The body is a brilliant creature. Every system, each organ, the totality of its container and all it contains is designed for survival. It fights. It flees. It heals itself with near miraculous efficiency. It grins and grimaces through it all, but nevertheless, the body moves through each day breathing and beating. Rivers of fluids travel back and forth, up and down, expertly through miles of corridors all in perfect balance. Cells grow, die, are replaced or sloughed away. The body contains thought, imagination, dread, elation. It restores itself within its own dreams. The body is a vessel of strength.
The body is also frighteningly fragile.
With my head carefully wrapped, tubes dripping life-sustaining fluids to keep all my innards in balance plugged into my arms, while other tubes removed unneeded fluids, I must have looked a sight.
Yet, there was my friend, Toni — her face two inches from mine, cheering me on, telling me I was beautiful. Some time later, she told me that I looked luminescent. “They gave me glow drugs,” I told her.
The glow was from a fever, but there was a dripping medicine for that. I had a moaning headache — another drug helped with that. I was allergic to the first two seizure medications — they offered a third. Eating was a difficulty — they had someone who did nothing but hold up spoonfuls of soft food for me to take in like a baby bird.
On the third day after my surgery, it was deemed I was past the danger point for brain swelling or hemorrhage. Home care was arranged for me; I was loaded into my wheelchair and sent home to recover. They needed my hospital bed on which to lay another bandaged head.
Yes, the body is brilliant. Sparklingly, brilliantly, crazy fierce. And fragile.