Friday, February 25, 2011
Mortality Comes Knocking
Remember the concept of mortality? We boomers don't like to think much about the prospect of dying because we're so close to it, but I'm forced to do just that today. I'm going in for a "Medical Procedure." Okay, it's not invasive surgery; it's the laparoscopic kind. Three little cuts and it's done! Voila! I'm out of there. I think.
The out patient hospital called yesterday afternoon to register me. Lots of questions, including my mother's maiden name. Why that? My mother died a year ago. What possible...
oh, yeah, they can trace me to some dynasty in the nineteenth century in Poland - to my grandfather Jake - the labor organizer. He certainly wouldn't be popular with Wisconsin's governor. Don't get the granddaughter of a a commie/pinko talking about labor unions.
But the piece de resistance question was:
"Do you have a will?" the sweet nurses's voice on the other end of the phone ask with trepidation.
"You're kidding. What? Am I going to die?'
"Oh, no," she politely replied. "If you don't have a will, we have a form..." her voice trailed off.
Awkward conversation to say the least.
"Yes, I have a will. My son, the lawyer has it. But I don't know if he remembers that I made one out or if he still has it or if he....." I trailed off.
"Well, I have it in my computer," I continued picking up the lull in the conversation.
"Well, good because if not..."
"I know you have a form, which I will fill out when I'm admitted."
I was left with an uncomfortable feeling that I just faced my demise. Dead. The finality of all life. Dead. Couldn't get it out of my mind. Dead. It came back to me all after noon, through the teaching of two more yoga classes, through "American Idol" final 24, through the shower, through my Cleopatra book, and trying to fall asleep after Antony's disastrous battle against Octavian.
But as yogi, I am prepared for death. Oh, yes, dying in the ethereal sense of the word. We yogis call it transitioning. Our spirit, our soul leaves out mortal body and enters the universe. Energy never dies. All physicists know that. Energy gets somehow recycled in the universe, in the space world. I do believe that. I do believe energy continues to be a force in our atmosphere. I even believe in reincarnation. Thank God. That's kind of comforting about now. However, the mortal thoughts, the dead thoughts are disturbing when one faces an operating table, even though my gynecologist is a genius, an expert, but human. Everyone is human. Mistakes happen. My friend's mother was having a kidney operation and the doctor nipped at the bladder. Opps. So there is that slight chance that the "in and out" procedure won't go as well as ordering a burger from "In and Out." With the latter, you're sure of the outcome.
The unease prevails and the knots grow bigger in my stomach as rain starts to pound the southern California streets. Is that a bad omen? I only know that my adorable yoga student just texted me this comforting thought:
"Just think, J, you can have a glass of wine after it's over."
So mortality doesn't feel so bad after that thought. Starving as I am, thirsty as I am, and dying for a latte as I am at this very moment, I've got some really tolerable goodies to look forward to after my ovaries are gone. Sex, I hope, is another goodie still waiting.
"And how long do I have to wait for that, Doc?" I ask plaintively.