Wednesday, March 24, 2010

banal updates

Yesterday I saw my doctor/surgeon for a post-surgical follow-up, and she praised me for a textbook recovery. We both agreed that the surgery had accomplished what it was intended to, and the only remaining issue is fatigue, which is typical after a major surgery like this.

It's a big problem, fatigue. My energy level is barely detectable. My arms feel like pieces of pasta, limp and muscle-less. My legs swing along slowly when I walk. I feel so tired, so very tired.

Nowadays I pick up Lola, hang out with her until it's time to get Iris, bring them both home, and sometimes I manage to make them a mediocre dinner. (Other times they live off snacks until their father comes home to make them an even more mediocre dinner). I nag Iris to do her homework, take Lola to her dance class, and I clean up after the parrot, and that's all I can manage to do. The house is a cluttered hellhole, embarrassingly cluttered and messy, and sometimes I pick up something and put it away, but not often. I've taken back the job of feeding the cats and parrots. Once I went to the grocery store without an adult assistant, and that turned out to be overdoing it. If there's company over and I spend a couple of hours talking, I'm totally wiped out just by that.

So it's a quiet life, but with some consolations. First, the proclaimed-to-be-on-his-deathbed cat, Ray Charles, made a remarkable recovery. Evidently he was misdiagnosed. I would have been more skeptical of his diagnosis, feline infectious peritonitis, if I hadn't felt so profoundly crappy myself (that diagnosis was only three weeks after my own surgery, when I was still on heavy painkillers and feeling awful). In the vet's defense, Ray did test positive for coronavirus, the cause of FIP, but his abdomen was never as swollen as a normal FIP patient, and coronavirus is omnipresent (all cats get coronavirus, but it takes a mutated and deadly form in a few).

Currently Ray is still profoundly underweight, a skeleton in black fur, but one which runs about in a sprightly manner and screams for cans to be opened. He has recovered enough to be actually annoying.

The other consolation has, not surprisingly, been fiction. I hit upon a streak of amazing books, books which are profoundly transporting and absorbing. A good book is like a drug, and I am so hooked.

"Await Your Reply" by Dan Chaon: At last someone has written a great book about identity theft on the internet, managing to be profound and gripping and scary and philosophical all at once. An unbelievably skillful writer, that Dan Chaon. There's an amazingly tricky plot that somehow all falls together, but yet at the same time, it's an easy read.

"The Heights" by Peter Hedges: Seeing this book reminded me that my first husband kept our copy of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" in our divorce, and I want it back. Peter Hedges doesn't write a book very often, and you should read it whenever he does. This is a witty novel about a Brooklyn couple who get in over their heads when the wife makes friends with a profoundly wealthy and bored trophy wife.

"Arcadia Falls" by Carol Goodman: Ms. Goodman writes books which aren't filed as chick lit, but they are, in my opinion, the platonic ideal of chick lit. She always has a protagonist with confused and awkward relationships with men and work, protagonists who manage to live a more rewarding life of the mind than life of the flesh. There's always mythology and strange ritual in these books, her characters always being influenced by the past as much as the present. Reading a Carol Goodman book feels improving, like you've just sat through a college lecture by Camille Paglia. To this day our family has adapted a version of the Pythagorean cult's evening questioning as a result of my reading one of Carol Goodman's novels. It always sounds so highbrow when we explain to a guest that we are following Pythagoras's ways, but that's what happens when you read a lot of Carol Goodman. I wish she published a book a day and I never had to be without a Goodman.

"Blacklands" by Belinda Bauer: it's hard to believe something this amazing is a first novel. It pulls off "The Lovely Bones" trick of being about a child killed by a serial killer but yet being an amusing feel-good of a book overall. Ms. Bauer's protagonist is a poor boy in rural England whose clothes smell like mildew, who lives with a cranky mother who dotes on his little brother and an angry grandmother who never recovered from her son's murder. The hero decides that he can fix his horrible family's problems if only he can find the corpse of his long-dead uncle.


hughman said...

glad to hear about ray. i'm sure you being better (though tired) helped him too. maybe now's the time to make the girls throw on maid outfits and pretend they are being forced into servitude by foreign despots who threaten their independence. they could then write secret journals and notes to their countrymen which they could ferry via scooty hidden in piles of kittys.

Silliyak said...

I think RC's trying to lead you out of the abyss.

Missy said...

Hope you feel better--keep taking it easy. It WILL all get done someday so just try to hang in there--I know what you mean since I came home today feeling so tired I wanted to go to bed at five p.m. and then found out I had 101 temp. It's hard to feel bad and look at the housework piling up--

It will get done someday, it always does. Ray Charles is a prophet for better times ahead--

Keep taking it easy!

Dread Pirate Davi said...

Hooray for Ray Charles!! =D

Feel better soon.

Carol Ann said...

I'm glad that Ray is doing better.

If it's any consolation, I haven't cleaned my house in about two months either.

Lanafactrix said...

Carol Goodman makes me profoundly, deeply happy. I've probably reread The Lake of Dead Languages at least once a year since I discovered it. Currently, The Night Villa is sitting, unread, on my bookshelf, because I was afraid that once I read it there would be no more Goodman. Now that I know there is in fact more Goodman, I can relax. Thank you!