April 7, 1998


Smooth, slender strength slide soft pressure over the muscles of my back, touching out all the pain along the grain of my muscles, pushing the tension along the line of them. Up and out along my lower back, sliding around the angles and muscles of my shoulders, then down my spine and then forcefully pushing out the pain from my middle back. The tension in my shoulders was enough to take all of Raven's body weight to get the darned things to loosen and even then it took a few tries, patient weight and position and pressure.

If I ever think that I don't have upper body strength or that the muscles of my shoulders are ever wimpy, I'll remember what it took just to loosen them up from their tension a bit.

I asked Raven for help. My back was just killing me, especially after the night before, so for one of the very few times in my life, I actually asked for help from someone other than John and said, "Here. I need help with this, will you help me?" And he did. Markleford once said that Raven would never do me wrong, and it seems that what he said was true.

He spent and hour and a half working through all the pressures and pains in my back. Walking through all the muscles that I'd managed to bunch up from the stress from the knee and all the other things. And it worked. That was what was so amazing about it. He gave me enough pressure and enough time to feel out each muscle and do my best to breath into the muscles and release it, to let it go and make it relax. Between the two of us we turned a mass of knots and pain into something that actually moved as a whole rather than a misaligned mass of knots.

That was very nice indeed.

Most of the day was spent figuring the last bits out for work, doing all the diagraming, talking through the last of the design and getting the whole list of objects together along with working through all their interfaces. Each particular function turns out to be pretty darned easy to implement, and the objects themselves naturally fell into place, so that feels very good.

One thing I realized, though, was that I wasn't really that scared of the surgery. That there were lots scarier things. Found out that a friend of mine is going in for a masectomy today, with a malignant tumor. There are a lot more cases of going in for surgery than just a reconstruction that are a lot scarier and a lot more life-threatening.

Also realized that there really isn't anything I can do about any of it. That it's all going to be entirely out of my hands, and that I'm not going to change a darned thing by worrying about it. So it was good to have reasons not to worry. Most of the day was just chock full of things to do for work.

Oh, right, and the night before I'd gotten a slip from S. Jackson, spent a moment trying to figure it out and then this morning, I got my Malakim pendant. It's perfect. It's on an adjustable choker that allows the bronze to fit in the hollow of my throat and the winged sword is exactly what I had hoped it would be, and amusingly enough it makes me feel safe. Near enough to a cross, perhaps and the warm metal nestled quietly there all day. Simplicity and beauty, perhaps are synonymous for me.

Also spent most of the day coordinating the last of the things that needed coordinating for the surgery. Times, when and where I should be, what was going to happen, all that. Including the fact that I couldn't eat anything past midnight or drink anything for eight hours before the surgery itself. Oooof.

So I made pan-fried farm fresh steelhead, a risotto primavera with the addition of portabella mushrooms and a bunch of vegetables nuked in the microwaves, and the three of us ate. John talked with a bunch of the church folks after that while Raven and I talked and he gave me the backrub. Then the three of us sat down and watched Austin Powers. John made popcorn and I ate Trader Joe's Gingeroos.

That's a really funny movie. What might be funnier yet is that originally John and I had thought about watching Lost in Space, but nearly everyone had bashed it and when I had told Raven that he had admitted that there wasn't any way in the world that he was going to watch that again. Ever. No way.

So I took the hint and liked the movie that I got and that was pretty good.

I slept pretty well for most of the night, but drank enough water that I was getting up every hour to go to the restroom and then drink more water again. Eight hours without *any* water was going to be something of a pain, far easier would be the fact that I wasn't going to be eating anything solid from midnight until likely 4 pm, as my surgery would be at 2, but prep would start at noon, and they said about an hour and a half for the surgery itself and then another hour and a half resting in the hospital before getting to go home.

I'll likely get Seven-Up and crackers immediately after I wake up from surgery, but that'll be all the food and drink I was going to have up 'til then. Bob made the interesting comment that even today most deep generals would make one sick to ones stomach, so it's a little better to not have anything in ones stomach at all beforehand. The brochures had noted that they didn't want anything in me to make sure that nothing would come up to go into my lungs while I was under.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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