Remember when things were just really easy? Like, you didn’t have a care in the world. You floated from one task to another with the ease and grace of a flower in the wind. No? You don’t? Welp, me neither.
So let’s move on.
So I have brain surgery, big whoop, right? Yes. Yes it was a very big whoop. But.. I did it. Well technically Dr. Spetzler did it. I just laid there. But still, I survived it. So it was behind me. And sure, I was in chronic pain, I had clear fluid pouring freely from my right nostril and everything in and around my mouth tasted like I licked the bottom of a stainless steel bottle. Still, I was rebuilding my body, my life, my health, my fitness. I may not have been making as sound of decisions as I am now, but I was walking against the wind and making decent progress. So then, just as things are settling out. I have Jason, I have my family (and my mom had made it through the worst of her recovery), I had my job, I had my 5 week old kitten (terrifying creature yet strikingly cute) and I had to have another surgery.
The conversation on the phone with Dr. Wright, who seemed both competent and kind, patient and knowledgeable, was quite matter of a fact.
“We think you should go ahead and come here and get that leak fixed,” He said.
“Oh, so I definitely need surgery?”
“Well, there’s a great risk of infection and given that your local doctor has left you to wait and see for healing for quite some time we think we are your best bet and surgery is what you should do. There’s a great risk for infection and there’s no reason for you to be in pain.” He replied to me calmly, without hesitation. He knew my case. He had done his research.
I didn’t doubt him, I didn’t second guess. I didn’t wait for a second opinion because frankly he was my second opinion and so I called the scheduler. She told me that Dr. Spetzler had a surgery time but no clinic time to meet with me. I was at a loss. I had to get out there before the doctor left town so that I could go back to school in the fall. I spoke and she spoke and we were both saying the same thing, “What if I/you meet with another doctor and Dr. Spetzler can still do the surgery?” We were clearly in agreement. Great, I have it! I celebrated over the phone, thanking the nice lady for working it out. Then, suddenly, I deflated and I said to her, “Aw man, this means I have to get surgery.” We had gotten so caught up in the excitement of planning that what we had planned didn’t occur to either of us. Though I think I got the short end of the stick because no one ended up cutting her head open at all. I hope she never has to face it.
The surgery prep felt like an uphill battle, with new residents guiding us in the wrong direction and a miserable appointment with a doctor who had no idea I had a surgery on the horizon despite that being the sole reason for our visit. His rudeness put me on edge. I felt myself worrying what he thought of me and my family. I felt judged and uncomfortable, unable to figure out how to act. We got stuck in it. Our voices went from celebration that we got on the surgery schedule and a desire to masquerade the surgery as a vacation by staying in a swanky hotel to a snide, heavy admonition of each other for not knowing how to handle the situation. It was a difficult day. It was just hard. The only thing that broke our fear induced impatience was the pain that consumed me all night and an inability to take anything for it. So we banded together. My parents, Jason, my family, we all stopped our fear and they made me hot towels for my head and the loving calls of support and cautious hopefulness began.
So now that surgery, surgery number 2, is again a moment in the past, something to put on my scouts badge, something that becomes woven into the tapestry that is my life. My familys life. Jason’s life. My friends lives. But I wake up in pain reminding me that the future is implicated by the past and we can’t erase only learn from it all. The present is all we have to control.
So in the present, on a whim and in the throws of falling in love, Jason and I got a cat. We named him Ridrod, he’s a baby. In my mind he simplified the unsimple. Comfort in the midst of pain. You see life threw our family and those around us a series of tragedies in the last year and we overcame, some we can’t even mention or name. We’ve face a lot, though we rarely show it, So Ridrod? He was just a happy distraction.
Well, he peed in my bed, on my gorgeous, brand new, got it on clearance and fanagled an extra discount for a tiny hole Anthropologie comforter. Just pee. In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal, maybe just a little insult to injury.
Considering the things I’ve seen between craniotomy and cat pee, that is kind of easy. Once you know what life can be, how hard and how tragic it can be, you begin to see the stuff that makes us feel like the beautiful breeze can’t blow your hair soothingly into the sunlight doesn’t matter. None of it matters. No amount of pee in the bed can stop our lives. Before and since surgery I have caught myself lost in the mundane and everyday. Getting stuck in it as I got stuck in the fear before surgery, Anxious about…Nothing. Really it’s all just insult to injury but it doesn’t matter. Don’t falter my friends, stay strong. Celebrate those moments big and small. I celebrated the moment they fit me in for surgery and while the magnitude of this second surgery didn’t register in my heart or mind, I celebrated. I celebrated because it meant that I, I get a chance to live. I celebrate our mundane conflicts, they mean we have one another to fight against. I celebrate my “boring” routine. I celebrate my challenging courses, I value my stress. It all indicates that I am here, living my second, or perhaps third chance at life. I even celebrate that stinky, nasty, icky, cat pee.
We may never have been as carefree as flowers in the wind but couldn’t we try to be? Lets start now and let our beauty shine.
Peace and love –