Preparing, and Counting Down.

This morning, as I was warming the milk to go in my coffee, it occurred to me that this would be the last coffee drink for some time. I’m expected to check in for surgery tomorrow, before dawn, at 5:15am. (When nearly 12 hours are blocked out for your procedure, they like to get you started early.)

But catching myself thinking “last coffee drink” made me realize I’ve shifted over to count-down mode. Since my last post, a lot of my time and activity has been about preparing. We’ve been busily charging our emotional batteries, and taking care of needed tasks, and squeezing in things that had to happen before.

Kimberly arranged a quick trip for us to Hawai’i, which was wonderful. We went to coffee plantations, and we saw sea turtles, and we walked through steam venting into a jungle from a volcano. We saw plants and animals and fruits I’d never seen before. We watched the sun set on one side and the moon rise on the other and between them the glow of lava lighting up the steam in an active volcano crater. We packed in a lot of new experiences, and had a great time.

Back on the mainland, there were other things we did to prepare. We went to our pre-op medical appointments, of course, and found that they’ve done good work streamlining and improving their process since my 2004 procedure. We even have a little chart showing what the important milestones are each day for the seven or so days I’m expected to be in the hospital. (My psychic shielding did get a little dented when I was reminded that “sitting on edge of bed” and “able to clear own secretions by coughing” are things that make the list.)

I put in some time at work, to do a little bonding with my closest co-workers and to feel like I was contributing something to getting our new release out the door. It may seem silly, but knowing that release is out makes it easier for me to not think about work for a while.

The package I’d ordered from Vermont arrived. When considering how much time I’m going to be spending lying in bed and lounging around in the next month, I decided I needed some nice new pajamas. I splurged on two sets from the Vermont Flannel Company. They are both very cozy and sturdy. (Like me, I think, smiling.) (As with a few other things since the PET scan, I’ve been willing to spend more, and more quickly than I would normally consider. We are fortunate to have the resources, and now seems like a perfectly appropriate time to adjust the knob a little higher for the right things.)

Not all of the preparations have been so straightforward or pedestrian as ordering new pajamas. We also included an unexpected and much more spiritual preparation, a ‘medicine buddha puja’.

One of our friends from college has in recent years been seriously devoted to Tibetan Buddhism.There is a lovely little temple tucked away in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle that our friend Chris attends. She had previously offered to include me in what could best be understood as analagous to a Christian ‘prayer circle’, and apparently, upon seeing my photo, one of the lamas suggested the more elaborate ceremony called the medicine buddha puja. I’m too ignorant of the practice to fully understand it, but imagine it as the equivalent of a powerful blessing ceremony, conducted by one of the Tibetan monks. Kimberly and I and Chris were there on Friday morning, and while I consciously understood very little of it, I tried to be open to the healing power of this ancient practice. I believe in accepting the compassionate offering of healing energy, from whatever tradition, and felt honored and touched by this experience.

Yesterday, Saturday, was the day I had planned for some last preparations. Kimberly’s mom arrived from Houston last night to stay while I’m in the hospital. I went to the office-supply store to pick up a small white-board, so I can communicate post-surgery before I can talk again. I even managed to get in some chicken coop winterization, and a couple of good naps.

But, as crept into my head as I made coffee, today is the last day of Before. If the operation were an airline flight, I’d be able to print my boarding pass already. And, to tell the truth, I’m ready. I’ve been in increasing amounts of pain over the last two weeks, and I want to get this taken care of. I have confidence in the medical team, and in my support system and our preparations. And I have confidence in my own durability.

I’m not eager to go through what lies ahead, and if the situation were different I wouldn’t choose to. But I’m not afraid, and we might as well get on with it, as hard as it will be.

Though I might just have another cup of coffee from those Hawaiian beans first. I’ve got all day.

21 thoughts on “Preparing, and Counting Down.

  1. What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing all of this with us. I’m sending my own little version of healing energy your way.

  2. I am glad you [perhaps]opened yourself to the healing energy. I am, and will be, sending you an abundance of it – more is better, right?

    Can’t the coffee be used as an antiseptic for flushing of healing wounds post surgery? Obviously, not hot but…you come from DNA that liked iced varieties.

    Did the kitties approve of your new flannel?

    I will be thinking of you all day my dear cousin…. you got this!

    And Kimberly…feel me holding you close…{{{hugs}}}

  3. Yes, indeed — you *are* a warm & sturdy guy. Thank you for a lovely post. And please know that all the members of The Paul Davis Fan Club (Bethesda chapter) have you & Kimberly in our thoughts & prayers.
    Operate well & heal fast…
    Lots of love,
    A & B & family

  4. Sorry I can’t be of Immediate assistance, but I’m going to download 8.1 tonight and think finds thoughts if you while I take it for a spin. Be well! We’ll be thinking about you as often as possible over the next few days – wishing the middle staff good hands, Kimberly maximum strength, and you returning health. So as some Jews to the list of different religions praying for your health.

  5. I’ll have to get some of those beans…they seem to have helped you get in a perfect frame of mind for the coming challenges. Barbara and Kim have some ?

  6. Love, love, love to you both. Will be thinking of you even more than I already have been.

  7. Thank you for writing such a strong post. My thoughts and my prayers are with you . Glad you have confidence in your medical team and trust in their ability. You and Kim stay strong . Glad you had the lovely trip to Aloha land. Will be checking on your progress

  8. I will upgrade my own wardrobe in anticipation of the post-op pajama party.

    The buddha puja sounds interesting. That was a thoughtful gesture on your friend’s part.

    Best wishes.

  9. Just wanted you and Kimberly to know that I am thinking of you both. I have every confidence that you will come through this with strength and resilience (as you have before). Sending you healing thoughts to see you through the coming days. Hugs!

  10. Safe travels and swift healing. Wishing you the strength to sail through, as always, with courage and humor. xoxoxo

  11. Many healing thoughts from the Right Coast, Paul and Kimberly. Looking forward to hearing much more from you on the virtual white board in the coming days.

  12. I am sending prayers from the Muslim corner. :) We will be thinking of you and Kimberly over the coming days.

    It was great to see you at work; you contributed a great deal to this release and should feel proud! You and I both know how you repeatedly kept us from embarrassing ourselves. :)

    Take care and see you soon!

  13. I will be thinking nothing but good thoughts for you tomorrow. Looking forward to the next lunch once you are once again able to eat and glad to be looking at this experience in the rear view mirror.

    Read up on golf technique during your recovery. You can kick all of our asses at the next party!!! :)

  14. Kimberly, if playing some music together would help to distract you during the recovery period, please let me know.

  15. Hi, Paul and Kimberly,

    What a wonderful post. I’m happy to hear that you’re as ready as is possible for this.

    I’m liking Jacob’s idea of a post-op pajama party. I have a new set of lovely microfleece jammies from Costco. Do you think the folks at UW would be OK with it? :o)

  16. I don’t know you. Obviously, you don’t know me either. I knew Kimberly way back in high school and church, and reconnected on this FB thing a while back. After reading your words in recent posts, I wish I did know you. You are a man of class and grace. I wish you both the best in the coming days, and look forward to reading more of your words when you feel like posting again.

    All good things,


  17. Glad to hear that your emotional batteries charged and you’re feeling confident about so many important things. We’re all confident in you and Kimberly too — you’re very strong, and very loved, and you’re going to pull through this challenge. I send virtual bear hugs and warm healing thoughts. Love, Dara

  18. Sending you healing thoughts and light and Kimberly, sending you endurance thoughts–remember to take care of yourself while you’re taking care of Paul.

  19. Thinking of you both always, but especially today. Hugs, light, love and healing energy!

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