Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and mine.

There is something sinister about a countdown: the blinking red numbers on a timebomb, the Doomsday clock mere minutes from midnight, the decremental approach of a rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem.

Elsewhere, there is something refreshing about a blank slate. The tabula rasa offers a new beginning, an empty page. To a writer, that presents either a daunting white space or an invitation to creative freedom. Of late I perceive the latter, having found my own surprisingly galvanizing Muse in the Whipple, now mere hours away.

The date of an operation is day zero in the surgical nomenclature, like a scale being tared to measure proper weight. All progress will be benchmarked from here, such that tomorrow becomes P.O.D. #1 (Post-Operative Day 1) and so on. I like the idea of those numbers stretching into the distance, milestones of recovery. That they grow larger suggests the gaining -- regaining -- of strength and function. I hope they also escalate towards an imminent future in which I get to go home to my family, and later back to the clinic for my patients.

The sun never rises and sets on the same person. By the end of every day we are each different -- often imperceptibly, sometimes radically -- than when we awoke. By the end of today I will be a very changed man. I will have forded the waters of Heraclitus' river to reach the opposite bank, finding myself transformed there by an irrevocable crossing.

Though I may arrive gasping on the distant shore, here's looking forward, in every respect, to P.O.D. #1.

Mark Lewis5 Comments