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August 31, 2007
I know you're not supposed to remove your own EKG patches while still in hospital, let alone your own IV line. But I was so confident of being released this morning, and it is ever so much easier to secure forgiveness than permission. And I did wash my hands.

Sometimes I imagine that I can lean on the medical people to let me out against their better judgment, but I know that's a fiction. My timetable is of little interest to them, and I am introduced --again -- to the shocking idea that perhaps it needs to be of a little less importance to me.

Removing my own IV line was born of that imagined sense of control over events of which I am not, in fact, in charge. I do it all the time, get everything lined up and in order with only one piece missing: the main one. I'm ready to go; all I need is to be released. Like a bride with evrything in order for her wedding but a groom, I'm so sure all will be well that I can come dangerously close to a disaster entirely of my own making.

"Dr Balal has already signed my discharge," I told the nurse confidently. I'd be out in minutes. But he was too smart for me; he had made his say-so contingent on that of the gastroenterologist, who will see me after his afternoon of office hours. This is an outrage, of course.

Or is it? Isn't it just as easy to make a case for its being a gift of contemplative time, straight from the God who knows all about my tendency to bite off way more than I can chew? Maybe the best thing that can happen to me is for my half-baked enterprises to fail in a more or less predictable way, one that reminds me unmistakably that I am not magic and neither are my desires.
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