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A shower

That’s my big adventure for today. Much harder than after the hip op, because my whole leg had to be supported out straight. I am not looking forward to going to the toilet too many times. But I’m told it is likely to improve quickly. I hope so.

Yesterday, I got stressed and tired again, and still didn’t sleep well. But today my strength has returned, along with the blood transfusion that went to 11pm last night. I watched Boytown and Columbo. Thank goodness for this computer, to save my sanity. I’m going to watch March of the Penguins now. All caught up on DVDs soon.

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Simple things

The operation went well yesterday. I was very groggy afterwards, so I just slept between observations every hour or two. Then this morning I woke up feeling grumpy. Grumpy that my knee hurt, that I didn’t feel as mobile as I had been, that I couldn’t reach and find things easily, and that I was hungry. I was worried about propping the bed up in case it put more pressure on the knee. I felt too irritable to meditate or chant or even read more than a few pages. I did read a little of Readers Digest, it was just at my limit of concentration.

Then I got some painkillers, breakfast, washed, and discovered I could prop up the bed after all. I can see the cockatoos in the trees again. Mike came up and cheered me up and helped me get organised. The doctors say I can sit up today, try walking tomorrow, go home early next week. My chi kung teacher is coming up to visit soon. I have my computer back and the Boytown DVD to watch. Simple things, and everything is looking up again.

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Lucky?

It’s 4.14 am. I’m not lying awake worrying as such, just lying awake. So I may as well write. I woke up about an hour ago, to go to the toilet. I slept well until then, falling asleep in front of my computer playing a Bewitched DVD. I’ve always liked Bewitched. I used to look forward to it when I was six years old in Northern Ireland. And now I’m 45 and in a Darwin hospital.

One of those things I think about briefly when it comes on is how Elizabeth Montgomery died of cancer. Another person whose death from cancer disturbs me is George Harrison’s. I think if such a spiritual (and materially rich) man couldn’t beat this, what can I do? But then I think, there is no way of knowing how, why. There is no point in comparisons.

Although I do think that dying of cancer, although common, is not common among spiritual leaders, and is not common among passionate livers. There are some exceptions. But it would be interesting to see the comparisons.

Some of the many analogies for cancer I’ve seen include cancer as frustrated creativity. I feel some truth in this. Also, cancer as an individual manifestation of how our multi-national capitalism treats its own environment – unrestricted growth, at the expense of everything else in the environment; no real function other than reproduction.

This also rings true to me, but I don’t see why I should choose to manifest this myself.

However, in general, I don’t worry too much about why. I’m only interested in why insofar as knowing can help.

Tomorrow – later today – I suppose I will mainly sleep. As one does after a general anaesthetic. It doesn’t matter that I’m awake now. It is very quiet tonight in the hospital. I don’t need my earplugs. For this I am grateful, after 2 nights where the man next door found it necessary to watch television very loudly until 4am. Now the only sounds are the building breathing, and my computer fan whirring, and the poor man next door occasionally hiccupping. He is particularly susceptible to hiccups.

At 6am, the night nurse will get me up and showered for theatre, some time in the morning. I wonder if I’ll sleep again before then? Or if I’ll just ramble on, or read The power of now, or The inheritance of loss, or watch Bewitched again. I’m lucky I have so much that entertains me, just lying in bed. Thinking, reading, writing, music, musing, meditating, watching.

I read a funny poem today by Judith Viorst, where she talks about how, no matter what happens to her, there are always people around who tell her how lucky she is.

The really funny thing is that it’s true.  

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Simply today (and a little of tomorrow)

Today I went outside for the first time for 2 weeks. That was fun, to feel the unairconditioned steamy Darwin air again. Mike pushed me around the carpark in a wheelchair. We went upstairs to visit a work colleague of Mike’s who has just had a baby, and I had a baby cuddle. Not much I like doing better than that. I’ve spoken to friends. My daughter is coming up shortly and we will watch 48 Shades, based on Nick Earls’s 48 Shades of Brown. I can’t think why they changed the title.

Tomorrow I have the next operation, to put a plate next to the fragile bit of femur above the knee, and put reinforcements into the bone. (A black butterfly just flew past my 3rd storey window – what’s it doing up here?) Then after a few days they will help me get up and walk. It has been hard not walking – the hip feels so strong.

I feel so strong. I hope it continues.

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Kim Caraher

Kim is a writer and editor of Childrens’ Literature and Literary Fiction.

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