Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New Surgery

I am preparing for rotator cuff surgery again. I had surgery last September, but there was a glitch in the healing. In three days, I will be in a sling for a month and if it's anything like the last time, I will be in a lot of pain for quite some time afterward. I am in pain now, but this is not the good kind of pain. My body grows weaker and more compromised with the absence of movement, but I, myself, grow more aware of what lies beneath the body. It is amazing. The absence of physicality creates a hole that must be explored. I am becoming essence.

Getting ready for the surgery is a bit like preparing to go away for a long time. I do everything now that I can do with two arms: I clean my room, I clean my car, I take my dog on his favorite hike down by the running creek. I make stock out of marrow bones and vinegar. I purchase homeopathic remedies for swelling, inflammation, pain, and joint issues. I wash my clothes, fold them, and place them in a way that I can reach them with one arm. I buy a long handled back scrubber for the shower. I know what this feels like. Yet, I am determined to do this surgery differently. For one, I have more people on board with me in a way that supports healing. I am not battling it out with my family over when I'll be able to work again. We came to that impasse and moved beyond. Tectonically, we are in a different place, and that feels better. This is: "Rotator Cuff Surgery: Take Two."

I have several girlfriends who are making it their dear business to come around and visit. I appreciate what it takes to be a good friend, and I am grateful for the buoys they will be.

It's a strange time -- one without a map -- and I am settling into my version of surrender. The only thing I expect of myself for the next three months is that I will write my book. My new old book; the memoir I keep in a closet inside my heart. It's a hard book to write. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be a memoir. Luckily, I have come into the awareness that I don't have to do it alone. I am asking for help from the protagonist of the book. Well, that would be me, I guess. Change that. I am asking for help from the antagonist. He is dead. He has agreed. I will let you know how it goes.

I am excited to dedicate myself to this project, provided I can physically write, because I need this book to come alive, to LIVE. And perhaps the only way is to co-create it with the ghost of part of my heart, a man who lived with me in literature and language and who wanted more than anything to exist inside words with me by his side.

I write to him and he writes back. So far, this is how it works. I don't know if writing from the perspective of a ghost will cause waves in the memoir world but John Banville did it and I imagine many others did, too. I reach into the ethers with my hand and grasp his. It is the only way.