My mother has managed to enjoy her last two surgeries -- one a lumpectomy and the second to place a titanium subcutaneous port (sort of like a little drum with a tail leading to a vein near the heart) under her clavicle for future use in her chemotherapy. How is it possible for anyone to enjoy such events? Good surgeons make it easy, and really good anesthesiologists make it transcendent. While the surgeon removed the offending lump, my mother dreamed of curry and Indian delicacies because her anesthesiologist had been to many of the same restaurants she had in "Little India" near the Canadian border. They knew people in common and as he put the intravenous drip in her hand, they talked longingly of foods they had not eaten for a while. During the second surgery, my mother dreamed of the Himalayas because the anesthesiologist had traveled there, as she did many years ago, and they talked about the mountains while waiting for the surgery to begin. When I go to see her in recovery she is still in the Himalayas and tells me about drinking with the Sherpa women in a local bar that was really the woman's living room.
This is a lesson for me, a way to hold the strangeness of the hospital at bay with thoughts of food, nature, friends, and an uncanny ability to find others who can share such passions in such a sterile, impersonal place.
We are in between now -- waiting for everything to heal before the onslaught of chemo and possibly radiation. It's nice, quiet, filled with sun and relaxing in the desert's early spring. The picture above is Jeanette sitting on our back patio (mountains not pictured) and the other -- a favorite of mine -- with her husband Enver standing on our driveway at sunset. Thanks to everyone who has sent us prayers, good thoughts, and well wishes.