It's Veteran's Day, so as a state employee, I have off from work. It's raining outside. Really raining. Pouring rain. Grey sky, pale green and grey light, chilly air. Gorgeous.
And I'm free. Free to have a day to drift. Much as I've been doing the past week of the surgery and post-surgery. I did a full work day on Monday, and on Tuesday, and it was a bit of a push, and by the end of yesterday, there was bleeding happening, from the push of work but also of the healing process. But today, I'm free again to drift, and rest. And I'm free because yet again, by following the Yes, a heck of a lot of No has simply drained away.
Let's start with last week's surgery day, shall we? Because along with all of the medical bills being paid, this is when a lot of the Yes made itself known. Up until one specific moment, I still had teeth chattering fear going on. Even though I'd done my best to follow what appeared to be Yes, because I'm still getting the hang of this new land I inhabit (no, not enlightened because for freak's sake it must be obvious that I'm not enlightened :), I still had no definitive confirmation that I was doing the true thing. Having the med bills paid was huge confirmation, and got me to the place where I could walk into the surgical pavilion with my sister last Tuesday. But now it was time for the actual surgery, and I was pretty dang freaked.
The week before the surgery, they have you come in and they essentially walk you thru what you need to do, what is going to happen, and how to prepare for it. There's the driving directions to the surgical pavilion, with the route drawn in yellow highlighter. There is the directive not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before, but since my surgery was scheduled for 3pm the next day, I could have clear liquids up until 8 am, with clear liquids including "kool-aid", "gatorade", and coffee with no cream. They take a detailed medical history, allergens, the whole deal. And they give you the phone number to call the night before to confirm that the surgery time is still the same, which in my case was 3pm, and that was to be at the surgical pavilion by 1pm for pre-op.
At 9 pm the night before, I call to confirm, go to bed, wake up the next morning, have some organic juice and black tea until 8 am, and then at 11:30 am I get a call. Where are you? they ask. Your surgery was moved up to 1 pm and you were supposed to be here by 11 am. And so I call my sister, who drops what she's doing and runs right over, and so instead of spending the next hour and a half in dread and fear as the surgery approached, I found myself with a hitch in my giddyup, cracking jokes with my sister as we did the pedal to the metal thing to get to the hospital, even though underneath the jokes I can feel the fear rolling.
Once there, they give my sister a pager and put her in the waiting room. I start to feel the horror of what is coming for me. I'm getting ready to have a body part removed, and in a very savage way, with blood and burning. And then the receptionist passes me off to the patient liaison who's to walk me to a nurse.
And as the patient liaison and I look at one another we both start smiling. It's my old friend Keith, back from high school, when we were both in the theater scene, and he dated a good friend of mine, the first Miss Gay USA, and we used to go to gay clubs together, and talk about what a big star I was going to be. We're in a hurry to get me into surgery, but he says something sweet as he passes me off to a nurse, and I say something to the nurse like: he was almost as good looking back then as he is now, and Keith just beams at me, in that sweet loving way he always did, where the beaming was about me, rather than the compliment I just gave him. And he says: everything is going to be okay, you are in good hands, all is well.
And then I'm walking down the hallway, marveling at the opulence of the surgical pavilion, how state of the art everything is, and how everything speaks to living, how even the art on the walls are photos of butterflies and flowers in bloom, and how it's almost as if I'm in nature, out in the woods, the fields on a sunny day. And then I'm in the hospital room, and changing into a gown and socks, and as I smell that hospital smell I'm filling with fear and dread.
The night before, I'd packed a bunch of things to try and make this savage thing a little less savage. I tried to picture what I might need. A Jed book for my mind. My ipod for the surgery so I don't have to hear what's going on because I've decided that I want the low key anesthetic because the recovery time is quicker with it. I also have some aromatherapy and a scarf in hopes that they'll let me drape it across my nose so that I don't have to smell the burning, though I know there's no way they are going to let me bring aromatherapy into the operating room.
