This morning I saw my surgeon again.
It was a nuisance. Just the right time to still be caught in rush-hour traffic both ways: right on the cusp of the end of the morning rush-hour, and getting out just in time to hit the lunch rush-hour. Even then, the surgeon was sitting there just to look at me, ask if I felt any pain, and then say "okay, well, uh, if there's nothing wrong, we'll close this case up, see ya.". Medicine for lawyers: just in case the shit hits the fan later, they can say "but we saw him post-op, we asked him if he was okay, and he said yes." On top of that bollocks, Erick Erickson was doing his RedState (TM) song and dance for the Republican Candidates in Atlanta - for those who didn't get enough of the manufactured outrage of the talking heads yapping to and from Donald Trump the night before on Fox. THAT traffic.
And sure enough, vitals were taken. I'm a bit heavier than I'd like - I stopped running regularly recently - got out of the habit when I went into job searching and then was hit by appendicitis which made me hors de combat for a while. But my blood pressure was barely into the 100s on the top side. I'm fit.
My wife, I shoo'd away, teary-eyed, when the decision came in to transport me from urgent care to the hospital in Atlanta, to await the first available surgeon not dealing with someone crashing. Nice fella - a bit short but a M.D and a MBA. Good looking man. Jockish type. Firm handshake. Saw him in scrubs the first time with someone ramming an IV into my hand, saw him again, tan and fit, approving of the healed incisions. At the time I saw the whole thing as a nuisance. Two days off work. Two of my sick days of five GONE, within the first months. And the bills. I'd be moved into surgery, moved out. Nothing for her to help with, best to get her home to tend to our old man cat, slowly dying by degrees of kidney failure. And to get some sleep. She'd been awake up until the 4 am decision to move us along. And she had to work within a few hours.
I was going to be in a holding pattern watching Maury Povich all morning, unconscious for a few hours and out before midnight, tons of unknown lurking expensive bills in the mail. What a fucking nuisance.
So here we were, the usual banal crap in the post op. How are you feeling, let me look at the stitches. You tick off the boxes, I'll transfer them to the computer and of course correct some information therein.
And then he handed me a piece of paper full of medical-ese. Translated (I looked up the big words) - the tissue was bloody and had blood in it, but wasn't perforated or containing fecoliths.
He told me "we biopsied it. It wasn't cancerous."
That gave me pause.
Okay, so I'm not an old man, but I'm not young, either. Since we bought the house we stopped going out - these days we spend our days indoors, a glass of wine and some old-school gameshows, content to listen to music. And I'm clearly slowing down. Not by much, but I know now why you can't enlist in the Marines past 28.
Here I was, seeing the hospital stay, and a short one at that, as nothing more than an expensive nuisance. It never occurred to me that there might have been something lurking in the blood. A shadow on some organ in the CAT scan. A bit of tissue in the part torn out that wasn't quite right - that required a second look under the microscope. A technician grimly saying to someone more knowledgeable: "hey, I think you might want to come and look at this." A reason to say to me - "well, we wanted you to come in, because... well, sit down."
It will happen eventually. One day I will have something not right and the doctor will start to write the final chapter of my life. It's not today, but it's now a possibility. While I was waiting, eyerolling like crazy for a nurse to watch me take a piss and walk up and down a hallway so I could go home, someone was fighting to see another sunrise or maybe last out until a relative, pleading with an airline somewhere else in the country - to not charge them ten times the going rate as a mercy. To bump someone from a flight - people who turn away and pretend not to hear because they've got too much going on -because if they make eye contact it's sure they'll miss That Important Meeting, but That Meeting can be rescheduled - only they don't want it to. Not the one she or he is moving to. Their life is lived by the rhythm I had that night. Not the one I'll eventually dance to.
The one we'll all dance to someday. As sure as the novelty of property taxes I am having to grumble about.
Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, Lord, for THOU art with me. Until the day you decide you want ME to be with THOU.
Thy will be done. As it was and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.