Self-centered Nonsense. Feel free to skip.

2020 is not my year. I realize it’s really not anybody’s favorite year, except maybe the makers of N95 masks. But as far as my life goes, this year really sucks. I had 68 really great years so I shouldn’t be complaining. Many people—my own parents included—don’t make it that far, healthy or not.
Let me sum up.
In March I had abdominal pain which led to surgery for a 14-cm kidney cyst removal in April. I have scars from belly button to around my side. It meant no running for a while—hell, I couldn’t do a single sit-up for weeks. I admit to much greater empathy for anyone undergoing major surgery now. Said cyst might have been prenatal and simply not bothered me till it got so big it started squeezing other bits of me out of the way. I don’t know how many stitches there were on the inside, but there were a heck of a lot of staples on the outside. (Normal kidney cysts, by the way, are 5-10 mm.) I’m released from care now and all is well on that front.
Or it was till June 13 when I started running again. And then fell. So now I have memory loss—I still don’t know where it happened or how I got back to the condo in Charlotte. Thankfully, a friend was there to make sure I didn’t do anything really stupid, like ordering 100 pairs of my favorite running shoes on a shopping binge. Which is just as well because now I’m walking and of course running shoes aren’t suitable for walking long distances.
Then along came August. I went for medical checkups not suspecting anything at all was wrong. But it turns out I have polyps in unmentionable places—wait, I’m a grown-up, I can say it—anal polyps, that have to be surgically removed because they’re painfully close to nerves in said unmentionable places. Painful being the operative word. Surgery—painful, embarrassing, and most definitely necessary—is scheduled for right smack in the middle of when we intended to be moving from one house to another, two states away. I’m confused—is that a good thing or a bad thing? “Honey, I can’t lift this box of tissues. Can you get it for me?” is sort of a good thing. “Honey, I can’t poop. Help!” is not so good.
The next day I found out I’m 1.5 inches shorter than I used to be. I was in denial—how can I be that much shorter and not notice? I mean, I don’t go around kissing Elliott that often anymore, but surely I would have noticed if I’d bussed his chin instead. But no. I can only conclude he’s 1.5 inches shorter as well. Alas, I have osteoporosis. I’m not believing it until I stand next to my daughter, who was excited some years ago when she magically ended up a slight bit taller than I. But with covid-19, it might be a while before I can check that one out. Also, because of said kidney issues (see above), I need to see an endocrinologist to make sure I get the right medicine for the osteoporosis. Sigh.
And today I found out I have melanoma. Granted, it was caught early—I do go for yearly skin checkups. And I get points because I’m the one who called attention to it. But it’s on my arm, and there will be surgery involved. And stitches, more stitches. Soon, I’ll be looking like FrankenAnn. How did I go from 68 years with no stitches to a gazillion stitches in one year?
I eat healthy—mostly vegetarian, but occasional steak and BBQ lapses. I exercise regularly and I’m training for my sixteenth marathon. I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink to excess. Usually.
I’m kind of afraid to go to another doctor this year.
A long time ago (in a galaxy far away), when I was still living in Michigan with six younger siblings, once in a while my father would insist on a poetry night. Each one of us kids would have to recite a poem before dinner, and the younger you were the easier it was. The flip side of that was, I always had the hardest. Usually I would choose something flippant, like The Spider and the Fly. But the last one I remember doing was Oliver Wendell Holmes’s The Last Leaf on the Tree. For some reason, it seems appropriate now. I think my brain is the last leaf on my body’s tree, I guess. Of course, if that’s not true, I’d probably be the last to know.

The Last Leaf
By Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o’er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
“They are gone.”

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said—
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago—
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

I think I must be feeling a bit self-centered today, so excuse this mess. Somehow, it helps to put this all out there, knowing there’s only a half-dozen people (if that) who read our blog anymore.
Maybe my lesson in all this is “Empathy.” Having been blessed with good health for so long, I tended to lose patience with those who focused on their own health, even if I never (I hope) showed it. So if you’re losing patience with me today, I totally understand. I’ll get over this. It’s just a bit much today.
And as Seth Myers says in closing, “Stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. We love you.”

One thought on “Self-centered Nonsense. Feel free to skip.”

  1. This year has sucked on so many levels and in so many ways.

    In spite of myself, I seem to usually be able to find a ray of sunshine. As bad and frustrating as all of this has been, you seem to have caught everything while they were still manageable rather than when they had become deadly. And I’m very relieved for that.

    I am not fussing at you for giving in to frustration about all of it. The hits just kept on coming and taking some time to be mad about it entirely justified and understandable.

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