16 July 2009

Rest and Encouragement for the Journey

I've been drifting in and out of consciousness today. I don't think any travel date has left me as tired on the following day as yesterday left me today.

It's not that it was one of those travel days from hell. To the contrary: The drive from Trinidad to Colorado Springs went without delay, and seemed even quicker than it was because I was riding and talking with Robin, who works in Dr. Bowers' office. Each of my flights landed ahead of schedule, and I opened the door to my apartment about an hour earlier than I anticipated.

Before she turned on to the highway, she dropped off someone who's having her surgery today.
I've forgotten her name, but I recall that she's from West Virginia and has beautiful light green eyes. She admitted to feeling very anxious about the surgery and, in the little time I saw her, I tried to reassure her that everything would be fine. I really felt no pain, only some irritation and soreness as well as fatigue. I reached my left hand back to her right and clasped it. "I'm feeling really good," I exclaimed. "And you're going to be in the same hands that took care of me."

That seemed to calm her, for a moment. "What you're going through now is really worse than the surgery itself," I said. "Preparation is the worst. But soon it'll be over."

Tomorrow I'll call Robin to see how that woman is doing. What I won't mention, though, is that I'd like a name to remember along with those eyes!

OK...So how many people did I fall in love with in Trinidad? Hmm....Danny, the trans man who stayed at the Morning After House. The woman I just mentioned. Dave, the anaesthesiologist. (He insisted that I call him by his first name.) And, of course, Marci. So that's what? --four people in eleven days. Two males, two females. I guess that's proof I'm bisexual, whatever that means.

Marci, Danny and Dave are all accounted for. The woman with the green eyes, I don't know. She was the first person in ten days to see me when I was looking more-or-less presentable: no catheter bags or other medical torture devices. Even with all those appendages and under the influence of anaesthesia and other medications, I looked good, according to people who saw me. Either they should be canonized or they should be used to define the word "mendacious." Either way, I love them!

I, on the other hand, tell only the truth, especially when I'm telling people they're wonderful, beautiful, nice or smart. Or that everything's going to be all right. I told Joyce, my roommate during my last two days at the hospital, all of those things. And she looked fine when I saw her as I was leaving. Because she underwent her surgery two days after I experienced mine, I could advise her on what to expect. And when she told me about her headaches, fatigue and other minor maladies, I assured her that I'd had exactly the same expereiences.

"That's what's so good about staying at the Morning After House," my mother explained. "You all give each other support."

I was thinking the same thing. What's that about great minds?

I can't recall any other experience that made me happier to be, and gave me more pride in, being an educator. That brief conversation I had with the green-eyed woman on the eve of her surgery was, really, not so different from any number of conversations I've had with various students. Sometimes students are more ready to accomplish something than they realize they are; all I can (or need to) do is to convey my belief that they can do whatever it is they need to do. That belief is founded on the fact that they really, deep down, want to achieve their goal or simply want or need to do whatever is to be done at that moment.

That woman with the green eyes has, I'm sure, been thinking about the surgery for a long time. She wants it: She knows that the time has come for her to see with the light in her own eyes rather than the images of fears and other peoples' expectations.

Then again, if she backed out of the surgery, or simply decided not to do it today--neither of which I expect--I'm sure she knows why. There's nothing wrong with that. After all, she's still on the journey. Maybe she needs some rest.

As I do now. Everything's gone well, and everything is going to be OK. Sometimes you just get tired--especially when you're moving from one stage of your journey to the next, and it involves giving birth to your self.

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