I’m going to be frank, universe: the whole medical-crisis thing, with two separate ER admissions, two separate emergency surgeries (including one on my birthday), and five nights in hospital, each day ending with the empty promise that “we’ll release you tomorrow”? WORST SURPRISE PARTY EVER. Maybe next year, run your plans by me, huh?


Oh, goody! Unsolicited advice about my back problem! Of course I didn’t know exercise, gentle movements, and ibuprofen would help; I mostly loll about bonelessly like an oyster, hitting my spine with a hammer and swilling gin through a straw for the pain.


My new super-short haircut looks great, but on humid days it presents some morning surprises. This morning, it was standing up in vertical curls.

Elsa: ACK! My hair is — ack! — I look like I’m inventing something! I look like a mad scientist.
The Fella: I like it.
Elsa: You just want to come back to my lab and see my Tesla coils.
The Fella: I do.
Elsa: I look like Barton Fink.
The Fella: You look pretty.
Elsa: I look like a cockatoo.
The Fella: No! [approvingly] You look like Rod Stewart.
Elsa: …that’s not better than a cockatoo. Or different!


So. On Tuesday, I finally had my long-feared and panic-inducing Horrible Oral Surgery, and of course once I was in the chair, it was completely routine and harmless and Not At All Horrible.

What everyone told me is completely true and almost magical: once you go into twilight sleep, time just cuts out. One minute my surgeon was thanking me for directing him to the easy-to-find vein in my right arm (“That is one great big pipe!” he said more than once), then there’s a hazy half-memory of me hollering a Liz Lemon quote* at him in great good spirits, then I laughed and laughed and laughBAMsitting in a curtained space with The Fella, clamping something cool to my cheek and nodding earnestly at a nurse in mid-conversation.

I had several points I urgently wanted to communicate, and she was very polite and responsive, so much so that it took a whole day for me to figure out that she was certainly not instructing me but The Fella, who was not visibly loopy and forgetful.

Indeed, my obliviousness to my own mental state is the most disconcerting aspect of the procedure and recovery. I keep announcing “All better!” and The Fella keeps nodding and saying “That’s nice!” but it’s taken me several days to figure out that I’m still pretty zonked out, cycling up and down as the medication hits and recedes.

This afternoon, The Fella brought me a dish of applesauce. (I’ve spent most of the past few days in a nest of pillows and blankets on our futon, and he’s brought me an endless stream of soft foods, drinks, drugs, and movies. He’s a prince.) Quite a while after I finished it, he gently said, “Here, I’ll take that,” and I was surprised to find that I for some time, I’d had the empty spoon just barely tucked into my mouth. Just because.

* I can’t be completely sure that I was yelling hilariously in the surgery room, but The Fella confirms that I was quoting Liz Lemon in the recovery room. Though I was amused no end, I wonder how much the surgical and aftercare teams loved to have me splayed out and hollering “You’re too late! I already killed her!”

nine-finger discount


I had hoped to start the New Year with a fresh burst of blogging, but first I and then The Fella got knocked out by a particularly vicious flu.

We’re all better now.



Last night, I sliced open a finger with a kitchen knife*.


You won’t hear much from me for a while.

*not neeeeeeeearly as bad as it could have been: after some deliberation, the ER doctor decided I didn’t even need stitches, just bandages and a tetanus booster. With luck, the biggest danger from this injury will be the crippling boredom that sets in when I can’t [cook/ sew/ write for long stretches/ rearrange furniture/ do chores] for a few days.