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.


Let’s run naked through these city streets (part I)

17 04 2011

Restless, I am restless. Again.

I thought I’d be over this by now. I know New York’s my city—where the hell else am I going to live?—so you’d think that knowledge would be enough to calm me.

It does not. Knowing there is no place else does not calm me.

Oh, I could certainly live elsewhere. Had I any knowledge of German beyond gesundheit and Gott im himmel and I’d give Berlin a whirl, and I wouldn’t mind a stay in Budapest or Prague. Or Paris, despite the cliche of, well, Paris.

But could I live, forever, in one of these places? Make them home? If I can’t make it here, I can’t make it anywhere.

Why is this? Is this the consequence of lookin’ to leave since I was thirteen? Bide time in SmallTown, live in Madison—love Madison, but know I have to leave, because to stay is to, I don’t know, to give up, somehow—live in Minneapolis, knowing I’d have to move to wherever I’d be lucky enough to land an assistant professorship, etc. Even when I moved to Boston, allegedly for my last move, I had a sense it wouldn’t take. It didn’t.

New York, however, New York took. It took awhile, but, man, this is it.

And I don’t know what to do with that.

It feels like a last stand, no more escape hatches or retreats across the desert, no more waiting for life to begin.

What am I still waiting for?

My life is more than halfway over and I’m afraid to let it be. I’m in the city I’ve dreamed of in that first escape plan, and I still feel like I’m on the run.

So I’m staying put and waiting and on the run, all at once. No wonder I’m restless.