My work colleague, a great friend, shares a tradition with me. Whenever I’m enroute to something nasty that involves a surgeon and a knife, I email him a photo of the lucky socks I’m wearing, and he emails back that they’re probably the luckiest socks ever.
This started a couple of years ago, before Jerry drove me to my first biopsy. Chris had said, “be sure to wear lucky socks,” so I wore the weirdest, most colorful socks in my drawer. And then parked my feet on the dash, snapped a photo, and emailed it to him.
As it turned out, those particular socks were out of luck that day, as were the socks I wore to the lumpectomy and then the open biopsy. But we kept trying.
These lucky socks were a gold mine. I put them on at o’dark-thirty on April 15, the morning of the DIEP reconstruction surgery, and took a photo on the way to the hospital. It was still so dark outside that I had to wait until we were under a street light to take a picture. And then I emailed it to Chris. Most of the rest of that day was spent under anesthesia, but I woke up to a new chest, a new abdomen, and a couple of days later, a pathology report that essentially stated, “we have dug through all the gory stuff you sent us and can’t find any cancer in it.” Lucky socks, indeed!
But here’s the deal…I don’t remember taking a sock photo, and I sure don’t remember sending it to Chris. I found it on my phone a couple of weeks later and emailed it again, with a “better late than never” message. And there are other empty corners as well. A whole conference call two weeks before the surgery, during which I took notes and conversed intelligently, has disappeared. I can’t even find the notes.
If I have to lose small chunks of memory, why couldn’t I have forgotten the time a pair of forgotten pantyhose, stuck in the leg of my jeans, worked its way out and followed me down the sidewalk like a flesh-colored snake? Or the time I accidentally spit out a tic-tac during a conversation with a patient and he asked did you just lose a tooth?
Oh, well. I think I still have most of the important stuff.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11