Friday, May 9, 2008

It's My Beardday

It was one year ago today that an anesthesiologist (who looked surprisingly like my dad) put me under before I could even count to ten. When I awoke the ligament in my knee had been sewn back together with a slice, a splice, of my hamstring; I had no hair on my left leg from mid-calf to mid-thigh, and five small holes plus one long incision provided an interesting new counterpoint to the more familiar scars.

At least, I knew they were there. I couldn't see them on account of the surgical tape, the gauze, the bandages, the brace, and the cold pack connected by a hose to a small teal cooler connected to an electrical outlet, the whole of which circulated a constant stream of ice water to the wound. I was loopy, frizzy—falling in and out of consciousness for several hours I think as the twenty-some-odd chemicals that had entered my body made a slow exit (the bill arriving a month later gave the exact names and doses—and prices; the cooler itself rang in at over $300). I think Steve picked me up, brought me home, helped me into bed—I'm not really sure.

It's a good thing my mom wasn't around to see me.

I was told not to shower for three days. I was told, Steve was told (yeah, it was Steve), and it was written on two different sheets of paper that I shouldn't shower for at least three days, that I shouldn't remove the sterile tape sealing the incisions, and that I should take x pill y times a day.1 That's when I decided: No shower: no shave.

And thus my beard was born, the beard which made me a double agent in Provo. The beard which will forever date my brother's wedding photos. The beard by which a whole new state of people have known me, without which they cannot really imagine me.

Today is my beard's birthday.

And, as I promised my niece and as I planned from at least October, it's also its last day. We had a good run, and I'll miss you.

1 When I showed up for physical therapy three days later, freshly showered, the doctor flipped out. "They told you three days?"
"Oh yeah, three days."
"Are you sure? Three days?"
"I have it here in writing."
He excused himself to make some phone calls. Turns out it was supposed to be ten days. Ten days without a shower on account of the possibility of infection. When I think about it, about the impossibility it had been to half sponge-shower that morning contorted on the edge of the tub, ten days seems absolutely reasonable.
"Am I gonna die?"
"No, but keep a close eye on it for the next week." As if I could do anything else.


Elisa said...

So long, beardy. New pic! New pic!

Janssen said...

I think you're one of the few people that can carry of a beard. For you, it just works.

David Grover said...

Oh, I'm sure there's a new pic hidden here somewhere.

Elisa said...

Ha! Found it! Nice.
Now we can move on to more important matters: my birthday. Which closely follows beardday. Any guesses (without looking at facebook)?

Jennifer said...

Next question: the hair?