Central Ohio is buried under a foot of snow. The libraries are closed, and many schools dismissed early yesterday. While I was still lying a-bed this morning, Susie and her friend DeeDee lit out about 9:30 this morning, snow shovels in hand, and canvassed the neighborhood. They came home about 1:45, and they made $21 apiece. I wouldn’t have minded doing it (Lord knows I need the exercise), but my major physical effort has been standing up straight, and I can only manage that for a moment.
My strength is slowly returning… very slowly. The dressings and bandages came off yesterday, but the site of the actual surgery still feels like I’ve been punched there. I still walk step by step, and hunched over. I can still do most of the things I did pre-surgery, but I need to pre-think them, step by step, while or before I do them. (Getting out of bed: Sit up, s-l-o-w-l-y swing legs around, gently set feet on floor, etc.) I slept until almost 11:30 this morning, and would have slept longer if my C-PAP tank hadn’t begun to run low. (There’s a gallon jug of distilled water from Magnetic Springs on the toilet tank, ready for me to fill the C-PAP before bedtime tonight.)
Steph’s friend Joanna came over and made brunch for us. I had two pancakes, and decided not to tempt fate any further. She and Steph wanted to watch a movie I had no desire to see, so I retreated upstairs to my study–partly because I think I should stay close to a bathroom.
While they watched the movie, I got out my good ol’ microcassette recorder, Diane, and made a 60-minute taped letter to a friend. I had to stop and get a glass of water, since I don’t seem to have as much breath at my disposal as I did before surgery. I described the procedure and the very rapid recovery, told him some gossip about mutual friends, etc.
Even with the Internet, I still love regular U.S. Mail and receiving letters–written or tape-recorded. I first learned about recorded letters on Christmas Day 1971, when I was eight. My grandfather bought me a cassette recorder as a gift, and included with it was a taped letter. I exchanged taped letters with him. On my part, they were more like diary entries, and I’d mail him the tape when it was finished.
Many people were unaware of the concept of taped letters until I began sending them cassette letters. I knew I hadn’t originated it–there were several episodes of M*A*S*H where Charles Winchester dictated letters home to his family in Boston (on a very high-end reel-to-reel machine). And there was a time when more people did it, and tape manufacturers expected it:
I’m giving the tape to Joanna so she can mail it on her way home. I had recorded a letter to this friend pre-surgery, and I thought about bringing the microcassette recorder to the hospital with me in case I ended up spending the night, but that turned out not to be necessary.
The taped letter and this blog required major effort for me today. Susie definitely put out more energy than I did, shoveling walks all over our part of Clintonville, but just going up and down the stairs has felt like climbing Everest for me. On the desk in front of me two oxycodone tablets await, but I can’t take them for another 45 minutes. The doctor at Grant Hospital told me to take them at least four hours apart, and I’ve been very conscientious about that. When I take a pill, I set the timer on my cell phone for four hours, and let it count backwards. This doesn’t mean I definitely will take another pill (or pills) when the four hours is up, but I like to know I can. This time, I will take them as soon as the clock starts to beep. I understand my potential for substance abuse enough not to cut any corners when it comes to taking pain medications. The doctor said if I took them according to the way they are prescribed, and don’t deviate from that, they shouldn’t be a trigger.
I am so lazy today that I didn’t even pick out any music from Windows Media Player for background as I type this. I decided to take the path of least resistance and click on my AOL Radio Toolbar. (I chose "Awesome ’80s" for the music.)