Musings From The Couch
I put my earrings back on today.
That is no small feat since I have four holes in each ear, a product of a self-piercing binge back in the seventies.
My father said I looked like a Christmas tree, meaning I suppose, that I was “over-decorated.” Loving everything Christmas, and never understanding the concept of less is more or that fact that something could ever be “over-decorated”, I took his remarks as a compliment and have worn depending on the decade, either safety pins, tiny gold hoops or eensy diamond studs in all of the four holes that wind their way up each ear.
I mention all of this because when you have surgery the hospital insists that you remove ALL of your jewelry.
I saved that ritual for an hour before we left the house. I told myself that I couldn’t get nervous “until the jewelry comes off.”
As I removed each earring, putting it into a small dish of cleaning solution, I played a little game.
It’s something I do when I have what I view as an obstacle looming over me and the game went like this:
I reassured myself by saying, “When I put these earrings back on—the surgery will be OVER.
This private Everest of mine will have been summited.
I will be in the clear—with a flat-ish stomach—and a bladder that doesn’t have an elephant sitting on it.”
I thought it would just be a couple of days.
Little did I know it would be more than a week later.
Every day, as I shuffled over to my bathroom sink, bent in half like a one thousand-year-old woman to brushed my teeth and look sideways at my filthy bed head in the mirror—I saw the little dish of earrings.
You know how when you don’t feel great even the most mundane task feels Herculean? The thought of struggling with eight tiny earring backs made me nauseous.
By Thursday the liquid was gone. The earrings, sitting in a heap of dried up ear yuck taunted me.
Sunday night they made me cry. But so did breathing, laying down and sitting up, so don’t blame the earrings.
I wondered if I’d ever have the stamina to struggle with them. I didn’t feel fancy enough for jewelry. Would I ever be over-decorated again?
At least I still had my nose ring.
The admitting nurse had gone mildly apoplectic when she saw it. “You have to take that out,” she said sternly at five thirty the morning of the surgery. I lied and said I didn’t know how. She came over, standing close to my face, eyeballed it suspiciously, tore off a piece of white tape she had in her pocket, and slapped it over the thin gold hoop on the side of my nose.
Anyhow, this morning, when I looked at the earrings…and they looked back at me…we all agreed that today was the day. I rinsed them off and one by one and on this lovely April morning, I over-decorated the Christmas tree.