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One manifestation of worry

I dreamed last night that I was living in The Handmaid’s Tale, only it was a general, not gendered oppression imposed upon society. Iowa City was a police state. At every turn I was in possession of something forbidden—chocolate, paint thinner, whiskey, tennis balls—and I had to decide whether to stow them away for safe keeping and surreptitious use, to give them all up to the oppressors under fear of punishment, or to execute a combination of the two: I would give up the paint thinner and the tennis balls, in a show of righteous support of the new regime, but keep the chocolate and the whiskey cached away. Meanwhile, Kathy and I wandered the streets, talking in low voices, and met former friends who had been tortured in their own homes. When we were caught in an investigation for someone else’s treason—a bad scene, because if their house was searched, their paint thinner might be found—that I woke up. When I slept again, another dystopia. This time K and I had to decide whether to play Abram and Sarai in Egypt: to save ourselves, she would be my sister, and I, her brother. That dream did not last long. I don’t recommend dreaming about living in police states or living in police states, for that matter. I do recommend reading The Handmaid’s Tale.

My dreams were probably so vivid because I fell asleep last night worried. My grandfather had a triple bypass surgery yesterday—his second bypass in four years—and though I’d heard he was out of surgery, I’d also heard there was a complication, but I didn’t know what the complication was. This morning I learned he was bleeding too much afterwards, but last night he woke up asking for bacon for breakfast, and he’s now on the normal—if it can be called normal—recovery route now. (Of course, if he continues smoking after this surgery like he did after the last, this will happen again, or he simply won’t survive the next heart attack… but those are worries for tomorrow.) I’m not much of a celebrant of Thanksgiving, but today I am indeed thankful that, for now anyway, it appears he will be okay.

Update: I talked to my grandparents today. He was phlegmy (from the smoking and the breathing tube) and has had a hard time coughing (from the fact his chest was split open), but otherwise he was in good spirits. Grandma said there had been about sixty people through the hospital room today, including mom and her new boyfriend. (Grandma doesn’t know the boyfriend is a boyfriend, apparently, and I didn’t explain it. I wonder: is there an age when a boyfriend should rightfully be called something else, say a manfriend? She hasn’t been seeing him long enough for him to be a partner.) She told me his pulse before the surgery had been hovering at 40 bpm—after, at 80. He might go home as early as Saturday.

Can I also add, even at this late hour, that I’m happy to be employed?



Merry Thanksgiving and good health and dreams to you and all your loved ones.