Cut it up

25 07 2020

Surgery over.

It wasn’t bad, all things considered. I got there at 6, was home before 1—and that included the time it took to get my prescription.

I mean, last week I had a second biopsy uptown that ended up requiring an MRI, and that took me even longer, so, really, no complaints about the time.

Because being sick takes a lot of time. That biopsy, for example: half of the time was spent waiting, and even on Thursday I spent 1 1/2, 2 hours waiting. Waiting to get processed. Waiting for the pregnancy (!) test results. Waiting for the radiologist. Waiting to talk to the nurse, the anaesthesiologist, the surgeon, just . . . waiting.

And then it was done.

A strange feeling, to walk into the OR—which, in stark contrast to all of the dim imaging rooms I’d been in, was bright and busy—climb on to the table, put out my arm for the IV, hear them telling me what they’re doing, and then verrrrrrrry slowly waking up, later.

It was that kind of wake-up where you think, I should be awake, but you just can’t, so you close your eyes again; you repeat that a couple of times, and then, and then you’re really awake, with the nurse offering you water (“Do you want it warm, or cold?”) and saltines.

And at some point you notice you’re wearing a surgical bra.

I don’t know why I find that odd—it helps to keep the swelling down—but the thought of them dressing me in a bra while I was unconscious, well, I find that, I don’t know, kind of remarkable.

It’s not, I know. Maybe because it’s such an ordinary thing after what was, to me, an extraordinary event; maybe because I haven’t been dressed by anyone since I was a small child; regardless, that small act has stayed with me.

The ride home wasn’t fun. My mom had suggested I bring a plastic bag with me, just in case; I didn’t use it, but my nausea didn’t fully subside until today. Saltines and ginger ale have been my mainstay. And while acetominophen works well enough during the day, I find the Percocet helps overnight.

Oh, and not that I recommend cancer, or any kind of surgery, to anyone, but if you do get sliced open, check if they’ll seal you up with surgical glue. I apparently have internal stitches, but externally? Glue. I was able to take a shower the next day, and wound care is a breeze.

I’ve got some nasty bruising, but no blood.

As for what’s next? Heal from this, and then, pathology results willing, radiation—and no chemo.

Not looking forward to that, or to sorting through my insurance and the hospital bills which have already begun arriving, but, whatever, I’ll deal with it. And if I do need chemo? Well, I’ll deal with that, too.

I mean, I’ll bitch about it, because of course I will, but in the meantime: keep on keepin’ on.





War, what is it good for

11 09 2013

I’d long thought the whole Obama-as-master-of-11th-dimensional-chess gig was overblown.

One, all presidents engage in an insanely complicated matrix of gamesmanship, having to deal with the House, the Senate, governors, his own party, the opposing party, bureaucracies, the courts, monetary institutions, corporate institutions, the economy, interest groups, constituents, the UN, NATO, other regional and international institutions, international allies, international adversaries, nongovernmental organizations, and sundry other non-state actors. For starters.

Two, President Obama isn’t always, or even mostly, a master. He is smart and patient and willing to wait for whichever adversary to stumble, but it’s not as if his patience has always served him well (repeated attempts at compromise with Congressional Republicans), nor that he’s never stumbled (debt ceiling negotiations and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts). That he’s pretty good at recovering from his stumbles (and his opponents so terrible at recovering from theirs) has tended both to diminish the stumbles themselves and magnify his alleged mastery.

The situation in Syria seems to me a case of stumble-recovery. I didn’t think the drawing of the “red line” regarding  chemical weapons use was that big of deal, not least because there were multiple responses besides that of a military strike. (And as for the alleged loss of presidential/American credibility, well, christ, if actual air strikes on Qaddafi didn’t deter Assad, why would threats do so?)

No, the problem was with the immediate jump to the military option; all subsequent “messaging” problems flowed from the ill-conceived decision to bomb Iraq. That was the stumble.

Secretary Kerry also hasn’t been great in all of this, but whether his statement about Syria turning over his cache was off-hand or not, the fact that Syria and, more importantly, Russia, took him up on it, gave Obama the chance to recover.

Which he took.

We’re still in the midst of trouble,  of course, but there’s now the possibility—not the certainty—that those troubles will lessen rather than increase. The dread “optics” on all this have been lousy, but I’ll take shitty optics with a decent outcome over the reverse any day.