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