Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE


Billie-holiday.jpg, originally uploaded by poirpom.

Well, it's a good thing I didn't worry before my surgery. It's a good thing that I reveled in every moment of being at home, rather than spoiling it by mentally leaping into "what might happen." Because as it turns out what might happen arrived all on its own.

My recovery was on track until Sunday when I became serioiusly ill. Doctors were summoned (one even racing down the hallway), tests were taken, conferences were had. The consensus was even more desperate than the way I felt. My surgery had failed, and would need to be repeated (today at 1:30.)

Fortunately, by yesterday, I was feeling much better. A young Vietnamese man arrived to take me by wheelchair to radiology. It felt like a real outing. Running 3 and a half minutes late, and obsessively punctual, my high spirited driver gave me the kind of thrill ride I haven't had in years. We practically did wheelies around the corners.
Wheee!

Once I got off the ward, I marveled at the healthy people I saw, and all the incredible things they could do without a second thought. They walked fast, carrying backpacks or heavy satchels, while nattering on their cell phones about what they were doing that night.
A woman enjoyed a bagel and coffee at her desk. Then around the next turn, a frustrated young mother, chased a toddler, while balancing a baby on her hip. A man, talking in the hallway complained that his supervisor was compelled "to micro-manage everything."

In another time, I have done all these things, I have been all these people (though I don't think I've ever used the word micro-manage.")
(Remind me to try it.)

My popular driver was greeted enthusiastically by co-workers everywhere. "How ya doin?" they asked.

"Same old. Same old," he responded the first three times.

That was when I spoke up. "Look at you. You're racing. You're whistling. You're calling out to your friends. You're not Same Old anything. You're WONDERFUL."

He laughed out loud. When he met the next friend, he didn't even wait to be asked how he was.

"You know how I am today? I'm WONDERFUL."

My destination was a spot in an empty hallway where I was to wait for the radiologist. I was sitting there thinking of everything I'd seen on my ride when unexpectedly, someone behind me belted out the old Billie Holiday classic, Good Morning Heartache. It was a damn good rendition.

I turned around and saw an old man in a wheel chair, waiting as I was. He continued to sing, and when he was finished, I clapped.

"Do you know that song?" he asked.

Oh yes, I know that song. All too well.

But then I thought about all the people I'd seen that day. I thought about how blessed they were. All of them. And how blessed I was, too. Blessed to be loved by my family and friends, to be cared for by an amazing team of doctors and nurses. Blessed to meet my buoyant young wheel chair driver, and to be able to see the world around me as I traveled. And especially blessed by an old man, sitting alone in a hallway, who had the fortitude to turn his troubles into a song.

**********************************************************************

Thanks to all of you who have left such beautiful messages of support in this past week. Some days, though you may not have known it, you have held me up.

71 comments:

ruby said...

i am thinking of you, patry, and wishing you strength and healing...xo...

liz elayne said...

that image of watching people and seeing them do all these things without thinking about it...it's a simple and deeply profound image patry. and i appreciate the quiet invitation to think about this and the blessings around me, inside me.

these two men seem like special spirits appearing in the midst of this avenue of your journey.

sending you a warm yellow light of healing and peace...

Myfanwy Collins said...

Oh damn! I'm so sorry you have to do the surgery again, Patry. And thank you for reminding me how wonderful life is. Thinking of you!!

Deirdre said...

I could almost see you speeding through the hallways, watching everything, soaking it all in, and turning it into beautiful writing.

I'm so sorry the surgery didn't work - and that you have to go through it again. I've been doing a lot of candle-lighting lately for people going through difficult times. I'll light one for you today too.

Love Billie Holiday. That song might be on my iPod - I'll check.

Jessie said...

my god, woman, i just love you to pieces!! :)

Diana said...

Oh, Patry. I'm so sorry you're facing this. Best wishes for the second time around.

Larramie said...

To recognize what's wonderful, despite heartache, is embracing life.

Feel healthier, Patry, for we're all embracing you.

kyra said...

in the middle of it all, your writing pours forth, beautiful, illuminating, wise, and so full of life.

sending you my thoughts and prayers. healing is on the way.

Janet said...

Praying too.

Sky said...

i am so sorry to hear you have run up against this obstacle...it is like the operating rooms in that hospital are not happy unless you are in one of them!

it is 2:23 your time. i hope you are almost finished with your surgery and that all went fine. we will depend on ted to let us know. so many thoughts, prayers, and good wishes surround you always. love will continue to lift you and hold you in its arms as you rest and heal. we will all be waiting for more of your fabulous stories.
x0x0

Annie said...

You make me cry with your gratitude
and bravery in the face of illness.
I hope if it ever happens to me I can
be half as brave. You inspire us all.
Sending much love and hope, that this is all over soon and you can get back to being healthy again.

gayle said...

Oh, Patry. Sending tons and tons of love your way...

xo
gayle

kathryn said...

Thank you for the reminder to LOOK and to be grateful. Thank you for writing this. I was blessed to participate by reading. May you continue to be blessed, may waves of blessing roll over and into you.

