Archives for the month of: August, 2009

By the psyche’s own arcane schedule of markers and indicia, “it”–this recent journey into the netherworld of death and rebirth occasioned by my successful gall bladder surgery–began two weeks ago today.

During the day my inner Imperious Queen, far more a tyrant than the Queen who so intimidated poor Alice, had been forced to accept, with mewling good manners and a semblance of calm, a situation that called for hysterics and upheaval on a continental scale. Later, in the night, in Dream Time, my inner Dutiful Daughter, a timid creature who makes much of keeping secrets from herself, took quite a charming step toward self-recognition and frightened herself into a panic of equilibrium-altering proportions. What can I do?, I then asked myself, feeling both beset by Queen and betrayed by Daughter. I can EAT! and proceeded to consume the grain foodstuffs of three small duchies and later the meat leftovers from several municipal feasts. Ah, sweet satiation, as I drifted off to sleep.

NOT, as I awoke to burning pain lodged somewhere in my right chest near the elbow. And NOT during two days of increasing discomfort, as breath becomes increasingly difficult and speech almost impossible. But the pain is on the right side; I can’t be having a heart attack, can I? By Friday I am scared and call the Kaiser Advice Nurse. “We think you should come in. It could be a pulmonary embolism, and we can’t rule out something with your heart even if the pain is on the right.”

But I don’t have transportation today; I can make it tomorrow. Then I begin to dilly-dally. Should I, shouldn’t I? I mean, after all, how serious can it be? But what if I wait and something Really Bad happens? Maybe I can find someone to take me, but that’s such a hassle. Then I call 911. “I’m having difficulty breathing.”

Emergency medical technicians here in minutes. Ambulance. IV. Emergency Room. Tests, more tests. Foley catheter. Nothing by mouth “just in case.” Hurry up and wait. Ten p.m. Inflamed gall bladder, surgery tomorrow. Ten p.m. Saturday night. Into surgery, finally.

I wake up in my room, can’t find any bandages, wonder if they’ve done the surgery, go back to sleep.

The surgery went well. Five small bandages, easy for benumbed fingers to miss in the dark. Liquid diet for breakfast, normal diet after that. Sunday in the hospital, home Monday.

“Your gall bladder was so inflamed it disintegrated every time I touched it with my surgical implements. You would have died if we hadn’t operated when we did.” This, from the surgeon Friday when he removes the drainage tube.

I think about my Imperious Queen and my Dutiful Daughter, the day before the first attack. My therapist tells me that thoughts just happen, that dreams just happen, that I didn’t “cause” the gall bladder attack, that it also just happened. I’m not so sure. I think about the reports of altered behavior of wild creatures before earthquakes and tsunamis, and cannot but wonder if the melodrama, imperial and diffident alike, that prompted my own inept response wasn’t somehow a good thing. The Imperious Queen seems less fearsome than she did. The Dutiful Daughter’s devotion seems a finer, stronger thing than I had thought. And I go forward into what will surely be the latter years of my life newly pregnant with possibilities I had not known before, possibilities that reach to join the inner and the outer worlds in a way that seems both to anchor me here and to call me home.

Hello, my far-flung photo friends. I had surgery last week. It feels good to be getting back to the camera and the computer after my enforced absence.

My church is setting up an online social networking group for members only modeled loosely along the lines of Facebook. There are application and approval procedures, and it’s not yet clear how things are going to work. There’s no reason it should be clear yet as the new site has been up less than two days. And I’m amazed at how much feeling this change is stirring up in me.

I applied yesterday, at which point the screen greeted me by name and informed me that administrative approval would take a day or two. Now them’s fightin’ words. I know intellectually that “administrative approval” is a gate-keeping function, the cyber equivalent of paperwork–and bells go off in my head are about inclusion and exclusion, and power that someone else has, and being on the outside wanting in.

This morning I go to the site, where I am again greeted by name but discover that I cannot make a blog entry, so I must not have been approved yet. I see that Joe Blow left a note for Jane Doe. “Interesting,” I think, “I can at least keep up till I’m able to post.” Not. Jane Doe’s site is private because I don’t have administrative approval. I know it’s “yet,” but it still stung and the kid in me thinks, “How come they get to play and I don’t?”

Yesterday the emails had begun flying back and forth through our regular channels, the pros and cons of the new site and what risks the changes it entails might be. I felt myself get caught up in the not knowing and how it reverberated with less successful incidents in the past, incidents both personal and corporate, and started to fire off my own impassioned, editorially slanted plea for information.

Then I did something radical. I picked up the telephone and called someone who would know what was going on and found out directly what was involved–the history of the new site, why we were changing some long-standing approaches, the potential it offered for the life of our community. Everything made sense. I could and did sign on. I wanted to play, and I didn’t want to wait.

And maybe I can have a little bit more bemused affection for the part of myself who so quickly feels left out, who is so certain that the “other kids” are going to get the good stuff first, and there’ll never be a place for me.