Well, the fun and easy bit (all relative here) will be drawing to a close nine days sooner than originally anticipated: my surgery has been moved from January fifteenth to the sixth, one week from today. The hypothetical is about to get painfully real. A few needle pokes and claustrophobia-inducing scans aside, I've so far had to endure little in the way of physical insults; apart from a bad cold a couple of weeks ago, I've been the picture of health (to anyone without the technological means to look deep). As you know, I've been very much in a partying frame of mind, and well able to sustain a face that others call brave. But I've only had to smile down the horror of my diagnosis in the abstract. I really can't say how bravely I'll face what's to come.
The more immediate surgery date is a very good thing in the larger analysis, and it's owing entirely to my surgeon's consideration for my well-being and peace of mind. The scheduler, Cynthia, had failed to note when she put me down for the fifteenth that Dr. Lee would be leaving for a conference on the sixteenth and would therefore be unable to follow through with my post-operative care. That made him and me both uneasy, as did the prospect of pushing the surgery further out. When he and Cynthia conferred again, the only earlier date they could find where his availability and that of the OR overlapped was the sixth. Cynthia called to tell me, and if I hadn't thought to ask whether I'd still be coming in first thing in the morning, I might not have learned that Dr. Lee had given up his day off for me. I'll be his only patient.
It will surprise no one who knows my husband that I am a sucker for kindness, all the more when it's allied with competence and wit. I think Pete forgives me for being a little smitten with the man who will cut away my underappreciated assets.
Will I still be punning when he's done? What will become of my own wit, competence, or capacity for kindness when my breasts and hair and final pretensions to youthful imperishability are gone? Will they abandon me completely when I'm ugly, exhausted, and fighting despair? I was at least half joking when I told my Grandma Di the other day that I was stocking up as much capital (in charm and graciousness) as I could manage now, knowing how little I'll soon have to offer. But she took me at my word. "Yes, you're going to be an unlovable specimen for the next while," she told me. "And we're going to love you all the same."
I believe her on both counts. If you're going to be lucky in anything (in the sense of your rewards far outrunning your merits), best to be lucky in love.