I’m now about 10 days out from submitting my body and mind for open heart surgery at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital in Sydney May 7. My parrot will playfully stay at home with this view and an experienced playmate to keep him occupied and in familiar surroundings as well as keeping the house occupied and secure. My original caretaker had planned a six week sojourn watching the sunrises and being pestered by the parrot but he fell ill with a heart drama that kinda precludes him staying solo at my place if it recurs. Thankfully my dear friend Darren Bromell jumped up to fill in for which I will be eternally grateful. He gets to work on his art while up here in the retreat.
There hasn’t been the flow of Margaritas or other exotic cocktails on the balcony overlooking the ocean as I had to give up any alcohol a month before and probably three months after the operation. And of course, barbecuing meat is off the menu as I have switched to mostly plant-based foods, cold pressed juices to start the day at 5am, fish and white meat like skinned chicken and turkey. Pinot Noir is out and will be left ageing in the wine cellar until August. But here is my new ‘Red’ that I drink every day at dawn.
I’m not complaining though. “Never waste a good crisis,” is the saying and I’ve turned this challenge of a life-threatening ailment into a kinda life changing reboot that I no doubt sorely needed. I’m lucky I’ve had time to preplan things like interior home modifications (a rail from bed to bath, a shower hand hold and small ramp from kitchen to balcony) as well as take advantage of the programs and subsidies that the Federal Governments MyAgedCare offers those over 65.
I managed to get installation of a wheelchair ramp for the balcony so I can easily ride out to the Balinese day bed and watch the eagles soar and hawks flutter as they spot their prey and swoop down.
I had the hedge of camellias sprouting new growth down the bank outside the bedroom window trimmed in a floral butch crewcut so I could bask in the sun propped up in bed for the first few morning hours and watch the world go by.
I appreciate all the kind words and encouragements directed my way before I go in for probably the biggest physical and mental challenge of my life. I am fully tuned in for it, centred and peaceful with no anxieties or fears, ready for the fight. My nursing team here–Antoinette Rigoni and ‘Uncle Rick’ Moore–have set up a bubble in the house with a dedicated soaping sink, sanitisation and masking area for anyone who visits or comes in the house through the garage and stairs. I really don’t want to entertain any visitors in my state of healing zipperdom until about August to lower the real risk of infection which is the greatest danger. I’ve already had my COVID and Fluvax shots and will be masking for the last week or so in public. I’ve already shaved off my 25 year old moustache and goatee for a better oxygen mask fit when it’s time to go under. Funny to see my upper lip and chin for the first time in years!
I’m lucky to have the friends that I have retained and plan to come back in the flesh to roast and toast as I am permitted with a new lease on life. See y’all on the other side of The Slash.