I survived surgery! My gallbladder is gone! It has been 12 days and I am actually finally feeling mostly better. It was a long twelve days and I don’t EVER want to do that again. I always knew I was not brave enough for plastic surgery and my god, I really know it now. Go through that when you don’t absolutely have to? FUCK NO. It was horrible. I’ve been exhausted and motionless and lying on the couch watching home renovation shows for days. I was too out of it to play Minecraft. That, my friends, is out of it. Healing, it turns out, is hard when you are suddenly, inexplicably, not 27 anymore. And every time I think I’m better I end up sleeping away the whole next day. But on the bright side, I have interesting new scars on my belly; I am halfway done with a respectable scarf; I have watched every episode of Flipping Boston and learned a lot about joists, beams and how to hate dark cabinetry; I have cautiously eaten potato chips and been fine, hallelujah; I have drunk wine and been fine, double hallelujah (I tried a little earlier in the week and couldn’t drink it, just couldn’t get it down and thought with horror that maybe I would never be able to drink again and honestly I am not up for going through the rest of the pandemic sober, sorry, no) and I have even had pasta with parmigiana and been fine, whoa. First cheese since February! I lost almost 30 pounds! Maybe I shouldn’t leap right back on the cheese bandwagon, hmmm.
The picture on the left is right after surgery when my belly was still all inflated from the gas they pump into it – yes, it’s creepy. The picture on the right was taken just now. As you see the scars are fading! What you do not see is the incision complete with stitches that is actually IN my belly button. The stitches come out tomorrow. I feel very brave or possibly shameless or possibly stupid posting pictures of my stomach like this, by the way.
So, now I am mostly better – and thinner – and the plague continues apace. The tourists have descended full force and in deference to my still compromised immune system, I am quarantined AF. Because of that and because I still am not back up to pre operation walking levels (this morning I made it approximately 1/2 the way of our usual dike trail walk and that is a new record) I have even ventured into the wild world of curbside pickup groceries. In the interest of journalism and also because it just worked out that way, I have now done curbside pickup with three grocery stores: the Astoria Coop, Wal Mart (I know, I know) and Fred Meyer. Turns out that, like surgery, curbside pickup basically sucks. I am unenthused. Not surprisingly, the Astoria Coop had the best interface, the best products and the best overall experience, which may have been helped by the fact that I did not go pick up the groceries; my wonderful friend Shawna did. She is also the friend who took me to the hospital, picked me up and called me every day to see how I was doing and without her I think I would probably be dead. Or at least wish I was. She is AMAZING. I absolutely could not have done this without my friends and Jolleywagz dog walking, who you should utterly hire if you need help with your impossible Harvey. When she couldn’t do it, my friends Kelly and Jeff filled in by taking Harvey over to play with their chickens. Harvey LOVES chickens.
Returning to the groceries, though, this is about the groceries: in case you have not done it, this is how it works. You go to the store’s website and pick out your groceries. This can be daunting – Fred Meyer has a LOT of groceries – and kind of misleading: it was very difficult to tell which size of something you’re getting at Wal Mart, which is why I now own a 2 lb bag of Beggin’ Strips junk food treats for dogs. Or possibly Harvey changed the order, who knows? They ask you if you accept substitutions, and I said yes, which is how Harvey ended up with small dog toys instead of large dog toys from Wal Mart. Fred Meyer lets you check out your substitutions in the parking lot, which is why I do NOT now own unsalted Saltines because seriously? Get real. Eww. Salt is right there in the name. Wal Mart does not offer to let you check out your substitutes, just dumps them in your car. I didn’t try the substitution thing at the Coop. After you are done with your grocery list, which is not a short procedure (like I said, there is a lot to pick from and it’s sort of difficult, in that you, or at least me, get filled with terrible ennui at least three times and have to walk away for a while) you pick a time that you will be there to get them. You choose an hour time slot and at all three stores, there were time slots available the next day. They don’t charge your card until that day. I had to wait about 30 minutes at both Wal Mart and Fred Meyer – and at Fred Meyer, I had already gotten a panicky phone call when my order was supposed to be ready. The girl on the line sounded as if she was about 14 and ready to cry when she asked if I could come in three hours later. “Yes,” I said, “Of course,” secretly relieved that I wouldn’t have to leave the couch and she sounded so happy. So I got there three hours later and still had to wait half an hour and that was somewhat irksome but, well, whatever. Fred Meyer bags your groceries in nice paper bags with handles; Wal Mart uses plastic; the Coop gives you small paper bags without handles. The people who brought it to the car were tired and disgruntled and I don’t blame them one bit. I probably should have tipped but the websites tell you not to, so I didn’t.
Then you get home and see what you have got. The garlic Fred Meyer sent me is a sin and a shame
but the green beans were fine. The tomatoes from Wal Mart were not all that but they will do, in a pinch. It turns out I have much more willpower online than I do in the store and so I didn’t buy any cookies or ice cream or chips, which was really stupid. And I was hoping that I would get some kind of crazy wonderful substitution random item – instead of pasta, here are poptarts! – but, no, it was all just regular boring groceries.
In other pandemic news, 3 million Americans have now been infected with the coronavirus but the federal government, or what’s left of it since the grifters took over, are doing nothing but fanning the crazy flames. In Oregon, we have stopped at Phase Two of reopening and I suspect we will have to close up again. The numbers go up and the people still don’t get it. I am not naming names, but there was a woman at a doctor’s office- a woman who WORKED THERE, who took my blood pressure and asked me a bunch of inane pointless questions (yes I am coughing, yes that’s why I’m here, no I don’t have coronavirus, I just had SURGERY, I can’t BREATHE because of the fucking breathing tube*) was “wearing” a mask by, basically, dangling it from her head, like, it barely barely covered anything. I said, “Uh, your mask, it’s not. . secure.” and she tore me a new one about how she had a rash behind her ears and it was perfectly secure. From the side I could see her mouth moving furiously. It was a small exam room. I probably have the damn thing now.
Anyway, the plague dollars are going to stop flowing at the end of this month and that is when shit is going to get real. This household, for one, will be plunged into some seriously dire poverty unless I can find a decent job, which I am trying to do. I’m also painting, which is nice and if I keep it up maybe I can sell a couple, which would also be nice. And that’s all good in the realm of pipe dreams but it would probably be more useful to come up with some recipes for rat on a stick, cooked over an oil drum fire in the wreckage. I do not think the loss of the plague dollars, the $600 a week that suddenly taught so many Americans, including me, what it is like to actually make a living wage – you can breathe! it’s fucking crazy! You can pay your bills AND buy food! – is going to go well at all. The protests continue and nothing happens but lip service – painting Black Lives Matter on the street is nice and all but it’s just not the same as arresting the cops who killed Breonna Taylor – and, well, we’ll see.
However! I’m still alive! That is excellent! And I don’t have a gall bladder and while I don’t feel all that different, I don’t miss the sucker.
- I didn’t have pneumonia but it was a near thing.