Sunday, December 6, 2009


In my last blog post, I wished my small, but loyal, audience a Happy Thanksgiving. As some of you already know, my Thanksgiving holiday took a wrong turn in a big way.

Thursday started well enough. My dad and stepmom arrived early, and the morning went exactly as I envisioned it. We hung out in the kitchen, cooking, nibbling, and catching up. We sat down to dinner around 1:30 or so, and it was lovely. I did the corny thing where I made everybody say what they were thankful for. Teenage boys just love being forced to say something embarrassing before they're allowed to eat. But they did and it was nice.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching a movie and dozing. Later that evening, I went back for round two of Thanksgiving dinner. Was I particularly hungry? No. Not even a little bit. But Bruce had warmed up a plate, and the aroma of smoked turkey and homemade dressing grabbed me like a cartoon character and pulled me into the kitchen.

Have you ever seen that Monty Python movie where the guy eats "a wafer-thin mint" and explodes? Yeah...well that's exactly how I felt. I immediately zonked out on the couch and experienced the last sustained sleep I would have without serious pain meds.

Pain is a frightening, powerful force. It beats at you, and like waves relentlessly pounding the beach, it erodes. It erodes your peace of mind. Do I have indigestion? Gas? Then later...appendicitis? Diverticulitis? An invisible knife in my belly? It erodes your social sensibilities. I went from putting a brave face on it for my company to curling up in a ball in the ER and not caring who saw me. It erodes your resolve. It erodes every coherent thought until all that remains is MAKE. IT. STOP.

Blessedly, the ER doc's first order was pain medication. If we had gone around the table 24 hours later, I would have been most thankful for morphine. Morphine was beautiful for two reasons. First and foremost, the pain went away. The invisible demon knife disappeared, and I could breathe. Second, many odious tests passed by in a fog. The hospital vampires took vials of blood, and I watched, disinterested. A nefarious blueberry shake called "contrast" was forced on me before my CT scan, and I drank it without complaint. Iodine was plunged into my IV right before they ran me through the donut hole of an ominous machine. Even in my morphine haze, that CT scan was freakin' scary. Without the drugs? I shudder to think.

The irony of pain meds is they perform a different kind of erosion. They erode your will to do anything other than exist. My husband brought me the book I had been reading, and I had a new ebook on my iphone Kindle app. I didn't read a word of either while I was in the hospital. I lay in the bed staring at bad TV and listening to hospital drama (that's a whole other blog). Yesterday, more than a week after my initial attack, I finally felt like reading again. Today, I finally feel like writing. I haven't taken pain meds in over 48 hours, so I'm convinced that's the difference.

For the last week, my life has revolved around managing pain. The offending organ (my gall bladder) has been removed, and I'm on the mend. Yesterday, I finished the Iris Johanson book I started before all this happened, read part of the ebook of short stories on my iPhone (Marjorie Liu's was particularly good), and read all of the YA my colleagues brought me (Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why). Today, you finally get a blog post, and I'm getting those eroded parts of my mind back.


  1. Oh dear! Glad you are feeling better. I'm slightly jealous of the blueberry flavor shake...mine was a nasty butterscotch! Bleck to Contrast!!!

    Hope you continue to feel well.

  2. I think of that Monty Python scene every time I’m tempted to stick something in my mouth when I’m feeling way past full! So sorry to hear about your surgery and glad to know you are on the mend.