When I was discharged from Rehab, after a week in hospital, including a day in ICU, I was pleased. Not so when I wandered into a shopping mall. I felt that 98% of shoppers were in a better state than me. Only the frail and elderly of whom there were a few were lower on the scale of wellness than me. I felt vulnerable. Each day I felt less so. Now one week after discharge I feel strong and healthy, in the top 20% of shoppers. Of course, it’s somewhat illusory but it’s good to feel good. Xmas shopping is no place for weaklings.
Sixteen days after the Big Op I still carry around my little cloth heart
My Little Cloth Heart
I’ve had it for a fortnight.
I use it on and off.
I clutch it to my real heart
when I splutter, or cough.
It helps absorb vibrations
shocks that might cause harm.
It keeps my body steady
and my spirit calm.
It is soft and cuddly
off-white and bare.
Like Linus and his blanket
I take it everywhere.
I was afraid of the breathing tube being pushed down my throat. Even a metal tray for dental impressions made me gag so I mentioned it to the surgeon before I signed the waiver. The surgeon told me not to worry, that I would not feel a thing. But being told not to worry before a major operation is like being told to pull your socks up if you’re suicidal. As I was given the pre-med I couldn’t get my mind off that breathing tube. What if I awoke and the tube was still down my throat?
The next thing I remember was a voice, saying, “Wake up, John. The breathing tube is out.”
“What breathing tube?” I answered.
This raises an interesting philosophical question: if you don’t know something has happened to you, has it really happened?
There is a day for almost every cause under the sun. All are worthy. To enumerate them would be to test the readers’ patience and take up too much space. Suffice to say there is no day devoted to shopping trolleys or carts as they are sometimes known. Yet they are abused and neglected as much as other members of society. To claim that they are inanimate misses the mark. Abandoned in paddocks, dumped in creek beds or left sullen-faced on street corners, trolleys are doing it tough. Yet they serve us well, with patience and fortitude. It is with this thought that I propose a National Trolley Day. I hope many of you are of the same mind.
The bus was just pulling away as I reached the bus stop. It was a 100 degree day and there was no bus shelter to wait under till the next bus came in twenty minutes. “Hey!” I yelled to the driver. Failing to get his attention I ran beside the bus and rapped on the driver’s door. “Hey!” I yelled. “Hey!!” He stopped the bus. “What’s wrong with you, man? You wanna smash the window or something? The last guy who did that broke the window and I had to fill out an incident report.” It was an over-reaction. It was a rap. Not a pounding. Nothing to get excited about. He looked daggers at me as I climbed on the bus. Anyhow he got his revenge. The bus wasn’t even air-conditioned!
There were only two left. I should have paid more attention. I should have noticed the fault line running down the centre and done something about it but instead I chose to ignore it. Only when I dunked the biscuit, my special Digestive in the morning, I was forced to pay attention. The result was calamitous. It broke in two and sunk into my coffee, a slushy mess. The day did not augur well.
One of the most consistent pieces of advice you will get regarding writing is to never to show your story to a spouse or close relative. They will either applaud it regardless or give a damning critique in the belief it is better to be cruel than kind.
I show my latest story to Bev via email. Bev is not my spouse but we have been going together for a considerable time.
“It is too macabre for my liking,” she messages me. “I like your sunnier stories better. They’re more fun.”
What can you say to that?
I defend myself, messaging back, “Well, that is how I had to write the story. I do have a macabre side too.”
There is a pause of some ten minutes. Then a message comes through.
“I wasn’t picking holes in it,” she says. “It didn’t suit my mood. That’s all. I’m sure it’s a fine story. Phone if you like.”
We chat amicably not mentioning the elephant in the room.
I have another story in draft form. Should I show Bev?
I check for its ‘fun quotient’.