I admire you so much, Patry.

Anonymous said...

Oh Patry. Sky truly said it, the hospital wants you too much. However, we want you more and we plan to win.

Thanks so much for sharing your wild ride with us here. I love picturing you, hair flying, fingers gripping the armrests, devilish grin on your face. Making your wonderful observations as you whiz past others. Maybe it'll make it into one of your books one day.

Liz Elayne eloquently said "these two men seem like special spirits appearing in the midst of this avenue of your journey."

I think she's right. Wheelie man was sent to remind you to keep that delicious sense of humor at the ready. And the old fellow singing came by to remind you of your strength.

Ironic that those very qualities--your humor and strength--are helping the rest of this through this at the same time. Of course, that's the beauty of Patry.

And keep in mind that you'll be one of those backpack toting, toddler chasing folks very very very soon.

All my love,
Tish

Neil said...

Sending you all the healing spirit that you need --

easywriter said...

Much strength and love I send to you Patry. You are wonderful and always will be. Blessings and light to you and your family.

Alice said...

Sending every possible good wish for success this time. Hope to read your responses to all these messages real soon. If attitude really helps, everything should work out well. I certainly wish so!

dampscribbler said...

I've been checking your page daily since Friday to see how you're doing. I'm so sorry surgery has to be repeated, and I'm glad you were feeling somewhat better yesterday. I'm praying for you, I'm so thankful for you and your gorgeous blog that I'm just getting to know, and I'm so pulling for your recovery. Take care.

Leah said...

patry, i'm sending you loads of love and healing vibes.

what a beautiful post, full of hope and love and eyes open to the wonder of everything.

thank you for that!!

caroline : my pocket said...

Hi Patry :) I read your blog but haven't commented yet. Just wanted to thank you for this post, so touching and full of life. I love it! So glad to have found you and your words. Sending much love and a hug. x

MB said...

Patry, may love give you strength, carry you when you are tired, and continue to light the way as you heal.
You are in my thoughts.

Lisa said...

I don't remember the last time I prayed, but I prayed today. Please be better soon. xo

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Patry, what they all said.

In the face of such difficulties, your generous and glowing spirit really is a lesson and a blessing to us all. The wheelchair driver and the singing patient are enriched for having met you. Sending you love and healing thoughts.
xxxxx

Rachel said...

Thank you. I will think of this post the next time someone asks me how I am.

Sending you good thoughts. Be well.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Patry...thinking of you. As always and always and always..

And I'm grateful to your spirit guides...maybe manifesting all of us and many many more.

Anonymous said...

Patry, you amazing wonderful woman! I was, like everyone else, crushed to learn you faced yet another surgery...but, there you are, courageous and blessed with the gift of being to find love and humour (and yes, at times, pathos) in all you see and experience.You are the shining light of an example to us all in how to LIVE your life. I send you love and strength and prayers as Easter approaches. I, too will burn a candle for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Patry, I'm just another aspiring writer who stumbled on your "just have to accept" post a couple of months ago. I wish I had words of my own to convey the hope and healing I want to send your way. Once again, though, I'll use someone else's:

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.

(Chinese Proverb)

Sending you love and a green bough,

rdl said...

Oh i am so glad to hear you sounding so good, so full of hope of life; sounding so, so like You. I pray the surgery went well and that you are back to normal really really soon.
love you,
R

leslee said...

You are amazing. I would offer to send strength and courage but you appear to have plenty to spare and share. So sending healing thoughts and wishes for a speedy and smooth recovery.

James Goodman-Horror Writer said...

I'm keeping you in my heart and prayers, Patry.

Laura said...

I'm so happy that your joy went with you into surgery yesterday, and that these trials haven't stolen it from you, Patry. We're praying hard for you and your family.

(CRIMESPREE arrived yesterday, and the interview looks great. You are one wise, cool writer-chick!)

Love and love. L.

andrea said...

You are such a gifted writer. Wow.

I am sorry you have to have another surgery. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you as well.
a.

Aimeepalooza said...

I am so thankful to read this and get the gentle reminder to simply look at all the good around me instead of focusing on the bad. Also, not only do we have waiting tables and writing in common, the baby G I write about is Gabe too. You and I must be kindred spirits.
Here's to using the bright side of life to win this fight and here's to embracing every moment...especially those kick ass wheel chair rides and old men who belt out songs.

LitPark said...

Right here with you. Love you, Patry.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Wishing I could do more, Patry. Your words are so powerful and lift up so many of us--may their power and all the hopes floating in the air for you be what you need.

Judy

Laini Taylor said...

Oh Patry, I'm so sorry to hear this -- I've been imagining you convalescing, getting stronger, with loved ones around you. I always imagine the best until I know otherwise, even with the one big fear in my life: cancer. There is nothing else that freezes my blood like hearing that someone young like you has cancer. Still, I just imagine the doctors are working miracles -- and I hope so deeply they are, this very minute. This post is beautiful as always. All best thoughts and wishes, xoxo.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Patry, I'm so sorry about this tough time in your life. I'm inspired by your courage, humor, resourcefulness and dignity. Thank you.
Please get well.
XO,
M

Fred Garber said...

