To be honest, this has not been the most enjoyable of weeks. I returned home from an absolutely wonderful trip to Lincoln to record a CD with my best friend on Saturday afternoon; early Monday morning I had surgery on my right shoulder (an open distal clavicle excision with an AC decompression). Now my ‘go-go-go’ self is forced to be a ‘whoa-whoa-whoa’ gal…so hard for me. It’s also no fun to lose the use of my right arm for a while as a right-handed person.
I am stationed in my cozy chair in the living room with Marley as my faithful companion. Such a gentle and sweet soul standing guard over me. Dan has been a true prince, patiently, gently, and kindly taking care of me, taking care of the house, the meal preparation, the shopping, the AirBnB- everything. I sit here riddled with guilt that I can’t jump in and help as I usually do…and then he fusses at me when he catches me trying to do the smallest chore with my one good hand.
I also have my very own Nurse Ratched in the form of Shiva, our crazy, mercurial Tortoiseshell cat. Shiva has about seventeen different personalities, and at least eleven of them are plotting my demise at any given time.
Shiva has been checking on me regularly- I’m pretty sure to see if I’m still breathing. She seems giddy at the possibility that she could finally have Dan all to herself. She curls up in my lap, kneading furiously on Mom’s afghan that covers me. It looks so sweet and benign- until I feel her sharp claws digging into my shins through the holes in the blankie. At least it helps me to forget the intense pain in my shoulder. Gotta look for the blessings, right?
Speaking of pain, the hospital sent me home with a pain block. For the first three days I carried the ball of medicine around in a black pouch with long, awkward, tubing coming from the catheter in my neck to the ball. What a blessedly wonderful invention; though my arm was a zombie arm, completely dead to the world for three days, it kept me from feeling the worst of the post-surgical pain. I lived in fear that Shiva was going to puncture the tubing each time she jumped up on me and began to knead. I am under no delusions- she was trying her best, getting closer and closer to depriving me of the one thing bringing me a modicum of relief.
By the third night, I moved up into our guest room to sleep all propped up in my grandparents old oak bed. Shiva did her best to send me into cardiac arrest by pouncing on my chest several times during the night, staring into my eyes and sniffing me before either curling up to knead her claws into me again or springing off of my stomach to do her habitual nocturnal race around the house at full speed.
It is now six days past my surgery, and so far I have survived Shiva’s ministrations. I’ll be in a sling and out of commission for a while more as my shoulder heals, feeling like the weak one in the pack being ready to be taken out like in Animal Kingdom…or Hunger Games. I see the look in Shiva’s eyes- a cat on a mission. If something happens to me, please tell my story, and- may the odds be ever in my favor…