Today is Sunday. Tomorrow is Monday. And they are worlds apart. One day will not be like the next. For tomorrow I get the first Surgery of my life. A new hip if all goes well. Who know’s what... if it doesn’t.
I expect the best. I planned for the worst. All the legal, medical, and financial stuff is done. A list of folks that need to have a phone call if things go South. Another list of folks who will get an email. Not because they are any less important, but because I don’t want my Kathy to have to tell a tale of woe…over and over again.
I have lived long enough to know the vagaries of life. There is a reason why I have taught my children and my Kathy to end every conversation with: “I love you.” It may be the last thing that someone ever hears from you.
I don’t say this to be morbid, but to let you know that the following part of this story isn’t some form of Pollyanna note with more in common with wishes and dreams, than goals and reality. Because I have absolutely no morbid, dark, or forbidding thoughts about tomorrow. None.
What thoughts am I thinking?
Well, some are strange. I mean tomorrow I shall have things inside my body that are unnatural. I didn’t grow them. They don’t have my DNA in them. They are foreign objects: titanium, ceramics, steel, and who knows what else. My body has to learn to adjust to these intruders.
It is a strange feeling to think that your body now has been repaired with parts from a third party. Just like an old car being refurbished. Just like an old car, the new parts will keep it running, maybe even better than before, but it won’t make the car new again. I won’t be young again. But…I will be pain free.
The kind of anesthesia they are giving me is not General Anesthesia like you see in the movies; the kind they are giving me is more akin to the kind that women get for childbirth. It dulls the spinal cord somehow and you can’t feel your legs.
Then they give me some kind of drip that puts you into a sleep. I want the deep sleep kind. Why? Because I used to practice a thing called: “Lucid Dreaming.” That is a psychological technique you use to sort of direct your dreams to be in line with what you want to have happen in your life.
I am going to experiment a bit. When they tell me to count backwards from 100- I will. But I will also focus my mind on having a full recovery and changing my dietary habits. I have been overweight for decades. Tomorrow I get a chance at a new beginning. I have decided to try and convince myself to cut out sugar, caffeine, most breads, snacks and candy…along with soft drinks and (my favorite) donuts. I will use that deep sleep as my chance to anchor those thoughts.
Wish me luck.
I have also had some pretty cool rides down the backwaters of my memory. Kind of reviewing some of the things I have done, seen, experienced, or endured during my life. Most of it good stuff. Some, well, shame and guilt are not unfamiliar to me either. Although I can say most of the stuff I am not proud of took place in my youth, or so close to my youth, you could be forgiven for saying I was young back then.
I found some traits that others have told me I have: kindness, intelligence, warmth, a sense of humor. Along with some others they have told me about: talking too much, laughing at weird stuff, and having no filter. Apparently if emotions were a perfume, I would be a potpourri. Just a whole stew of conflicting, contradictory, confused impressions that somehow come together in just the right proportions to make me…me.
Most of the stops I made on the wide path through my memories, were stops I have visited often…the “firsts”. First crush. First love. First failure. First kiss. First brush up against the system. First day of school. First true friend. First success. First move from home. First time overseas, or even out of the county.
My first job. My first apartment. My first car. My first breakup. My first sense of awe and wonder at the marvels of man, nature, and life. My first hike. My first bike. My first brushes up against grief, loss, sadness, and loneliness.
Now I am old. Much older. And look, I am still having firsts. This is my first surgery. My first time going to a Hospital. My first time having parts replaced in my body. My first time with anesthesia of any kind. My first experience with Surgeons.
And a whole host of seconds too. Second thoughts, second guesses, taking a second to think back over my life. What would I do with a second chance? How precious even another second can be. And how everything becomes secondary to your health - if you lose your health for any reason.
Then there are the thirds. I have spent a third of my life sleeping. That has changed since I retired, I bet it is up to half the time now. Why? Because I nap now. I never did that in my youth, or even my middle age. I spent a third of my life working - or more. That isn’t true any longer either. I have’t worked in six years.
I do nothing. I am on the world’s longest summer vacation. If I had known how good I was at doing nothing, I may well have done just that with my life. LOL I enjoy the smallest things in life now- because I have the time to experience them. I can watch a bee flit from flower to flower- and don’t even worry when he takes a small break on the back of my palm. I am not going anywhere. So why bother him?
I spent a third of my life worrying about things that never happened, what other folks would think of me, and if I was good enough at anything. All for naught. Like most folks I did the best I could at the time with what I knew then. As I grew older I learned from most of my mistakes- and made completely new ones. In most ways I am a better person than I was before- but far from perfect.
Then I thought about the people who have come into my life, along with those that have left it. Again, I find myself in awe at the amount of good people I have met. Some were there just when they had to be; others hung around for years, even decades. A few (mostly family) have been there my entire life.
What a wonderful series of thoughts that was- and is. Thinking about love, being loved, and loving back is one heck of a smile bringer. I have had the pleasure of being a son, a dad, a brother, a husband, a boyfriend, a friend, a buddy, and a whole host of other Social Constructs. Each is a unique from of love, being loved, or loving. Some of those memories melt my heart.
And that, my friends, is where my thoughts end for tonight. I have to get the practical things ready for my return from the Hospital- the mundane housekeeping type things that will speed my recovery.
My wife and daughters have done most of the preparation for a safe homecoming. My home is free of trip hazards, clutter of all types, things are so clean that even the bed bugs are wearing gloves. Dinners are being prepared for me in advance, so I all I have to do is rest, do the physical therapy exercises, and get healthy.
I am one lucky guy.
And that thought is foremost in my mind as I go to bed tonight.