I am praying for you!

The Curmudgeon said...

Sorry to hear about this latest setback. Hoping the surgery has happened, gone well and that things are steadily improving.

paris parfait said...

Patry I love how you find beauty and wonder in the smallest details. Praying you are back on the healing path and feeling a bit stronger with every day that passes. Much love to you. xoxox

♥nova-san said...

Your consistent positive outlook and your ability to see beauty and light in the face of darkness is just inspiring and remarkable.

We'll be praying for a successful surgery this time around.

Polly Kahl said...

Many people you don't even know are putting out happy recovery vibes for you, as a result of the blogging day we dedicated to you. Wishing you the best and sending lots of positivity your way.

Tish Cohen said...

I just hope all is well today.

xox

Jessica Keener said...

I'm with you, Patry, unleashing that river of white light your way. I think it got comfortable on your couch and now it's realized that it needs to follow you everywhere and it will and it is. Love to you. Jessica

Patry Francis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC said...

Hi... I've popped over from RDL's blog. What a wonderful post. An extra prayer for you and a hope for strength and continued optimism.
Take care.

Laura said...

Get well soon, sweetpea!

Love,

Laura and Fred

robin andrea said...

Patry, I could fill this little square that blogger gives me to type my "comment" just repeating the words, Be well my friend. Be well my friend.... Sending love and the best of all wishes your way. Be well my friend.

twoblueday said...

As always, good thoughts into the aether for you.
Really good thoughts.

datinggod said...

loving you, loving you right now! . . . patry you are just one gorgeous hunka womanhood, you know that??? i read your words and take a deep breath, a deep sigh of Yes, and i am so so grateful for your presence in the world . . . shine on sister :)

Alex S said...

I knew you were amazing Patry but GEES!!!! This post just throws you right over the top into the MOST amazing of the amazing, that you can write a post as beautiful as this with all you have going on. I have to tell you that my heart feels heavy tonight thinking of you having to have more surgery. I am going to say a prayer for you tonight that you are just soaked in all the love that you give out and that is felt for you clearly by so many all over the world and I am going to hold a very clear space in my heart for you to come back to Portland feeling so very healthy again and free of pain and you will get a very gigantic hug followed by cupcakes and a deluxe tour of Portland this next time around. I wish you were closer so that we all could come visit you but you are sitting at the top of my heart tonight. xoxo

chiefbiscuit said...

Your attitude rocks! I just know you are going to get through this and come out winning! Thinking of you.

Allie said...

You are amazing! Your perspective is so inspiring.

Sending tons of good thoughts your way.

Kenna said...

Patry - I'm so sorry to hear the first surgery didn't succeed. I sincerely hope that the second went better!

You are always in my thoughts, even when I am absent from your blog for a time. As always, your writing is a great blessing to all of us - thank you!

Kenna

tommie-angel said...

You are doing a remarkable job of keeping your spirits up during this challenge. It's an inspiration to everyone.

Carleen Brice said...

You're a champ, Patry. I too send you prayers for strength and healing.

rdl said...

Sorry bout yr. broth being cold. I can't believe a whole week has gone by since i saw you. I might have to make some Jewish penicillin for my next visit.
xo

Overmatter said...

Thank you for your clarity and grace. You're just lovely.

Caroline said...

Thinking about you.
Your words combine with such grace.
Take care x

Sandy Kessler said...

2 summers ago, both surgeries failed, then a specialist failed and I started researching and living a good nutritious life with cancer fighters IP-6 aand just counted my blessings..You are wise to see all the good!!!have a special Easter.. sandy

k1tchenwitch said...

*thank you* so much for the reminder ~ and know that you're in my thoughts as well.

Ivy said...

Patry, you are beautiful. Thinking of you... x

Jonathan said...

Dear Patry, I'm just sitting here in the quiet of a Paris suburb, wondering what to write. I'm thinking back to the things you have written on your blog and the warm humanity you bring to your writing. I know you have the inner strength to fight your illness and I wish you the courage to do it. With love from Jonathan.

Dale said...

xoxoxoxoxo

KG said...

I'm thinking of you a lot, Patry. I am praying that this second surgery does it. And I'm going to go get that Billie Holiday song and give it a listen --- it's been a long time.

Can I share with you one of my most inspirational mantras? I don't know how you're currently feeling or how this will sound to you, but whenever I get knocked down, I say this to myself:

"Seven times down, eight times up."

It acknowledges that I've been knocked down AND encourages me not to give up and to get up.

Keep on keepin' on, Patry. We're all here for you!!!!!

Tara said...

It simply amazes me how many people you are able to touch with your words. Though you are the one who is suffering, each one of us is healed instantly (even if only for a day or a moment until we forget again) as we read such truth. Blog posts such as these deserve to go on fridges. Praying for you this Easter.

Sarah J Clark said...

You brought me to tears. And I'm at work. Exhale.

I am in awe of your grace. Touched by your honesty. Today, I'm going to be wonderful.

Hugz.

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