Sunday, December 16, 2012

Surgery Tomorrow


Okay, here we go. Tomorrow morning I go in early for surgery on my neck. Time to have a bit more of my spine fused and, hopefully, strengthened enough to see me through the rest of my days. Right now, I'm sitting on a couch trying not to get nervous, feeling a bit of ache down each of my arms, listening to the cat meow loudly enough that I'm wondering if she needs an operation. My wife, Stephanie, is sitting across the room writing emails to people and trying to keep her own nerves at bay. I worry about how this whole thing affects her and the rest of my family. Last time I had this done, my mother got so nervous that she was susceptible to shingles and was ill for weeks. My kids are both nervous and out of sorts because they know I'm is going to the hospital and they probably won't see me tomorrow. And on and on. Oh, and yeah, I'm pretty nervous now, not because I think anything terrible is going to happen (I'll have that thought moments before surgery if things go the way they did last time) but because I have this big thing going on tomorrow and Christmas is coming and it's the night before and ... well you get the idea.

Still, all of this pales in comparison to the trauma in Connecticut and I want to make clear that my life is phenomenally good in every respect considered in that light and most any other light. But I have been writing 750 words for just over fifty days in a row now and it seems only right to keep that streak going through most anything. And so tomorrow morning, very early, I'll get up and write 750 words before surgery. Then, Tuesday evening, I'm hoping that I'll be alert enough to pound through that many words again. I just want to keep life as normal as I can given what's going on. It's not like I'm trying to run an ultra race, it's just writing. And you know what? It might just be the perfect way to recuperate.

I want to be aware throughout this process just as I'm trying to be aware right now. I know that my neck is sore, that I'm keyed up and full of nerves, and that I feel safe and secure in the love being sent my way from so many people and the love I feel for so many people around me. I feel safe in the skill of my surgeon and the strength I have within me to recover. It's just a matter of doing it and doing it and doing it.

A friend texted me a while ago and offered me a beer when the doctor clears me to lift 16 ounces. I told him that I'll be ready for that after he takes me for a slow run. This is the way I'm thinking this time. Last time I had this kind of operation done, I was just thinking that I would be laid out on a couch for weeks. This time, I'm thinking about getting up. A lot of the change there has to do with writing, seeing a good therapist, the simple effects of aging, and so on. But the largest part of it is being in love.

My body is still in pretty good shape after forty-four years, but it takes some maintenance and the occasional major overhaul such as neck surgery. A twenty-one year relationship with Stephanie is in good shape as well, but takes maintenance and the occasional major overhaul as well. In 2007, when I had my first surgery, we were stuck. We were still trying to learn how to live together as husband and wife after having two kids. The births of our children, while certainly the two most wonderful things that had ever happened to us together, wreaked havoc on us and we were still trying to figure things out. I was especially confused and lost and so my recovery from the surgery was hampered by that.

This time around it's all in balance. Stephanie's and my love for one another is equaled only by the love we feel for both our children. It's that love that makes me certain that tomorrow I will be fine and that my recovery will be strong and sure. I can be nervous tonight about all that is coming tomorrow, but deep down, there is no doubt that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, I will most assuredly write on.