I can’t remember who was unavailable first; was it one of us or one of them? We kept taking turns, being unable to get together because one of the four of us was under the weather, recovering from surgery, or in too much pain. (We are, after all, card-carrying members of the W.W.W. – Walking Wounded of the World.) And then, when it seemed we were all in good enough health, Boobie, one of The Levine’s dogs, got sick, and they needed to stay home to give her medicine. But it did happen – finally. Richard and Barbara did arrive on a Thurs., with the stipulation that we wouldn’t be doing too much or going too far. Fair enough, said we, we are prepared to just chill.
Writing, for me, has always been hard work. The right words come to me a few at a time and only occasionally in a flow. But inspiration always eludes me when I start out in the morning. That’s why, when I sit down at my iMac, before I get to work, I begin by plowing through my emails, spending the mandatory minute or two on Facebook, and then heading over to YouTube to see what goodies await me. Usually, I stay away from anything that might upset me (think, U.S. politics), but once in a while, curiosity gets the better of me, and I soon regret my folly.
The morning in question found me watching a video that contained a clip that had ‘gone viral’ the week before. Political activists will sometimes masquerade as TV journalists, going around and posing some fairly simple questions to random passers-by to gauge their reactions. Here was some duffer being asked what he thought was the most important issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race? (Asked the same day as the election.) You are free to guess his response, or maybe you don’t want to know. (My best advice: go with option B.)
Closer and Closer
I was confident it was absolutely, positively, with a cherry on the top, certainly going to happen. Nothing short of some cataclysmic occurrence would prevent my appointment for surgery at Hadassah-Ein Kerem from taking place. We took the long ride out there the week before for our pre-op meeting, and even though the young lady in the admissions office was utterly confused and sent us to the wrong place, causing us to start all over again, we did indeed meet with the hospital staff we needed to see: a nurse, the surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and, just when we thought we were done, another nurse.
The first nurse is there to make certain that you are in fact alive: height, weight, blood pressure. That was easy. The anesthesiologist is there to scare you to death. Would you prefer general anesthesia or an epidural? Do you understand the risks involved? Do you understand that there is a statistical possibility that you might die? He also left me with the following dilemma: Do you want general anesthesia or an epidural? You don’t have to decide now. Which was good because I had no idea. The surgeon, the Russian lady who had examined me two months before, I guess needed to review my case before wielding her scalpel. The second nurse was there to make certain we understood what to expect after my procedure.
No question, I would be out of commission for who-knows-how-long, leaving Barbara to do everything around the house. Maybe I should take that into consideration and get things done before hand, vacuuming and dusting so that our apartment would be spic-and-span, making sure that our freezer was packed with Shabbat victuals to be effortlessly removed and placed in our microwave to unchill when the time came. And that is what I did.