stranger than friction

Tomorrow it will have been a week since I lost a body part. I may have previously joked about flushing my gall bladder down the toilet after lighting it on fire but some (likely) drug-induced reflection has made me realize just like Radiohead predicted, "You do it to yourself, you do. And that's why it really hurts."

My poor gall bladder never stood a chance. After 34 years of high-fiving people about eating cheese melted on a plate while the poor sunuvabitch whimpered for mercy deep in my guts, something had to give. So, out it went last Wednesday morning. In a haze of trainee nurses, a kind woman with a beard, knee-high socks made of steel wool with no discernible toe or heel, questions about my use of street drugs (I lied) and a pile of blessedly warmed blankets, I arrived at the hospital a complete game of Operation and left a chattering yellow taped up mess of re-arranged organs and a hunger so deep and raw and base I almost punched my own child in the throat for a bite of her applesauce. (Instead I got broth, water and then a rather lady-like on my knees barf in the bathroom sink.)

When you're a lucky gal like me with award-winning friends, recovery means glorious bursts of visiting friends bearing warm fragrant food, jovial cards, heady smelling tea leaves and flowers (Brief Interruption: For a girl who loves flowers as much as I do - like I should have a tattoo that reads "FLOWERS, YOU ARE THE YAY-EST!" - I never buy them for myself. I get them when I leave hospitals. After Stella I hit the flower PAYLOAD then this time around, I got some beautiful smelly gems.) Check it:

As a fun time killer during the following week and a half I booked off, I decided to sleep like a 19 year old homeless woman, watch some Oscar movies (so far just this one made me sigh with love), and figure out how to make my highschool hotmail account stop being such a goddamn scourge of the earth and halt the spamming of people I haven't spoken to in 10 years. So, I cleaned up some old nonsense but also dug up some wondrous things. Old pictures that I had before iPhoto had me in-line and organized.

I found a series shot in a hospital, but on a joyous occasion for me - the birth of my first niece Lily. And then, just to be a huge dick to myself and to brutally illustrate the point of how far one girl can fall over the course of only five years, I decided to hammer my self-esteem with a sack of frozen dimes and piece two pictures together. Reminiscent of those anti-drug PSA's where they have a series of mugshots of a crack addict to show what hard livin' and drug sippin' can do to ravish the fine features of a face, I give you the most shameful Before and After of (my) all time. Please see below.

On the left side, almost married, visible cheekbones, eyebrows plucked to oblivion, fighting weight Brooke-Rhiannon Irelaaaaaaaand! On the right, jaundiced from medication, ironic thumbs up, hospital gown slipping sultrily off my shoulder, blind, socks draped over my head (placed there by my loving husband), body gone to seed Brooke Takhaaaaaaaaar.

As much as this recovery has been uncomfortable, stuck with half my stomach taped up punishingly tight and hot, sipping smoothies and water like they're good enough to call a meal, this is a wah-wah, shitty cliche wake-up call. Look at that picture of me!? There is no excuse for how heinous I look. Even post-surgery your body should be identifiable by your family. Goodness gracious -  it makes me want to barf and die and hide.

So, after this recovery is complete and I am so much more mindful of what goes down my throat, sh-t is gonna change. Stay tuned. It's time for some juicing and exercising and sweating and treating candy like a treat as opposed to a meal. I'm kind of excited.