Vegging out by Doctor’s Orders

Painting by Yuri Tremler

Painting by Yuri Tremler

A couple of weeks ago, when the doctor told me I needed major sinus surgery, complete with total anesthesia, I had a weirdly paradoxical reaction: smug satisfaction, tinged with a hint of glee. At last, a genuine medical condition necessitating serious treatment, commanding the respect and sympathy of all those aging peers who’ve already confronted a broad assortment of health crises and concerns. 

I’ll turn 72 this July 31st, and to date I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate when it comes to physical health – a couple of minor gynecological problems, and that’s it. (Mental health is another story, one I’ve already written about in numerous posts about my bipolar diagnosis.) 

The surgery took place yesterday morning; my husband drove me to and from the same-day surgery. Per doctor’s orders, I’ve been vegging out ever since, something I have a definite talent for even when I’m perfectly well. But now, for a change, I don’t need to feel guilty about it. My post-op instruction sheet says, “Limit your physical activity for two (2) weeks as well as avoid all straining and heavy lifting. Do not perform any exercise which will elevate your pulse rate significantly, as this will cause bleeding in your nose.” 

I don’t see what’s so terrible about a little bleeding, but I’ll try to be a compliant patient, since the handout says “the nose and sinuses will have Sinuses diagrammany new healing surfaces, which will require special care over the next few weeks.” That sounds pretty yucky, so I’ll try not to dwell too vividly on the imagery it brings to mind. 

I’m supposed to “eat a cool, soft diet for one week.” After bringing me home yesterday, my husband made a run to Hannaford for prescriptions and requested foodstuffs. I launched the new diet regimen with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Karmarel Sutra,” a blissfully decadent combination of chocolate and caramel. I’m normally not a fanatic consumer of ice cream, but I can see how I could easily become one. He also brought me some deli salads loaded with mayo, Brie cheese, and a guilty pleasure I recently rediscovered after years of abstinence: Helluva Good Dip, bacon and horseradish flavor. I’ll soon see if chips are soft enough, or if I’ll need something mushier for dipping. 

Sure, I can make fruit and yogurt smoothies in our rarely used blender, and we even have an expensive juicer we’ve used approximately twice, but I haven’t stayed so healthy for so long by being a paragon of nutritional virtue, so I’m not going to start today. But without my Nia classes or my gardening, let alone swimming in the lake a few hundred feet from my house, I can see how easy it would be to pack on the pounds with this all too sedentary lifestyle. 

I promise not to ramble on about my health concerns. I’m deeply grateful they’re treatable – nothing malignant or life-threatening. Thirty years ago, before the advent of the CAT scan and endoscopic surgery, I probably would have just muddled along with all the gunk that’s been clogging up my head.  

The one thing I vow to take seriously during these weeks of mandatory ease is my writing. I’m determined to finish the paranormal soap opera novel I began over a year ago, and the end is in sight, at least for this first installment. More on that topic in the near future.



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