Monday, June 23, 2008

Body Stories

When I die, the coroner is going to look at my body and wonder what my story was. Every mark has a story, and last week, I added another chapter.

I have a chapter titled "Intususeption" at 4 months old. It left a scar running vertically up my abdomen that is now about 4 inches long. The subtitle on that one is called "Appendix".

There's the minor plotlines of falls, scrapes, cuts - all of which have left their mark. My tongue is two different colors from when I burned it after crunching down on a glass ammonia capsule. There are a couple of scars from mole removal. When my doctor asked me about removing one on my face, I replied that scars don't scare me. I have plenty and if one more will allow me to live longer, bring it on!

There's a minor canyon running up my left index finger from washing a cold glass in hot water.

My arms and legs are multicolored from a flea allergy developed in the last days of my furbaby Beryl's life when we couldn't get them off her no matter what.

The bottom of my belly smiles from a c-section nine years ago, and it laughs at all the stretch marks that point at it.

Last week, we wrote the latest chapter in gallbladder surgery. I have four new holes in my abdomen. And one more missing body part. I'm healing well and my belly is becoming an epic saga.

Great art requires some suffering though. It took me a long time to come out of the anesthesia and I was violently ill in the process. However, that is the LAST nausea I've had. After a month and a half of near-constant nausea, it's an incredible relief.

I may have mentioned that I have a rather high pain threshold. Honestly, I expected more pain. After all, they gave me a prescription for FIFTY percoset. In the last five days, I've used seven. Mostly to sleep (in case I shift painfully in my sleep). For the most part, I've had to move gingerly, keeping my torso straight because bending really does hurt. If I sit up too long, I get a little sore and uncomfortable and very tired. The remedy for that is lying down - not popping a pill. I was like that after my c-section too. I took maybe four percoset total and decided that that was enough. Perhaps I'm a freak.

This is where I've spent the better part of the last week:

Sick bed

With a piano bench full of necessities by my side:


Water! My glucose testing kit. Cell phone. Thermometer. Booklight that doubles as a flashlight. TV/Satellite remote. Regular phone. Blood pressure pills and percoset (just in case). A pen. And the book we're supposed to be reading for the bookclub at work - Naked by David Sedaris.

This is the view from my couch:

View from the couch

ZBoy moved in one night to sleep in the same room as me. Darling Man and Z had been sleeping on the blowup in the livingroom, just in case I needed something. Apparently the percoset helped me sleep rather undisturbed, because Darling Man moved back upstairs Sunday night.

The flowers on my book case:


From the Brothers (aren't they gorgeous?), some wildflowers that Darling Man and ZBoy picked on a walk (they seem to miss the sun - I moved them to a window and they perked up), and an arrangement from the wonderful people at work. I gaze at all of them everyday and think that maybe someone cares after all.

Kida has done yeoman's duty as guard dog and first alerter. She's stayed by my side almost constantly. If she's not sitting up looking at me, she's lying down next to the couch.
Faithful companion Kida stands guard

The real discomfort here is boredom, though. I am a woman of action. I am always DOING. Being forced to lie down and be still is sheer torture. Sure... there's TV. But there's nothing worth watching. I finished one book and started the Sedaris book, but my eyes get tired just as quickly as the rest of me. One day, Darling Man came home with a puzzle! It kept me occupied, but I had to take frequent breaks because sitting straight up hurts after a while.


Turned out nicely though, didn't it? It took me two days. After the success of this puzzle, he went out and got me two more. The one I'm working on now is hard - and the cats seem to think it makes a lovely place to lie down. It's of wolves. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

I"ve been talking on the phone. Mom came to visit/babysit on Friday so DM could go to work. I've been downing pudding, jello, soup and creamed spinach. I want a hamburger. Somehow the soft, bland diet that is recommended after surgery just doesn't seem like eating. I want to sink my teeth into something and CHEW. On the upside, I've lost four pounds on the Soft, Bland, Lay Around and Heal Diet.

I finally made it upstairs and onto the computer yesterday. Couldn't stay on long, but did read a couple of blogs. Discovered that there are a few things out there that make my stitches ache. I was literally clutching myself trying to keep from popping open as I read The Bloggess' adventures in television interview-world. I had a similar reaction as I read the True Detectives chapter in Naked. Laughter may be the best medicine, but I suspect that this may also be where the "no pain, no gain" cliche may have come from. Laughing hurts!

In my quest for quiet activity, I finally ventured into the scariest realm of all for me - art. I got ZBoy's sketch pad and colored pencils and stared at the blank page for a while. I asked what Z wanted me to draw. "Draw Yoda!"


Good effort, yes? Of course I then started making notes of what makes my stomach ache on the side, which sort of defeated the purpose.

I asked Darling Man, who is really an artistic kind of guy, how does a person draw? How do you think of something? He suggested closing my eyes and making random gestures on the page with a pencil. Then open your eyes and look at it from all angles and see what it makes you think of. Kind of like sculpting, you pull out the picture that is already there. So I tried.

