Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

subjective time & mortality (& tonsils…) ~

It’s been a month of contrasts: highs, lows, roller coaster turns in between. It began on vacation (hence the hiatus in posts) in lovely Oregon ~ upper 60s, creamy sunlight, roses everywhere.

Then back to Oklahoma, where temps were 40 degrees hotter (yep — we hit 117˚this month!). And then things got hectic…

A week ago, I was celebrating my retirement. A lovely party at one of my favourite downtown restaurants, full of people I’ve come to think of as extended family. Cards, presents, even proclamations! How lucky is that? Then in to the doctor to have a look at a spot on my right tonsil…


Here’s the deal: when a doctor puts his fingers in your mouth and gets this grave look? Well, I’m thinking that can’t be good…And when he says, ‘This needs to come out. Now.’ …?  You just nod. And make arrangements.

Fast forward 48 hours, and I’m recovering from an emergency tonsillectomy. LESS than a week after my retirement party. (There seems something intrinsically wrong w/ that sentence.) The doctor has made no promises, and I won’t know for sure until early this week, but we’re hopeful it’s not cancer. The C word, my mother’s generation always called it. As if to call it by name was akin to speaking the name of Voldemort, for a younger one…


In the meantime, as the doctor warned, a tonsillectomy for a grown-up is NOT child’s play… It hurts. And I’m not a brave warrior, just FYI. :) I don’t like pain, mine or anyone else’s. But somehow, I’m enduring it better knowing that this is, possibly, an interlude. This time of swilling the lovely Darjeeling tea a dear friend’s mother brought me from India, poured into a gurgling red fish pitcher another dear friend gave me… I’m managing it far better than I would have thought. Nausea (my least favourite side effect of surgery!), pain, fever… I’m managing. I’m thinking it’s the whole imminent mortality thing…


Because here’s the deal: I’ll know probably by Tuesday. And though I hope for good news, there’s always the chance it won’t be. And this is about as immediate a brush w/ ugliness as I’ve had in quite some time. Totally unexpected, not a joint replacement (done that). Not a dying parent (been there). Not the threats of unhappiness that dog much of human life on a daily basis.

Nope. This is the C word, unless it’s just tonsillitis. But I won’t know for a couple of days. So I’m glad for these moments. I am drinking my tea (carefully!). And listening to rain, when it falls (like music, if you think about it…). And living very decidedly in this interlude of pain that is, for the moment, enough. I’m thinking it’s good for a beginner’s heart…

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