Five or six inches of snow fell yesterday, making today's Thanksgiving-highways that much more congested and infuriating. As usual, my wife and sons will (it's quite early in the day) probably head to New Jersey and a get-together with my wife's kin. I don't travel well or have the energy for long social encounters, much as I may enjoy them initially.
A slice of yesterday, 8:30-11:30 was given over to pre-op bureaucracy at the hospital where I will have my operation on Monday. Long, bland halls; deliberately flavorless rooms; few, if any, windows; much talk about what 'will' happen as distinct from letting it happen and then getting the hang of things based on experience. The older I get, the less gracious I become in these circumstances: I don't mind if someone has a job to do, but I do wish they wouldn't do it around me.
My crabbiness was ameliorated towards the end of the day when the pulmonary surgeon who will remove what may or may not be a small cancerous node on my right lung actually called up. We hadn't yet met because the surgeon I was originally assigned to "no longer works" at the hospital and the doctor who called became the pinch hitter. I hadn't cared much for the original surgeon. The doctor who called offered a pleasant flexibility and humor that is unusual (my experience) in the world of surgeons. We chatted. I asked a few questions -- most notably, how long I am going to be kept at the hospital. The doctor made no promises but said his experience with similar operations averaged out a two days. I appreciated his willingness to take a swing at the question even if he couldn't answer the question fershur. I asked the question at all because the conviction is pretty strong: Hospitals sap patients of an interior healthiness that contributes to physical health or healing. I realize it's a conundrum (you have to watch over the body in some quite mechanical ways), but I see no reason not to trim the sapping aspect as much as possible. Get me out and under the sky, and I have a feeling I'll heal much better. But I felt much more at ease after talking to the doctor. He feels like a mensch.
From where I sit, there isn't a philosophy or situation in the world that wouldn't benefit from laughter. But confected smiles are worse than Ebola.