Kage Baker was, in some ways, a much stronger woman than I am.
She had a will of iron. I am adequately stubborn, but my will is apparently made of damp sugar floss; like candy floss, it’s only long-lasting when it gets sticky. Kage worked at her writing until, literally, the last 6 hours of her life – she only stopped telling stories to those of us cuddled on her bed when she actually went into her final coma.
She would periodically give up some luxury of food or drink and go into nunnish abstemia, for no very good reason that I could ever ascertain. She claimed she missed giving things up for Lent, and so would occasionally deny herself goodies for awhile. She said it made the chocolate, gin, maraschino liqueur or KFC taste all the better when she got back around to indulging herself.
That was too ascetic for me. I’ve never enjoyed giving up things.
For the last several weeks now, I have been denied access to the surgeon assigned to fix my wonky mitral valve. I’m afraid it has never even occurred to offer up my sufferings for the souls in Purgatory; I gave that sort of self-righteous denial back when you could still donate your milk money to buy pagan babies … I’ve been lolling around, feeling sorry for myself, and slipping further and further into a cranky sort of twilight sleep. I never seem to get enough rest, and tend to just sit in my recliner and pant. I can lie down for a little while when I get exhausted enough, though – consequently, I’ve been awake maybe 6 hours out of 24 for the last several days.
I’ve been doing my best to sleep until I could hobble forth and make the acquaintance of Dr. Mastaneh Ahmadi-Kashani. And today was the day! Despite the temperature here in Los Angeles soaring to a completely unnatural 85 degrees – despite the Glendale Department of Traffic deciding to dig up the entire street in front of my doctor’s office – despite said office being a weird, empty, echoing Brutalist cavern of brick and polished concrete: and remember, Kage wrote in Garden of Iden that concrete is one of the few things that looks worse when polished. Despite the front office staff of my cardiologist having neglected to send the front office staff of my thoracic surgeon any of my records: I managed to hobble in and finally see Dr. Ahmadi-Kashani.
She’s another tiny, cheery lady surgeon. I have good luck with those so far, and Dr. Kashani is a delight. She was appreciative of my having done my own research, especially since the procedure I wanted to have done was the same one she was planning to do anyway. We’ll be going for the full open-heart surgery, and replacing the entire mitral valve. That ought to give me another 15 to 20 years of vastly-improved health before any subsequent work is needed.
Hey, before then an asteroid might hit us.
I need some blood work done, and an angiogram. Dr. Kashani needs to call my cardiologist’s office, and yell at his staff until they send her my damned records. I will probably be going into hospital in 2 to 3 weeks; then I can expect a week or so in hospital, and another 4 weeks at home healing. But I should be walking long before that, driving by May, riding my trike by summer. And I shouldn’t be panting at all!
Of course, all this relies upon the procedure going well: no infections, no power outages while I’m on the heart-lung machine, no alien parasites found tacking up their rock posters in my thorax. My remaining kidney must not pack it in in a fit of nephritic pique. I have to keep my blood sugar stable.
I have no real fear of any of those things going wrong, though. Tonight, I am glowing with renewed hope and expectation. Things are finally in train!
Oh, and by the way, Dear Readers: Happy Fat Tuesday! I’ll keep everyone posted on how my surgery schedule unfolds.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!