This and That and The Other Thing...
Here I sit, in pajamas, and eyeglasses, alternately listening to A Scottish Christmas (soulful, fantastic CD), popping a pain pill, sipping a chocolate milk shake, and reading Various and Sundry Things. I'm not in near as much pain as yesterday...the hours immediately post surgery are Not To Be Written About. I wish to expunge them from memory.
Just what does a Percocet-befuzzed brain read, on the Day After Surgery? Everything and nothing at all. Things great, and things quotidian. I've chosen to share with you bits from This, bits from That, and the recipe for the best chocolate milkshake in this world - which obviously qualifies as being The Other Thing.
There's the book "Delight" by J.B. Priestly, first published in 1949. He wrote it, chapter by chapter, as a list of the only things in this world that bring him delight. He also wrote it as proof that he was not so melancholy as folks supposed.
From the Preface:
"...I have always held that a fine grumble makes things better. If, for example, a hotel gives me a bad breakfast, I have only to grumble away for a few minutes to feel that some reasonable balance has been restored: the grumble has been subtracted from the badness of the breakfast. If I have not had a good breakfast, at least I have had a good grumble.
Another point for my defence is that I have always looked and sounded much worse than I felt. Often when I am feeling merely annoyed, a little put out, I appear to be blazingly angry or lost in the deepest sulks. The appearance is larger than the reality. I may not have been enjoying myself, but at least I have not been suffering as intensely as the rest of the company imagined."
(I delight in...) "Lying in a hot bath, smoking a pipe. People still say to me, "The way you work!" and behind the modest smirk, I laugh secretly, knowing myself to be one of the laziest and most self indulgent men alive. Long after they have caught the 8:20, opened the morning mail, telephoned to the managing directore of the Company, dictated yet another appeal to the Board of Trade, I am lying in my hot bath, smoking a pipe. I am not even soaping and scrubbing, but simply lying there...
...in a neighboring room, thrown on the floor, are the morning papers, loud with more urgent demands for increased production, clamouring for every man and woman to save the country. And there I am, lost in steam and the fumes of Latkia (a sort of tobacco) and the vaguest of dreams. Just beyond the bolted door, where the temperature drops to nearly freezing, are delicate women, who have already been up for hours, toiling away. Do I care? Not a rap...."
Isn't that hilarious? I was told by a dear friend that, for this brief time of recovery, I should learn how to be a "bystander in my own life" and just rest. I think I have managed to do just that, for all of 24 hours so far. I could do without the pain, but the experience of "letting go" has been lovely, I do admit. I don't think I've been this disengaged, ever. Not even when having children (via C-section, three times). I always came home ready for work, and wanting everything to just be normal again. I have always had intense dislike for the concept of "recuperation". I want to skip it. Takes too long.
I can't claim to have mastered the Art of Zen after a mere 24 hours, but it has been a start...and Priestly's amusing prose has put a smile on my swollen face. Makes me want to smoke something.
Then, there has been this lovely new book "Seeking the Face of God", recommended by Lynne Bruce, of the "Beehive" blog. (http://beehive5.blogspot.com/) What a jewel. What a treasure. It finally came in the mail, not long ago:
"In a very real sense, then, Christian spirituality talks about what we receive, more than what we achieve. Our potential and activity are entirely dependent on God's prior work in our lives. If we set out to be achievers, rather than receivers, we have not begun to follow God. Achievers call attention to themselves, whereas receivers lead others to appreciate the Giver.
If we insist on being achievers, seeking God so that others may admire our faith, our committment, or our dedication, we become God's competitors..."
So much for those with a competitive spirit. I never could relate to that attitude anyhow. Now I see why. I've always seen myself as a receiver. Who can boast in that?
I've also been perusing a couple of Christmas magazines - my favorite being "Cottages and Bungalows" - full of sumptuous pictures of halls decked with boughs of holly, in the Craftsman Tradition. I love no other home design better than a Craftsman Bungalow. I don't live in one, and might never. But I've always been content to sincerely admire what I don't possess, whether that be a Craftsman home, or some lovely trait of personality, or a half way decent car. (My dream car is either a vintage VW Beetle convertible, or an older-but-pristine black or white Volvo wagon. Psychoanalyze that, why don't you!)
And don't go out and buy one of those, now that you know. I'll know that you're copying me.
Never have been one to want an "image car" - or, worse yet, some expensive red vehicle (won't name a make or model) that screams, "I'm Over Forty, but I Want You to Think I am Still Hot". Or, "I Bought This Because I Can." Gah. Spare me.
I may regret blogging whilst on pain medication.
Last, but not least, my husband's own recipe for His Wife's Favorite Milkshake, as dictated to me by said husband:
a bit of milk
a bit of ice
a lot of Hershey's syrup
a few scoops of Breyer's Vanilla ice cream
...all in the blender.
I will be fat as a house, and won't have eaten a solid bite of anything. Oh well - he has taken the grandest care of me. I hope he still loves me when I am wearing on my hips, all his Convalescent Milkshakes.
So much for both the competitive personality, and surgery helping me to shed a few pounds...