Monday, July 23, 2007

Six Weeks Later

Forty two days ago I paid several people about $40,000 to drug me, cut my leg wide open, and saw the ends of my femur and tibia off. They installed some replacement bearing surfaces and sewed me shut. The medical establishment always makes it very clear that such a procedure will involve "some discomfort". It appears that the term "some discomfort" is specifically crafted to avoid giving one the slightest idea of just how bad the pain will really be. I suppose it is necessary to play down such things. I was already quite fearful going into the surgery. Imagine if the doctor had said: "You may writhe, cry, and wish for death while we try to find the right amount of narcotics that will ease your pain without causing your respiration to cease. However, don't think about it much, because fear will greatly amplify your suffering." I'm guessing we don't really want to know that. There are times when the truth is best left alone.

Now six weeks later, I am able to rise from a chair, I can step in and out of a bath tub, I can get in and out of a car. I can walk. I sometimes sleep for six or seven hours before the aching in my knee wakes me. It is true that it still requires about 350 milligrams of oxycodone each day to feed the drug habit that enabled me to endure the pain. 1 milligram of oxycodone is considered equivalent to one milligram of morphine. However, I would have to crush my sustained release capsules and snort them if I wanted to equal the rush from a strong dose of heroin.

The combination of the pain and the drugs addled my mind to the point where reading and writing became laborius. I now feel the haze slowly dissipating. I may be able to express myself well again before too long.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that not all my posts can be as thoughtful as I would like. Sometimes I just need to record the basics.

Simultaneous with the ordeal of surgery and recovery has been my adjustment to retirement. My concious experience of retirement generally causes me to smile and feel a flush of pleasure when I realize that I seldom need to set my alarm. I suspect that there are greater struggles going on in the unconcious! One clue is my sudden fear that Barbara will find me so incredibly dull that she will dump me and search for Mr. Right. She assures me that she loves me and plans no such change. But the fear creeps in here and there. Another clue was a very vivid dream I had of returning to work. Great crowds of people I knew where very serious and hard at work. They smiled briefly and graciously at me, but clearly had no time to spend with a "non contributor". My hopes were lifted when it was announced that the new corporate dress code would require all employees to wear blue jeans. Surely I would fit in again! Alas, the corporate jeans were stiff and dark blue. They were tailored as a cross between carpenter's jeans and dockers. Sadly, I was still on the outside looking in.

Frankly, my struggle is one that is long overdue. There seldom was anything about my job performance that made me particularly lovable or admired. I have long known that the greatest thing I can do for others is to love them as they are. To listen to them. To serve them. To care about their struggles. Now I must leave the job performance factor out all together. I would have done well to abandon the quest to earn love with my work output long ago.

May God richly bless you all. May you know that you are indeed greatly loved, despite your best efforts to earn it.
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