Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Perfect Sickroom Cat

The surgery began at 2, concluded at 4, and Tom fetched me home in a CarShare car about 6:15 that same evening. Rather amazing. In the operating room, Carole King was playing, and I grumbled, “I forgot to bring my Metallica CD.” Dr. M. said, “You don’t mind if we listen to Carole King, do you?” I said, “If it makes you calm, go right ahead,” and behind me, I could hear someone, perhaps the anesthesiologist, singing along.

I had the driest mouth of my life during the short car ride home. Tom saw me inside and unlaced and removed my shoes, which I could no longer reach, way down there on the floor. For the next 36 hours, I lay in bed a lot and took either Vicodin or three Advil every three hours, and then figured out that the Vicodin itself was probably the main thing making me feel terrible. I also was taking this, that and the other hippie supplement, based on advice from various sources, and decided most of that was also a mistake; some of them made my head swim.

One thing I did right: Going to the library in the days before surgery and bringing home a big stack of memoirs and novels. It’s ended up being rather pleasant, having such a short to-do list for each day. All I really have to do is a tiny amount of stretching, meditate for a token five minutes (lying down if necessary), feed Hammett, and clean his cat box. He has proven to be the perfect sickroom cat, sitting quietly at the periphery of the room with a grave expression on his face, until I ease myself into bed, when he slithers in between my arm and my body and goes to  sleep. He’s also refrained from walking on my incisions.

Besides the few required activities, I’ve been reading, being on the computer some, talking to people on the phone. My mother has been very helpful, having had nearly the same surgery in April. Carol Joy sent a big bunch of carnations, which smell and look wonderful. David and Lisa called from Seattle both before and after surgery day, and sent a card.

As early as two days after surgery, I went outside and slowly hobbled a few blocks with Tom. Yesterday evening I went on a particularly nice walk in the balmy early evening, a splendid breeze blowing. This walk took me past every apartment I’ve lived in since 1983, and also past the Bi-Rite Creamery on 18th Street, which for the first time didn’t have a line out the door and nearly to the end of the block. I’ve always thought that it must be very good ice cream, but not worth standing in that kind of line, and I don’t think I ever will stand in that line, but since I could walk right in (about 5:30 on a Tuesday, if you want to know the magic time of week), I did, and got a scoop of ice cream, and it was actually the best ice cream I’ve ever had, the most intensely rich and flavorful.

I got to thinking that there are those who live in this neighborhood and those (very, very many) who visit and spend money, and it is largely because of the latter that we have such an incredible profusion of wonderful places to eat and drink, and for the first time, I felt grateful to them rather than vaguely resentful.

As for Anthrax, I’ve completed listening to the samples on Amazon and plan to obtain seven of their 10 studio albums in electronic form, plus a few songs from the remaining three. It’s surprising that their music is so consistently enjoyable given the extreme amount of personnel churn they’ve had. Wikipedia has a nice bar chart showing the comings and goings.
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