One Stop Surgery

I have to do all this shit to my rapidly decaying body, and I don’t have the energy for any of it. It’s all a whole project; I have to find different doctors and referrals and navigate things and figure out who’s paying for what. I’ve got this to do list section in my planner for my fucking body and I don’t want to get around to any of it.

I’m pretty sure my foot is fractured and it’s not healing, so I need to get that looked at, and I need Lasik and I need to get another sleep study probably. I want to get my boobs taken off and some cosmetic surgery on my eyes.

It just seems like this should all be simpler by now, like there should be a big one-stop center where you can get all of it knocked out at the same time. I mean, almost all those things are done with lasers primarily. Even better, a service that will come to your house and just do your modifications and improvements. Like, I had these guys come to my house and detail my car.

Busking

Today, I recommend that you go over to Cintra Wilson’s newsletter and read this delightful anecdote in which Francis Ford Coppola is forced to literally dance for a job. I find this so funny and fun to think about, I can picture it perfectly and it genuinely made my day. There’s something very comforting and human in the thought that you never get so big that you don’t have to eat shit occasionally.

I’ve been a fan of Wilson’s writing for a long time, and her newsletter is fun — it’s a combination of reruns of her older work and newer posts like this one.

Porch

We finally put some furniture on our back porch and I’ve been enjoying sitting out there sometimes to work, or in the evening.

Except I also don’t enjoy it. Because first of all, I get bit all to shit by mosquitoes, they love me, and nothing keeps them away. And secondly, there’s construction right over the back fence, which is very noisy and ugly sometimes they play very noisy music. And finally, the neighbors to one side really love playing top 40 hits on the radio in their backyard. Like, pop songs on the radio, with ads and everything. They’re out there all the time playing that stuff and I hate it, and I can hear it even with earplugs.

So it usually isn’t very long before the irritation of these things outweighs the pleasantness of the sunshine and trees and lizards, and I’m driven back inside where I can fully control the environment.

I often wonder in such situations because it seems very difficult for me to ever fully enjoy anything: are other people better able to block out things like this? Do you not notice them, or not mind them? Or do they only ever actually happen to me? I’ve never been clear on whether I seem to be more constantly plagued by irritants because I’m uniquely unlucky in the volume of irritants I’m exposed to, or because I’m just overly sensitive to them. I always assume the latter, but maybe it’s both.

Anyway, here are pretty pictures of my porch:

Phoning It In

I’m exhausted, but might I recommend this delightful essay about why the South inspires particularly ludicrous comedy such as The Righteous Gemstones:

The fact of the matter is that the south is funny because it’s ridiculous. Like, I can’t remember the exact details of the whole thing, but my neighbor growing up definitely went to jail for being involved in an organized ring of tractor thieves. One friend’s dad was a former professional drag racer whose compound included an airplane hangar, a forklift, a single-wide trailer, and a giant yard that occasionally doubled as a mud pit where people would race beater cars while crashing into each other. (I once rode shotgun as his twelve-year-old son zoomed around in one of these races; it was fantastic.) 

Another friend had an unfortunate habit of waking up early to go hunting and then forgetting to take his gun out of his truck before he got to school, which I’m pretty sure is a felony; years later, he became a wildlife officer and briefly went viral after someone posted a video of him wrestling a deer to the ground in order to safely remove it from a thrift store. And then a couple years ago, a series of unsolved horse deaths prompted many in the local equestrian community to worry that there was a horse serial killer on the loose. (Local police ended up concluding that the killers were likely feral hogs, but that doesn’t explain how one of the horses died from a bullet wound.) 

Forms

My mother is at my parents’ house in Tennessee going through boxes of old stuff prepping for their final move out here. She has been sending me pictures of things she saved from when I was little. Mostly they are things like this:

For some reason, when I was a very little kid before I could write, I was obsessed with forms. I loved watching my parents fill out a stack of them at various appointments or at home doing taxes, the pen moving smoothly across the paper, making clear notations in all the grids. The bigger the stack of forms to fill out, the more excited I was. I could not wait to be an adult and fill out forms.

My parents did not share my love of filling out forms, and I could not understand why. It was all I aspired to do! They’d sometimes give me a big blank book of some sort of forms, and I’d knock myself out filling it up (as pictured above).

I don’t know whether this is a typical developmental stage or whether I was a weird kid, but I do know my mother is out of her mind for keeping boxes of these scribbles for 40 years.

