Even though Charlotte had begun to see advantages to being on her own after 18 years of marriage, on occasion she found herself missing the presence of another responsible adult in the house. One such instance presented itself when she went into the hospital to have a hysterectomy. It would have been nice to not have to cast about for someone to take care of her son, or someone willing to drive her to and from the hospital who would also make the necessary calls to relatives and friends when she was wheeled into recovery. However when she finally was discharged, Charlotte was grateful to not have a husband hovering, or in her case more likely not hovering, over her. While the surgery was more than she had bargained for, she didn’t have to put on a happy face and pretend the surgery was “only a flesh wound”. Instead, she could feel sorry for herself, curse the surgeon, watch whatever she wanted on TV and order delivery every night if she chose to.
The freedom of “dying” in peace was only overshadowed by the intense physical discomfort she experienced. Before the operation, Charlotte had not been smart enough to be anxious. In fact she had romanticized the entire ordeal as she was prone to do. She had purchased pretty, flowing nightgowns and several books to read during her short hospital stay. She had imagined herself propped up in a bed wearing a bed jacket and full make up entertaining her visitors. If she had had any idea of the reality of a complete hysterectomy, she probably would have put a deposit on a beach house and hit the sand running. She had convinced herself the forced R and R would leave her dewy fresh when she sprang back into action after the necessary recovery period was over. Her mother tried to warn her, but her mother’s experience was dated, or so Charlotte thought. Really had she been paying attention all she needed was to think back to when her tabby cat was spayed to know what fate awaited her. Juney B had spent several days at the vet after her surgery. The cat had been in the hospital longer than Charlotte! Charlotte wasn’t sure, but it seemed as though the assistants at the vet had been more compassionate and present than her nurses. Besides, Juney B. was able to hiss and claw as a sign of her displeasure while on the other hand, Charlotte was fearful of being seen as a bother.
The cat came home crabby and listless and looking madder than hell. After her own surgery Charlotte could relate. Even more disillusioning than the poor disposition was how Juney’s body went to pot almost immediately; her tummy suddenly lost its battle with gravity and dangled inches above the ground. With each move, Juney heaved an audible sigh. She never regained her muscle tone in her kitty abdomen, and Charlotte wondered if she would have similar results. As she recuperated Charlotte envisioned herself walking around with her stomach hanging to her ankles, swaying side to side with each step. Since her surgery, Juney B was content to loll around the house in warm sunny spots, not venturing out in pursuit of love. Why bother? Charlotte thought to herself, “You and me Juney B!”