Today is my surgery. A hysteroscopy to look at and remove a "polyp" from inside my uterus, followed by a laparoscopy to look at and possibly remove one cyst from each ovary. My ovaries are pretty much useless to me now, so that's not a big deal. I was worried they would have to cut into the uterus so we would be off track for baby-making for months while I heal. Apparently, that's not the case. Either they go in the "natural" opening, or they make such a tiny incision it heals right away without stitches.
Of course, they make you sign all sorts of forms saying you understand that things can slip and they can puncture things or sever things and you may need a colostomy bag for the rest of your life if you're really unlucky. But that's not what I'm worried about.
I'm worried about the pure chance element of dying during surgery. Supposedly going through a successful surgery in the past is a good sign you will again. But it doesn't rule it out. Nothing rules it out. It's a fact that people die during surgery for no good reason. Now, I understand those odds are smaller than the doctor nicking an artery or being hit by a bus on the way to the hospital or Mt. Rainier exploding and really fucking up traffic, but... Those are the kind of things that I truly have no say over.
But today, deciding that yes, I'm going to let people poke around inside me with sharp objects and remove stuff and pump me full of chemicals and some tiny anomaly somewhere may kill me during the process. That is a willful choice of putting myself in harms way. So it's what freaks me out.
Yesterday I talked to my mom. Her best friend, my "Aunt" Frances, has liver cancer and is expected to live another 2-3 months. She said she had been worried about my reaction. My reaction was that I didn't have one - except to decide that yes, this was a phone call I should return. I told my mother that despite being sad, and especially sad for her, there wasn't any real "reaction". It is just not real to me. I told her if I was told there was an asteroid headed towards earth and we were all going to die in 24 hours, I'd probably just say "Huh." Because it is all just unreal to me at this point. Some point a few weeks ago I got too much information, too much bad news, for me to fully process anything else. There is only so much that the mind can fathom before it just... stops and calls bullshit. Right now, there's so much, my mind doesn't really grasp that it's all really true.
In the context of this and the surgery and my fear of the microscopic chance of unexpected death, I told my mother that some people see the human body as a miracle. All these crazy systems and organs working together to make us walk and talk and move about, etc. And I admit, it's pretty damn miraculous. But then I look at my body, and I have the opposite reaction. My organs, my systems, they DON'T work together. Not well. And they're falling apart, getting more out of sync. Some people have a miracle. I have a nightmare.
My mom told me a joke. Apparently, we have a common trait: we forget jokes. But this one is very simple and I really liked it, so here it is.
God and a scientist are having a conversation. The scientist proclaims he can make a human life, from scratch, just as easily as God. God agrees to see him try. The scientist bends down to grab some clay from the earth. God steps in and stops him, saying, "Go make your own."
I just thought that was hilarious.
We listened to a short segment of "This American Life" last night, with Dan Savage as the storyteller. His somewhat quiet, mellow, even demure voice just does not match the flamboyant sex columnist I've created in my head! He was talking about being a lapsed Catholic. The kind that doesn't go to church, but when he's on a plane he crosses himself, and when his boyfriend is driving them at 90 miles an hour passing someone, he prays to god. But when it's over, he goes back to being an agnatheist (his word). He said something about how not only does this make him a hypocrite, but also an ingrate.
It's nice to know that there are other people out there that can see the oxymorons in their life, acknowledge it, laugh about it, but not having any power to do anything about it.
Well, the valium has kicked in and it's time to leave for the hospital. Wish us luck.
ps: here is how I define irony: going to the video store yesterday to pick up some mind-numbingly dumb but sweet and at least somewhat satisfying romantic comedy to distract myself. I pick out "Couples Retreat". 10 minutes into the movie, it is revealed that they all need to go on this retreat to help save on of their marriages. Because they've been trying to have a baby for a year and the stress has been so much that they're starting to question their relationship and why they're even together. And then later that night hearing Dan Savage talk about his lapsed Catholicism in the face of watching his mother die somewhat unexpectedly in a hospital.