The trilling wire in the blood
sings below inveterate scars
appeasing long-forgotten wars
—TS Eliot: Burnt Norton, Stanza II Four Quartets
My father now jokes that he is the Bionic Parent. I jest back that it is a shame he didn’t have such powers when we were younger and he could have heard us getting into trouble from miles away.
They put a pacemaker in at 2:00 yesterday, going in from the right side because he is left-handed. The surgeon said he enjoyed it because it’s actually easier to go in from the right because of the way a heart sits in the chest. At last my dad’s left-handedness pays off, after a lifetime of getting ink smeared across the meat of his hand and having scissors pinch.
They gave him Versed and he apparently reacts like I do, with a torrent of words. That’s supposed to be an abnormal reaction, along with things like copious crying. But everyone I’ve ever talked to has reacted the same way. All of which gets buried by the memory that dies–another reason why they give Versed. You hurt but you’ll never remember it. Or so they say. I have a theory that your body keeps the pain in it and lets it out at other times.
His room was full of visitors, his blood brother and his heart’s sister and his brother’s wife all came up to chat. My brother answered the phone and told me I should find something better to do. “Go write on your blog,” he said. But I had already done that. I had also called gamefowl breeders by the dozens looking for the one who sold us our dog a decade ago in hopes they had another like him for sale today. So I sat on the phone and listened to all the happiness in room 264 of the Heart Insititute. Or Division. Or Campus. Or whatever fancy word they gave it to make it sound like this part of the hospital was reassuringly knowledgable in matters of the heart.
I called back later and everyone had left except my father who was reading a detective novel instead of bankruptcy cases as he had done all weekend. My father sounded better over the phone than he had in the last year. Less tired, more alert. He claimed that he could tell instantly upon waking that he was much better and that the surgery seemed to fix a problem he didn’t even realised he had.
Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice
–TS Eliot, Little Gidding, Stanza I Four Quartets