And as I sat there alone in that hospital gown, waiting for what comes next, my teeth chattering, I thought: time for the Jed book. I pulled it out, said a little prayer "thank you for giving my mind what it needs right now" and opened the book and read the passage in "Notebook" where Jed sees the woman in the NYC deli with an advanced copy of his first book, and it's all dog-eared and full of post-its and he laughs because: what are the chances that this would occur? And as I read it, I remembered Keith's sweet face, and thought, what are the chances that I'd see him, this person from my past, when my past in this town is mostly filled with people who were abusive, unfriendly, unkind, or my present is filled with so very many needy or chatty clients, and in that moment, feeling Keith's sweet energy, I understood: everything is going to be okay, you are in good hands, all is well.
And in that second, I relaxed, and let go. And I sh*t thee not, everything after that turned the whole shebang into the most hilarious party.
Every person that came in was friendly, sweet, and me, anti-social me, laughed and joked and chatted with the nurses, and had a hilarious rollicking good time with the anesthesiologist as he saw me taking those pics on my camera phone and I told him about how he could be tweeting his anesthetizings, and when I asked him: what if anxiety kicks in? he laughed and said in an easygoing way: oh the cocktail I'm going to give you is going to take care of that and a lot more! And we laughed.
Then my doc showed up, and I sat in wonder on my hospital bed, because he was this huge, handsome, gallant man in green scrubs, a confident warrior of a guy, smiling his million dollar smile. And I got that if there was such a thing as a white knight, this guy was it, and he was going to rescue my HooHah, and look dang good doing it. And he and me and the anesthesiologist bantered back and forth about how "out" did I need to be for the surgery? And I was relaxed, so in a space of trust, and said, "you boys are the professionals, what's the best way to get this done, what's the way to the best outcome?" And within five minutes, I was out like a light, coming to three hours later, with no pain, no anxiety, and no fear, which is where I stayed for days.
And of course, the Yes has continued, with No showing it's face again and again and again, and me working the tool of awareness, of asking over and over and over: what does Life indicate?
The day after the surgery, when I was high as a kite on hydroc*odone, I did a phone interview, because it had to be done that day or not at all, and it was for an amazing 45K job on a project that was perfect for my skills and experience and with a top research facility. And I was supposed to drive up today for the in person interview, for the job that starts December 1st. But I don't really have the money to move, and I'm recovering from surgery, and the kitties are happy in the apartment we live in, and my current job, while paying peanuts is super chilled and hilarious and unsupervised and full of Yes. And so I got that Life was *not* indicating this job change and so I declined the interview, and as I sit here, the rain pouring down outside in dense sheets, my body still bleeding from simply the gentle push of the past couple of workdays, I am so grateful that I am not behind the wheel of my car, the one with the stick shift and the broken cruise control, driving the three hour drive to the intense interview with highly skilled researchers in a job field I'm not up to speed with anymore.
And the Yes feels so good that a couple of hours ago I called the woman who owns the holistic center I still work out of part time, the one I have a workshop booked with for this weekend, and I postponed it, because I don't want to spend my day today writing the handout and preparing the materials. And since I'd told her briefly this past weekend about the surgery, and asked for her discretion in the info, she was very kind about postponing, all I had to say was: this is all proving a bit rougher on my body than I'd anticipated.
So, I'm off the hook for all of it. All of the looming No simply vamoosed. All I had to do was say no thank you to the No. And because of so much freed energy I was able to do the Yes, to reply to emails I'd been longing to reply to, to write this post, and then to move to the couch where I plan to spend the day listening to the rain, and snuggling impossibly soft, furry weasels, and watching Leverage, my latest Side*reel obsession. And if the pain persists, my doc hooked me up with plenty of meds, though I haven't taken any in a couple of days, just massive doses of ibuprofin, but it's so nice of him to give me so many, like an insurance policy of Yes in a bottle. And also to rest with the knowledge that the pathology report came from the surgery, and the margins are clear, which means that with the deep, deep cut they did, the report shows that they got all of the cancerous cells, and that they were definitely serious cancerous cells, that definitely seriously needed to be removed and ASAP.
But really, beyond the clear margins and the good drugs and the not driving in the rain, the point is, the whole point is, which I hope you get, if nothing else from reading this blog, is that Yes is a choice. And there is so very much Yes. Right here. Right now.
Time to snuggle kitties and listen to the rain and snack and laugh . . .