I also did a lot of freeform “writing” in both print and cursive:

I did also sometimes draw:

Eye

The hits, they just keep coming. Because I was sick, I somehow forgot to take my contacts out last night and slept in them. This never happens. When I woke up this morning and tried to pull one off of my desiccated cornea, I scratched it up good. Nothing like starting the day off with an excited toddler, ten pounds of boiling hot snot in your face, and the pain of a thousand daggers attacking one of the most sensitive parts of your body that you also need in order to function at all.

Not that I’m complaining.

I spent the two hour morning shift stumbling around clutching my eye and sneezing while I fed and changed Edith and made coffee and cursed the gods. And as I was going about this, I thought about pain. Mostly, why haven’t we gotten rid of it yet?

Like, ok, getting rid of it would be a very bad idea, because it’s the body’s way of letting us know we have an injury so we should see a doctor if we have insurance and free time, and otherwise we should at least try not to make it worse. But once we’re old enough to know intellectually what pain means, what if we could orchestrate a way to remove it after the initial alert?

So like, I’d scratch my eye, it’d hurt like hell, I’d switch the pain off, and then carry on knowing that my eye needed to repair itself.

Like a check engine light!

Which I’ve been ignoring in my own car for coming on nine months now.

And honestly, if we were able to do that, we would simply delay care. We’d say, “I’ll see to this bleeding stab wound next week when I have things a little more under control” and then we’d die. So I guess we’re too lazy and irresponsible to do away with pain; it’s one of the few things that truly does spur us to action.

So then I was thinking, why don’t we have more pain? Like, for example, I strongly believe that sedentary lifestyles are the most unhealthy thing about The Way We Live Now and are harming and killing us all, but they’re easy enough to ignore, because there’s nothing painful about sitting there. In fact, exercising itself is often painful. So why doesn’t our body send pain alerts for lethal inactivity? Or barring that, the Fitbit alerts could be painful; I always ignored that little vibration, but I might actually get my ass up if my Fitbit actively electrocuted me when I sat still for too long.

Just things to ponder.

Anyhow, I’m staying in bed all day while the nanny is here. My eye has improved enough to let me type this.

Sick

Well, I’m sick. It only took one weekend alone with my child to knock me down for the count. I’m still pushing through in semi-denial, but I am actually glad I am sick because yesterday when I started to feel really off, but wasn’t actually having any recognizable “sick” symptoms yet, I assumed this was the big one, the one that takes me out.

Since turning 40 and having a baby, my body has gone completely to shit, so at this point, I’ve been wondering: when I notice some new malady, pain, or discomfort, how can I tell if it’s something worth following up on? I mean, if I discussed every problem I’m having with my doctor, we’d have to move in together to have time to get through it all, but I have no way of comparing what is happening to a baseline of “normal” because my normal is wildly different and overall shittier than it was a year and a half ago.

So, every time I notice yet another thing that is terrible that didn’t used to happen — most recently, for example, I noticed that I get overwhelmingly nauseous twice a day at fairly regular times — I think “well, either this is just how it feels to exist in my body from now on, or it’s cancer.”

There’s simply no way to know!

Anyway, right now, I have an actual cold or something, unless it’s COVID. So that’s a relief and an annoyance.

Mammogram

I had my first mammogram today, and I have to say, I think you’re all a bunch of whiners. It took like three minutes and I barely felt it.

The tech did chastise me, however — she at one point positioned me where a corner of the machine was poking into my ribcage, and without thinking about it, I moved around, and she said, “Let me position you, ok? I know it isn’t comfortable.”

Oops. What must it be like to spend all day in a windowless room moving people’s boobs around? It’d be my nightmare, because I personally loathe boobs. I hate mine, and I hate yours if you have them. Not a boob fan.

Lizard

Last night, I was having a glass of wine on the porch when I noticed one of our spiny lizards curled up on my bedroom windowsill. It’s unusual to see a lizard on a surface at dusk (they bask in the midday sun and otherwise are in the trees), and also it looked dead.

I was already overdue to get in bed when I noticed it, so I texted Mom on my way, and she went out and poked it.

It sort of…drooled itself off the windowsill:

From there, it continued to hold very still. We decided to leave it alone. I wonder if it’s a pregnant female maybe. Anyway, I am very fond of the lizards and I worried about this one as I fell asleep, but this morning there was no sign of it on the window ledge or elsewhere, so I hope that means it was fine and just having indigestion or something.

Birds

The neighborhood pond has a more interesting variety of birds every day now. These little white cranes (?) are always there, and are very cute:

Yesterday, there was also this large grey boi, though, and some little black water birds with bright orange bills (you can’t see them that well, but they are right behind him):

When I got home from my walk, I did some work out on the back porch, and a huge hawk flew down right in front of me, and landed on the fence for a second before soaring off.

Birds!