Well, it’s not exactly an operation—the various medical personnel refer to it as a procedure or an examination. But, the “sedation specialist” (that’s how she introduced herself—wouldn’t you just love that title on your business card?) hooked me up to an IV and oxygen, and put patches on my chest to watch my heart: it’s definitely more complex than a routine “examination”.
Coincidentally, I’ve been reading a book I discovered at our local and homey used bookstore, Gail Godwin’s 1994 novel The Good Husband. It’s some sort of riff on, among other literary works, Ford’s The Good Soldier—a novel I’ve now dug up to reread when I’m done with this one. It’s a bit wordy and dense, but very readable. Dr. Madga Danvers, famous for the pre-thesis-defense publication of her thesis (and only published book, even 24 years afterwards, The Book of Hell: An Introduction to the Visionary Mode–a) marries Francis Lake, a younger (by 13 years) seminary student. He dedicates his life for caring for her as a house husband (and, from what it sounds like, quite the sexy boy toy, as well as an excellent cook and decorator). In the present, Magda is slowly dying of ovarian cancer, while Francis cares for her, and her colleagues raise money to create a “Chair of Visionary Studies” position/program in her honor. Meanwhile, temporary writer in residence, Hugo Henry (author of 8 novels—sounds sort of like a Pat Conroy/Prince of Tides Southern writer) and his wife, Alice, have recently given birth to a child who died choking on the cord, which of course is affecting their marriage and Hugo’s creative energies. While Hugo travels giving visiting lectures across the country, Alice spends her days visiting Magda and Francis, who presumably have the “good marriage” that Alice is seeking.
Anyway, the connection to my “examination”: Magda calls her last few months of living her “final examination”—in her less lucid moments, demanding that Francis bring her at least 3 blue exam books. The novel (so far, I’m only ½ finished) has these wonderful (but too brief) gems of dialogue, including the following discussion between Magda (slowly descending into a morphine induced sleep) and one of her colleagues from the English department (overheard by the more literal minded Francis, who is disturbed by his inability to track Magda’s way of talking/thinking on multiple levels at once):
“Something awful has occurred to me, Tony. What if, however hard you try on your exam, or however stupid or smart you are, everybody gets the same grade in the end?”
“Dear lady, you are truly inspired today. And of course we do, we all do get the same grade, in the sense I think you mean.”
So, I amused myself this morning trying to guess what happens next: Magda dying, of course, and Francis getting it on with Alice, and Hugo finding that he really does miss the Southern bells of his childhood fantasies (if I’d remembered that Ford novel, my guesses might be more accurate, eh?)—all this as a way of NOT thinking about how hungry (by this morning, it had been over 35 hours without food, just liquids) and scared I was about the whole procedure considering its purpose was not preventative or routine but diagnostic.
My hubby was the perfect Francis about the whole thing: egging me on to drink the 64 oz of medicated Gatorade last night in the required 2 hours, and then dressing me after the procedure while I was, from his own understated description, flying high on what had to be quite awesome drugs. And finally staying home for most of the day observing me as I slept, and making me peanut butter and honey on white toast when I awoke (it’s now my all time favorite food). The good husband, indeed.
Besides the “sedation specialist” and the mental image I have of myself walking around naked, babbling and grinning wildly while poor hubby tries to dress me, there really isn’t any humor about the whole thing, but there is some wonderful news that of course I only heard after I woke up 3 hours later: all looked fine, no problems, and no repeat of the damned procedure for 10 years. Of course I have to wait 24 hours before I can open that celebratory bottle of wine (or sign any legal documents, or drive a car–nothing in the documents I signed preventing me from blogging, however), but a cool glass of ginger ale and my good husband await me.