Fish with Eyebrows?

Um. An onion? A fish with eyebrows? Perhaps if I add some color...


Interesting. Maybe a womb?

Let's try again. I sat and "gestured", then looked and looked. The picture of the pencil-only squiggles didn't come out well, but this is what I came up with:

Music in Me

After much consideration, I decided that it looked like a woman with long, wavy hair. She seemed pregnant to me, or holding an instrument of some kind. I call it "The Music In Me" which seems to cover both bases. It works.

I might have to try this again.

But first, I'd like to get back to work. If nothing else, this has convinced me that I am definitely NOT a lady cut out for leisure!!!!


nikki said...

We all have our battle scars. My should looks like a major war broke out and I lost!

Glad to see you feeling better. Your last pictures looks damn fine to me!

Patience said...

Glad you're better! Love the art! I agree, it does look like a woman with long hair; I'm just not sure she's pregnant.

Beckie said...

I'm glad that you are feeling better. Recuperation is always tedious.

That last picture looks pretty darn good to me. I thought it looked like a pregnant woman with a long flowing veil holding a feather - sort of Native American.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Sis-
Glad to hear you are in finer fettle. We are all thinking about you and praying for your speedy recovery! :)


SwampAngel65 said...

Glad to hear you're doing good. We could go shark fishing and compare scars! hehehe... I bet we have 4 matching scars on our stomachs!

That was so sweet of Darling Man and ZBoy to sleep with you, if even for one night. My husband would never have done that.

Your artwork is quite nice. I like it better than the puzzle :) So, did you keep your stones????

lisa marie said...

Love the drawings!

I too have a body of scars and the list of long surgeries that accompany that. I actually have been contemplating how to take a couple of photos of a few of my scars but haven't done it yet.

They will wonder about us both. :)

I love how you wrote about the c-sect scar I have that one too.

Alice in Wonderbread said...

Oh, Sayre- you're a complicated, articulate, compassionate, and creative human being. I am so glad I met you!

Keep reading Sedaris. Naked is my favorite collection, personally. Written before his major fame, and before he had to dig around for what I consider 'smaller' life vignettes. The ones in here are the cream of the crop.

I just got his 'When You Are Engulfed in Flames'. I'll let you know how it is. Dude the guy can make me pee-my-pants laughing.

It is so cute how Z boy and The Man slept around you, and your dog watched out for you. :)

Keep healing. Give yourself time. And hell man, enjoy the yellow submarine experience on the percoset. hee. I am so glad the nausea has left. That's a hard part of surgery.

Loved the description of the map of your body. I think you could extend that out into a peice about true beauty- life experience. Each mark is a badge to be proud of, not a flaw to hide! We all swoon over the scar on Harrison Ford's chin, not anything flawless about him. I adore Christopher Walken for the ice eyes and crazy man hair...not anything perfect at all.

anyway....thanks for the comments. Each day I'm finding out I'm a pretty neat person without him, and accepting his decision more and more. Sometimes even feeling thankful he did it now, and not later.

karisma said...

Oh Sayre! I love you! You naughty bad girl! You sure know how to play down shit don't you???

Now firstly I am going to concentrate tonight on sending you much needed spiritual healing. You brave girl, you!

Second, in your necessities there, the only one I saw was Zboy! What a sweetheart, I swear, its all in the name! LOL!

Third, your drawings made me giggle and I love them.

Fourth, jigsaws, if you need a new one. It just so happens, I went and bought a rather expensive one a couple of years back and for some reason, never got around to actually doing it. Now I tried once, but did not have somewhere to set it up.

I think it might be just what you need right now, the picture is very HEALING so to speak. I suddenly feel that maybe I bought it for you! So my sweet, email me your mailing address and its all yours!

Take care! And know that out here in the blogsphere, you are not alone, we love you! And we we all wish you very fast healing, scars and all!

PS. I bet my stretch marks can give yours a run for their money! (My last two certainly gave my skin what for! My body does not know how to do a small baby and unfortunately I am not that big!)

Me said...

I am glad you are better and even more glad, that you took the time off to recover.
And I really do like the drawing, its so aptly titled. It does look like the swayings of somebody's soul.


ablondeblogger said...

Oh you poor thing!!! I'm glad you're on the mend. Didn't they load you up with anti-nausea meds for the surgery? I always ask for everything they have and more (they even put a patch behind my ear). I really feel for you!

And those pictures???? Gorgeous!!! I LOVE them!! I think you should title the first one "healing."

And keep making more. I could see those in an art gallery...seriously.

That girl said...

Wow are you ever a talented artist!! my my...I never knew.

And those scars and holes in your abdomen, don't fret (you aren't anyway) they just make you who you are today.

I too, have some pretty neat scars that tell a story. I've grown fond of them over the years.

Glad you're better,


Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle.