developed this new respect for pin cushions was because they did the biopsy on my thyroid on Friday.  I was surprised that they got me in that quickly!  I've had a biopsy on my thyroid before, in fact it was on this same nodule, so I knew what to expect but they were a bit more thorough this time and I got a lot more holes punched in me.

I was a bit disturbed when two doctors and one pathologist all asked me the same thing at different times once they had the ultrasound up and going.  The question was, "They biopsied this nodule before?  What were the results?".  When I told them it was benign, every one of them replied, "Really???????"

I don't like it when medical professionals express incredulous surprise like that.  It makes me think they've just seen something I'd like to know about but they won't tell me.    Oh well, I'll find out when I get the results back later this week.

The other thing that was a bit disconcerting was the doctor first telling me that she was going to biopsy four of the nodules.  Then she got to looking at the ultrasound, had a whispered conversation with the us tech and the pathologist and then said she was going to just do one nodule but she wanted to get four different sticks from it.  Oooooooooooookay.  I was looking at the ultrasound too and decided that they must have taken a real liking to that nodule because with all those crystals in it, it looks like it's wearing sequins.  Maybe doctors like sparkly things too.

That nodule must have heard what she said because the little bastard kept ducking and rolling.  Personally, I didn't blame it for ducking....I'd like to have done the same thing but she had a grip on my throat like she was ready to wring a chicken's neck and was thinking about dumplings for dinner!  Finally she wedged her fingers under the nodule and held it in a death grip while she got the biopsies.  I would have liked to tell her I couldn't breathe when she was doing that, but when someone is jamming needles in your throat it doesn't seem like a good time to question their technique.

Needless to say I have some elaborate bruises on my throat.  It was pretty painful the first couple of days but today it only hurts when I yawn or cough.  I really shouldn't complain since a thorough biopsy is going to be helpful in the long run.

But that's why I have a new respect for pin cushions.  Lemme think..........there was the IV needle, then the novacaine shots, and then four sticks with the aspiration needles.  As soon as I got home, I went back to the studio and took all the pins out of the kitty cat's butt.  I don't know about the cat but it made me feel better.

I want to thank everyone for the comments to my previous post.  You guys are wonderful friends and I can't tell you how much your support and encouragement means to me.  It really, truly helps to know that I have so many friends to lean on.  Big hugs to you all!