Last week my father had heart surgery. It’s a relatively new procedure–introduced from France and perfected over the last ten years–called Cardiac Ablation. The doctors threaded wires up his femoral artery and used electricity to kill off abnormal cardiac circuitry that caused arrhythmia. My younger brother had the same procedure a few months ago.
This is the kind of thing that causes me to lose patience with all those historical romance novels a la Diana Gabaldon where someone from our time is transported back to the days of yore and has such a lovely time hanging about a castle with bunches of studly lovers. Sure, there may be lots of smoked meat on trenchers and big pretty dresses and whatall, but Dentistry was unheard of and there was no such thing as heart surgery. I don’t care how many times you cure an intractable fever with moldy herbal pills*, the past was nowhere close to modern medicine.
I think I’m babbling about this for two reasons. Reason A is that I’ve been depressed because I’ve been in a flare cycle and the pills I take for that cause severe depression. That, coupled with the anemia, has left me weak and sad and tired and too weak, sad, and tired to do anything about it.
Reason B is that it occurs to me that I’ve just been sort of weathering all of these strikes against the ship of my life in a sort of shock. What’s that? My 36 year old brother is having heart surgery? Ok. My grandmother is dead? Ok. My dog is blind and dying? Ok. My father has heart surgery? My mother has a knee replacement? Ok. Ok. But then last night all of a sudden it just wasn’t okay anymore.
I think I’m at that age where everyone starts to fall apart. We went through the years where everyone was graduating from things and having babies and buying houses and there were beginnings aplenty. Now we’re getting to the years where the endings are starting. Divorces, houses being sold, deaths. Most of the time I don’t mind not having human children. Most of the time I’m relieved. But then ocassionally these days come and I realise that I won’t have grandchildren around to help me pretend that I’m back at the beginning again and I wonder how that will go for me. Then I look at other people whose grandchildren don’t ever visit or are in jail or are being raised on a military base in Frankfurt and I think “well, there’s no telling the future for anybody, really.” I imagine it must hurt even worse to have poured your life into a child and then have them decide that you can see your grandchildren once every seven years, like some sort of Vulcan fertility rite. Nobody ever EVER ends up where they expected, you see. Nobody. And that’s not a bad thing, really. If life were always predictable there’d be nothing to learn from the doing of it.
*This really happened in a book I just
read suffered through a month ago. It was a moment of severe eyeroll for me. Fungus Ex Machina? “I have the herbs you ordered, but they were in my cloak when we were riding in the rain and now they’re all moldy. Do you dare try to give them to the patient?” And of course the doctor does and the patient gets better because in the midst of solving murders and flirting they also accidentally discovered penicillin. Woot. Of course, though, he’s so bloody lovestruck that he doesn’t write down which moldy herbs he gave the child so the secret of penicillin is lost to the ages. Double eyeroll.