Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash
I didn’t expect to find myself beside you, swatting flies and leaves to watch fishermen watching you like I watched Dad that summer, his float piercing the fly-busy surface until a tench rose to the bait and yanked his rod clear from its rest. He sprang in, swearing at bubbles. We laughed every tear we had left. A warm spring rain’s starting to fall on this new pontoon. Someone’s caught something and it’s time to leave.
from the Commencement Speech by the Chairperson at The Post-Surgery Club Conference
It’s been over thirty years since I joined this community of the purest sleep, waking up after corrective surgery on a bunion, left leg in plaster. My dues were paid with the running stitches on top of my foot — I forget it’s there. Some sign-ups are elective, but most are thrust on unsuspecting or unwilling participants jack-knifed at speed through glass or those clutching hands to imploding chests, or feeling the rush of minute bubbles travelling in their blood for a second. Our rules on the admission of newborns for immediate lifetime membership never fails to surprise or upset. We’re not easy to spot, though we don’t hide, and it can take time to learn the value of wearing our insignia with pride. Something as basic as catching a peek through undone button or sleeve rolled too far might reveal a fellow member’s presence via an ellipsis on a forearm or a zippered sternum. Our branding is unique to owner and surgeon. The scalpel-sharp irony of not having our own waiting list isn’t lost on us: the moment a stitch is made you’re in, and the initiation ceremony needs little more than counting down from ten to take part in something you won’t recall — and hope to avoid ever repeating.