How to spend many hours lying down

In which surgery is finally scheduled and the author contemplates his unenviable (supine) position

Published December 2, 2009 12:02AM (EST)

Dear Reader,

An hour before deadline I am lying prone on the floor of my office listening to Béla Bartók's Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 Op. 21, played by David Oistrakh on violin and Frida Bauer on piano. I am not making much headway. I am rehearsing. I must rehearse both prone and supine. Read on.

It is sometimes like this. You will forgive me, I hope, for not being more effervescent this afternoon. I just received news that surgery for my sacral chordoma (which, as the linked article makes clear, is not something to be sat on, ha ha ha) -- is scheduled for Wed., Dec. 16, after which I will remain hospitalized for four to six weeks, meaning it will be Wed., Jan. 13 of next year soonest, before I am out among the ambulatory. Then recovery continues with rehab for perhaps two to three months.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy New Year!

I am chuckling as I say this. I have a dark sense of humor and a remarkably resilient optimism. I am ready. Of course, that is easy to say now. The hard part starts in two weeks.

Yesterday evening in a surgeon's office we received the full and rather mind-blowing scope of the performance. That's all I seem capable of saying for now: It's a triple-header, a true extra-innings affair of some 16 hours' duration.

After taking a couple of days to digest the anatomical facts of the matter, I will offer them to you, with the proviso that they are not for the squeamish. As my wife joked on the sidewalk after our consultation, "They really are, literally, going to rip you a new one."

The above seems essentially correct. So you will please excuse my brevity as we move from the psychological matters about which I seem to have relative fluency and ease of communication, to the anatomical, about which I seem to be, for the moment, rather tongue-tied.

Surely words will come eventually.

Meanwhile, please accept this brief update on my unenviable position.

p.s. I still think that "Chordoma" sounds like a 1970s Chrysler two-door convertible.

We're still selling books out of the house, one at a time as long as they last!

SYA cover

Makes a great gift. Can be personalized for the giftee of your choice. Signed first editions on sale now.

What? You want more advice?

By Cary Tennis

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