Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Anatomy (Reprinted from 2005, in celebration of 10 years since my heart operation.)

My head is about  the size and weight of one of those mass-produced, mass-slaughtered roasting chickens from Costco. I figure my brain probably matches one of the wild grouse (Michiganders call them partridge or “pats”)that Angus used to prepare by larding(threading bacon through the bird for fat and hence flavor.
By a rather famous deduction, they say my soul weighs 21grams.
My heart, even with its five bypasses that make it look like a map of the greater Indianapolis area, weighs about 200 grams. They stopped my heart for 94 minutes during the surgery. I like to think some beautiful female surgeon  (looking suspiciously like Jennifer Morrison in “House M.D.”) held it in her hands while they fixed it, but it probably lay there like a fatty slab of beef (at least we're out of the poultry section!) until they were done. Maybe she was the one to jumpstart it…
Not to change the subject, but the Rockettes are in Chicago. Does anyone know how to get heel marks off a ceiling?
My liver is the size of Montana, and both Montana and I are mighty proud!
Considering a less seen part of me (NO, Claire!!, NOT MY EMOTIONS!!!) and seeing how the Rockettes are leaving soon, I refer you to my urologist, who was interviewed  the other day
       "Of course I won't laugh,” I said. "I'm a professional. In over twenty years I've never laughed at a patient."Okay then," Tom said, and proceeded to drop his trousers revealing the tiniest "wiener" as a doctor I had ever seen. It couldn't have been size of a peanut. Unable to control myself, I started giggling, and then fell laughing to the floor. Ten minutes later I was able to struggle to my feet and regain my composure."I'm so sorry," I said. "I really am.....I don't know what came over me. On my honor as a professional and a gentleman, I promise it won't happen again. Now what seems to be the problem?"Tom replied, "It's swollen.... "
I mentioned my emotions, above. I don’t know exactly where they sit. Some people (mostly doctors) think they’re in a part of my brain, right next to memory and the urge to kill. Others, romantics all, place them in my heart among the scar tissue and the poorly spackled cracks.  Others (actually Claire) believe they’re in my” wiener, like all men.” (“He may be short, but that just means his brain is closer to his dick!”)
The tear ducts seem to be functioning at normal, or slightly lower fluid levels. Before the heart surgery, they were way above normal and would often overflow, usually when mixed with 15 year old scotch, but sometimes just on their own. In Post-OP, (and again, to all the nurses, I am so sorry!) during nightmares that were either drug-induced or withdrawal- induced, I was in a very damp, dark cellar where I just cried and cried and cried some more. It was as if every real hurt (there are no “imagined” ones) came flooding out.( I was actually mad at my Dad for dying. When you’re a kid you think like that and then tuck it away. I relived every slap, every slight, every “No, no way, not in a million years!”  Just call me “Tsunami Tom”!!)
But I think the most important part of the old anatomy is my legs. Not my physical legs which, though I walk a lot, probably won’t carry me too far. I mean legs the way the media say “This story’s got LEGS!” They mean staying power. I mean momentum.
Did you ever see a car being driven down a hill, picking up speed, trying to make it across a flooded intersection before the car stalls? That’s life. When you’re born, you’re literally given a push into life. I believe “The Great Unshovable Shover “ gives you a spiritual  push to get you moving for awhile. Some kids stall sooner than others. Some are lucky and have parents or teachers or brothers and sisters, to give them that next shove. Others hit a brick wall, are killed by a stray bullet, or are just forgotten. And so life goes on: running down a steep hill so you can make it up the next even steeper one.
I know it’s hard to believe in a personally involved deity. But after the surgery The Shover gave me a pretty good push, and, anatomically speaking, a good kick in the buttocks.Or was that the Rockettes?

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