Surgical Stories: Numb

One thing I am thinking at the end of this long, difficult November is that I am drinking too much.

At the end of the day, I want to pour a tumbler full of wine and stand at the kitchen sink to drink it in five swallows like I might drink a glass of cold water after working in the yard on a blistering, hot day.

I guess there are worse things than wanting to drink tumblers of wine. Tumblers of scotch or vodka. But I don’t drink the hard stuff. It’s too risky for me.

This morning at the grocery store, a woman looked up at me from her cart and said, “Happy Thanksgiving” and I teared up. That was the kindest thing anyone ever said to me, I thought. I turned the corner to the cereal aisle and then decided we didn’t need cereal so went back to soups. That’s kind of over the top, Jan. Really, ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ is the kindest thing anyone ever said to you?  Aren’t you a desolate little flower.

At the checkout, the cashier scowled at me, huffing through my cart full of groceries. There was only one guy bagging and he was at the next lane so my stuff just piled up after it was scanned. Maybe I should just bag it, I thought, and went to the end of the counter to start.

15 Items or Less

I right away apologized. “I’m sorry! I didn’t see the sign.” The cashier kept scanning. Beep, beep, beep.

“I’m really in a fog.”

“Oh, why is that?”

“One of my daughters is in the hospital.”

“Oh no, that’s terrible. What’s wrong?”

“Heart surgery. A double valve replacement.”

“How old?”


“That’s too young.”

“I know.”

“She okay?”


I started to explain but stopped.

My bagging was slow and the people waiting with fewer than 15 items were getting restless. The cashier bagged the end of my groceries and pushed the bags toward my cart. “Happy Thanksgiving,” she said.

“Thank you.”







7 Comments on “Surgical Stories: Numb

  1. Dear Jan, Thanks for sharing your ups and downs with us so eloquently. So sorry this has been such a tough month–sending loving energy to you and your daughter!

  2. My heart goes out to you. I find that I mess up so many things when I am stressed. When we flew to Texas for our daughter’s rather simple surgery, our two plane tickets totaling $650 turned into close to $2,000 – all because of stupid errors I made when booking online. including getting our tickets scanned to board and being told we didn’t have tickets in the computer (because I had inadvertently deleted them after printing the boarding passes). Hang in there, have a good cry, and keep yourself safe. I hope you can keep the rest of your life simple so all your energy can go to being a mother of your sick little girl. Hugs.

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