It sweeps up through my nostrils, burning through my sinuses so thoroughly that I feel more alive than I have in a long time. Today is recovery day and I took a walk to the mailbox after a few hours of lying around. I sucked the chilly air into my lungs, alternating between my mouth and my nose, remembering the exhilaration of running in this December weather and loving the sensation of the cold air rushing up my nose. It was a facet of cold weather runs I looked forward to. I want to run like that again. I don’t know if I ever will, but it’s the thought that counts, yes?
Yesterday was biopsy day. I had to report to the hospital at 9:00 and went through all the preparations, only to be told I was on the schedule for 10:40. Like, an HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES to wait. This is sooo not good for anxiety. But. I made it and met with all the players in the game, including the dude who asked if I was ready for my “margarita.” I call him dude because his response to every one of my answers was, “sweet.” The lead anesthesiologist was a nice man – why are these people always so personable? It’s not like you’re much of a conversationalist for long.
Anyway, everything went well and I woke in recovery, extremely reluctant to come to full awareness and then when I did I started to cry. I won’t tell you who I was crying about because some things are just too personal. Also, I don’t know if it was the drugs or not but I felt extremely mellow and grateful and calm, like I was entering the golden gates and I was fully ready. The drive home was pleasant and I was awake but my head was heavy. I was looking at the colors in the sky with renewed interest and admiring the old stone houses I’ve seen a thousand times before.
I feel the most intense sense of gratitude today, though with it comes an incongruous sense of what is wrong and how sad that should make me. It’s difficult to adequately describe. Christmas isn’t the same as Christmas past. It doesn’t, in some ways, feel like Christmas at all. And yet, I listen to the music every day at work, lost Whamageddon* halfway through December, and am actively seeking the memories of childhood.
Wizard of Oz on Thanksgiving night. All the Christmas shows I loved so much. The music. The cookies. The traditions my Nana made that I strived to repeat and fell short. I feel compelled this year to make them mine and not to fall into the sadness of loss and defeat.
My children are still so far away. Veruca refuses any and all contact with me, despite my efforts to change our circumstances. She is 16 and a half – a young woman now with, I remember quite well, every idea of what is best for Her and No Interest in Mom’s opinions or influence. I can accept some of this. I was once her age and my mom drove me batshit crazy sometimes. Sometimes I was reckless because of it, just to prove it was MY life and MY body. I made bad choices. I got a boyfriend and made choices with him she didn’t approve of, turned my back on my best friend, and just generally acted selfish without regard for how it affected anyone else. I know better now, and someday V will too.
My recklessness took me away from valuable friendships and into relationships that damaged me in irreparable ways. I fell in and out of love with great boys and allowed myself to be used by the worst of them, until my self-esteem was shattered enough to walk away from yet another good man in favor of marrying the worst one of them all. The worst of them all delivered the sting of abuse in nasty words and pinching grips and destroying property and gaslighting, long enough to make me angry as hell and mistrust anyone with good intentions. My hope for my children is that I left soon enough for none of it to have a lasting impact on them, though I lie awake at night worried that it was never soon enough. I lie awake at night wondering if they ever think of me. Wondering what kind of things they hear about me, every day they live under the roof of the man who categorically hates me.
Meanwhile, I am controlling what I can. I’m nursing a gaping hole in my boob (well, okay, it’s not gaping anymore but it sure is UGLY) and icing and medicating and just a tiny bit loopy. I slept the entire day away yesterday and today enjoyed a delicious hot shower twenty-four hours after my surgery. I have started a new book and spoke to my dad and got hugs from my attentive doggers and turned on Roku to watch one of my favorite Pixar movies. Todd is taking good care of me. I am so blessed to have that bad boy who lost his motorcycle jacket and earring a quarter century ago, looking after me and loving me as only he can.
Whamageddon is an annual social media game whereby players have to avoid hearing the original version of Last Christmas by Wham between December 1st and December 24th. Covers are okay but if you hear George Michael crooning, you lose.
Twilight anesthesia can take up to 8 hours to leave your system; however, you are not advised to drive a car, go to work, adopt any farm animals, or sign your fortune over to your poodles for 24 hours.
Recent reading revealed these chunky tidbits: “Remember that abusers may oscillate between being extremely cruel and incredibly charming. They typically present as kind or compassionate in public. But severe jealousy, name-calling, controlling behavior, intense blaming, and humiliation are all considered forms of abuse.”
Tiramisu is pronounced teer-ah-mee-SUE. And it’s really good for breakfast.
Today is Festivus, so put up your pole and serve a nice dinner, followed by the Airing of Grievances whereby everyone tells each other how they have been disappointed by them this past year. The head of the household chooses someone to wrestle, the part of Festivus known as Feats of Strength, whereby Festivus ends when someone is successfully pinned to the floor. There are also Festivus miracles – apparently easily explained things that aren’t actually miracles at all. Todd is taking me out today, so … wish me luck. I imagine I’m exempt from the Feats of Strength portion of events, due to … you may recall… bad boob.