Back from the dead….

I expected to come home from the hospital yesterday, but the pain was just too acute. Lucky for me, while there I had this state-of-the-art morphine dispenser; whenever the pain made me want to scream, I just pushed a little button. At that point, the little machine started to make this grinding noise for about a minute — it was pumping extra morphine through a catheter in my neck. About five minutes later, my hands would go numb and soon the excruciating pain vanished, and I’d luxuriate in a gentle, weightless drowsiness.

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me take this gadget home with me as a souvenir. So now when the pain sets in, I have to take these opiate capsules and a bunch of other tablets and wait as long as 20 minutes for the relief to come. It’s so 20th century.

The food was good, the hospital was preternaturally clean and efficient, and all in all it wasn’t as awful as I feared. Yes, the day after the operation, as the anesthesia wore off it got pretty intense, but seriously, that morphine machine kept me content.

I did a lot of reading in the hospital. I finished a book called Grass Soup, a diary of a Cultural Revolution prisoner whose staple food for years and years is….grass soup, of course. Witty, downright funny at times (in its insanity), and utterly tragic.

I also made my way through the first 200 pages of Wild Swans, a 700-page family history of a three generations of a Chinese family, spanning from around 1910 to the Tiananmen Square massacre.

I have been spellbound by this amazingly personal account of how one of the world’s greatest nations was slowly and deliberately suffocated to the point of being altogether brain-dead. It really is as chilling, as bizarre and surreal as the worst nightmares conjured up by Asimov and Orwell…. More when I feel better.

The Discussion: One Comment

Abundance, like want, ruins many.

April 19, 2005 @ 1:36 am | Comment

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