(Puru – this one’s for you.)
In the early days of our relationship, oh, some twenty odd years ago, Mark would say: “When you are old and infirm, I’ll take such good care of you. Will you take care of me?” And my answer was always an emphatic “No”: a) I’m not a romantic, and b) I’m not the nurturing type.
Well, life sure got me. We’re not to the “old and infirm” part (because I sure wouldn’t be taking care of him) yet (or are we?), and Mark has had every accident or illness known (and some unknown) to man. And I’m just talking about in his adult life!
Where to start? Broken femur on a rafting trip in 1990? Giardia while on safari in Tanzania, just before climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1994? Bruised kidney while kayaking in 1995? Arthroscopic surgery to graft new articular cartilage on his knee in 1997? Skin, flesh and muscle rubbed off (major boot-bang!) both shins while back-country skiing in Yosemite in 1998? Third degree burn from a hot pack in 1999? Concussion while kayaing in 2000? Strep infection that left him speechless and motionless in 2002?
Why don’t we start with the big one.
- San Francisco, November 2001 – Hit by a car while riding his bicycle to work. Concussion, broken pelvis, sprained wrist and knee. Loss of certain cognitive functions, like word-finding. Full recovery time: 9 months.
- Pondicherry, February 2005 – Dengue fever (broken bone disease), mis-(self)-diagnosed first as a reaction to Larium (mefloquine), then as malaria.
- San Francisco, March 2005 – Surgery to remove a benign tumor (granuloma formed around an infection caused by a worm) in the lower lobe of his liver.
- Bangalore, January 2006 – Ideopathic trigeminal neuralgia (suicide disease), considered more painful than child birth.
- Mumbai and Ahmedabad, February 2006 – Pulmonary pneumonia.
- San Francisco, June 2006 – Ruptured Achilles tendon (affliction of the middle-aged man) requiring 2 surgeries to reattach. Full recovery time: 4 months.
- Bangalore, January 2007 – Hit by a bus. Major road rash on left foot and arm.
- New Delhi, February 2007 – Acute appendicitis and subsequent emergency appendectomy.
Today, while mincing his way back from the dining room at the Sri Aurbindo Ashram in Delhi, he said: “I’m going to get in such great shape this summer!”
The belief in immortality remains strong.
His anticipated response to this post? A peevish: “Do you have to recount every cold that I’ve ever had?”