After the tumultuous events of the last couple of days I woke up on Sunday morning wondering what I was going to do with myself. I had spent some of the last evening knee-deep in medical texts trying to understand the difference between a Laminectomy, a Laminotomy and a Laminaplasty. Suffice to say they are all bad-arse things that a surgeon can do to the back of your neck. I think I understand some of it, but have decided to get a second opinion from a neurologist about what I should do. If medicine is a butcher shop then the surgeon is out the back with the meat cleaver chopping up legs of lamb and there is flesh and bone chips flying everywhere. The neurologist is out the front advising the customers whether pork or chicken is a better buy this week. Surgeons have a weakness for wanting to chop up stuff. It’s a bit like asking a stockbroker whether you should buy BHP shares or leave the money in the bank. I’m not sure the advice is always sound. Anyway, next week I’m going to try and see Dr John O’Neill, a neurologist at St Vincent’s.
So what will I do today? I don’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself and I don’t feel like another gym session. It’s a beautiful, sunny, warm Sunday. I was thinking of the documentary, from years ago, On any Sunday. This documentary, by the surfing filmmaker, Bruce Brown, came out in my first year of university. It follows the lives of motorcycle racers and racing enthusiasts in the USA. Brown tried to show the unique talents and personalities, involved in the sport. I don’t know why I’ve thought about this. Maybe it’s the title. Maybe I’m going mad. I couldn’t give a stuff about motorcycle racing, but I remember seeing it in the movie theatre at Macquarie University all those years ago. It’s supposedly the best motorcycle documentary ever made. Anyway, I couldn’t stand it anymore and decided to go for a swim. Farey told me not to do this but enough is enough. I got my snorkel, fins and goggles and headed off to Manly pool.
“Every time I hurt myself, I end up back here,” I thought.
“I remember coming here for years after my 1998 surgery and swimming with a snorkel. I’m back here again – – – in through the out door.”
I took it very slowly but the swimming provided instant relief for the burn in my hand. I did 20 laps without difficulty and felt so refreshed afterwards. It was wonderful.
What to do with the rest of the day? I had been reading a book called The Truth by Neil Strauss, the New York Times columnist, who came to attention with his best-seller, The Game. I bought The Game for my daughter Hilary years ago, so she can understand how dating works. I spent all afternoon with Strauss’s book. He’s obviously self-indulgent and selfish which detracts from what could be a very good book. He is also weak. Still, I’m sure it will be a bestseller and as a published author myself, I’m always jealous of people who write socially relevant material that turns into a bestseller. I’m not sure if The Truth is fact or fiction. I suspect it’s a bit of both, but it will appeal to a wide audience, I have no doubt. I wandered down to Manly and had dinner watching the fish in the fish tank at the fish cafe.
Despite yesterday’s big workout, my leg doesn’t hurt at all. The great thing about a broken neck is it makes you forget about your broken leg. You also get to learn a whole lot of new Greek and Roman-based bullshit, medical terms. I’m also going to see another medical specialist. Surely there can’t be any more left who have school fees to pay. Can I carry the weight of the entire Sydney private school system on my shoulders anymore? It’s simply too much to bear! At least one of those schools should name a library after me.