march, 2009

Sun, 1 Mar 2009 22:34:01 -0800

I made him BART over to the city. At the tea shop in the Castro, he drank pu-erh while I padded back and forth in my stocking feet (mismatched again, after all these winter months of paired woolen socks, in colorful stars and polka dots) with my transparent teacup, refilling it from the concentrated, potent brew in the samovar. An antidote to the rainy afternoon, the room was warm -- so much so that I had to pull my hair up, off the nape of my neck -- and carried the smell of baking scones.

We talked of fears again. He cited the same one I had to him a year and a half ago, as we'd shared a hammock mid-afternoon of the hottest day at Black Rock City. And though I reminded him of that parallel in only a few syllables, he knew already what I'd really said: That, maybe Friday night that first Burn, I'd taken my playa-dust-encrusted hair down, and, using the stuff as sculpting gel, twisted curls into it. Found fishnets in Flan's supply in the back of the truck we'd rigged up as a dressing room; still borrowing her knee-high platform boots; turned the eyeliner loose, so much so that Courtney didn't recognize me before we started serving vegan sushi and cupcakes that night. Was fairly brimming, just as if I'd painted my nails red and later spun drunkenly into a table with sheer kinetic anticipation. And that that night he'd come by, as he'd said he would -- come only to say he wasn't staying. And that I had through salt-encrusted lenses watched flashing lights on the deep, cold playa later that night, alone. Today he said merely, "I know"; and I stirred my tea, and we knew we knew.

(After even three and a half years of regular yoga, I still can't quite fathom hanumanasana. And yet it comes up weekly.)

He asked where I feel things, physically. Are you fucking kidding me? In my heart, obviously -- here, in the left side of my chest. Afterwards (perhaps because of the caffeine of that concentrated Russian tea) my heart was beating faster.

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 19:29:52 -0700

Mike drove me to surgery two weeks ago on his motorcycle. Though I knew it would be a cold March morning, the mode of transit was ideal: As the hills rolled up and down on the way to UCSF, as Sutro Tower came and went in the dawn light, I felt the wind over my face and legs and realized that this was the last time I'd be able to do this (at least, for a few weeks). And maybe I started babbling a bit over the vroom of the engine and the rush of the wind -- maybe I was beginning to get nervous, just a wee bit, in anticipation of my first time under general anesthetic (unless you count the time I got my wisdom teeth out, which I suppose you must, but one isn't supposed to hallucinate prettily-colored mathematical renderings under general, I understand), for being about to allow a doctor (whom I liked! who'd grilled me about my Midwestern vowels as I showed her my MRIs!) to cut into my right knee, to perform a partial lateral meniscectomy. I'd taken my mind off it the night before by drinking Racer 5 with a beautiful Irishman who had bright blue eyes visible even through the gloam of the darkened bar; in the pale morning, though, on the way to the hospital through the chilly mist, this was it.

Amelia kept me company as I boredly skimmed The Chronicle with an IV going into my wrist. I needn't have worried about the anesthesia, either, masterfully administered sans nausea: The last thing I remember was scootching, wearing an undignified hospital gown, onto the operating table in a big white room full of instruments and the doctor who had literally signed off on my knee an hour before ("YES," she'd Sharpied the correct limb, and initialed her oeuvre-to-be), and having a wonderfully warm blanket draped over my chest and arms when asked if my fingers were cold. And then I was on my side in a hospital recovery bed, breathing oxygen through a mask (it tasted sweet), cognizant that my leg had a toe-to-thigh Ace bandage on it but no brace (meaning they'd done the procedure with the simpler recovery -- I exhaled gratefully and went back to the lull of the sweet air). And then Claire was there, bringing me coffee! And then they gave me Vicodin! And then I wanted to go home -- I felt fine, see, I can walk out, okay fine I suppose I'll let you wheelchair me, I'll just jump in, oh, go slower? But I feel fine! No pain at all! Chipper, even!! Yep, I feel fine.

Olivia flew across the country and met me at home. And, for the next four days, she made me scones, we sat on my fluffy red couch and talked (I popped narcotics and inevitably shortly thereafter felt my head begin to spin and my focus fray), and didn't have to go anywhere. I don't think we've had time like that since our semester living in the same room on Mariahilferstraße in Vienna during college -- certainly not at her wedding last May; sporadically at best, since then. So, even through my sometime druggy fog, we made up for lost time.

And I slept. Not well -- waking up at an alam to take more drugs; dreaming oddly -- but even Monday, when I anticipated I'd be raring to go back to work, I gave myself permission to lie on said amazing red couch all day and doze in and out, sunlight fading both me the red-umber suede. I tired early for days, all my energy going into my knee, which would warm at the end of la journée. I pooped out before 10pm at Jaime's dinner party Saturday, supine on her couch nibbling on Emily's vegan dessert while Toby and Sara and Japhet and Tim milled around the vicinity, I too tired to socialize, the second weekend night in a row I ended up asleep before 11.

My stitches are out now. The bandage is still kept wrapped around the joint, but is of questionable utility. I have three cute, small X's on my knee, marking the entry points of the magical tools and cameras the doctor used to debride the torn cartilage.

Last night, I stayed up late finishing a PCR for work, trying to not get my primary-oncall paged. I crossed my right knee over my left habitually under the green tablecloth of my kitchen table, working from my loaner MacBook Pro; I stood up and padded around the tile floor to make peppermint tea. I forgot that my knee was supposed to be gimpy. Weaver and Astrid have, between the two of them, brought in Hugh-Heffneresque attire to befit my putatively decrepit stature; even though I'm considering leaving not only one but both crutches at home tomorrow, I'll play the pegleg for one more Whiskey Thursday. But I think (modulo the only-just-beginning physical therapy) I'm back on my feet again.

all this Šnori heikkinen, March 2009

<-- February || today || April -->

back to front