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daily kaddish: nose surgery, percocet, and pants

Today is Candy Pants’ Yahrtzeit, but we’re going to have to mark that tomorrow—I’m in too much pain from nose surgery today, which is oddly fitting.


Today is Candy Pants’ Yahrtzeit, and I had hoped to write and play kaddishim for her tonight, but I had yet another nose surgery this morning—number four inside a year. This time, a bilateral valve trimming to clean up the right-nostril valve trim from December and also trim the left-nostril valve while we were at it. This is an outpatient procedure done under local anesthetic. No big deal. I took myself out for Korean for lunch afterward, even.

Then I got in the car to drive home. That’s when the local anesthetic started wearing off. By the time I got home, I was in such severe pain I’m not sure I should have been driving. I took a percocet. Within an hour or so, I felt better. By dinnertime I felt decent again, but after dinner when I went to play a Kaddish—well, holy crap, Mira!

I took another percocet.

I concluded the obvious: I’m not up to marking Candy’s Yahrtzeit tonight. My brain is too numb from the pain and the percocet to write, and my nose hurts to much to throw myself into playing. I am, therefore, exercising my understanding of Jewish tradition wherein one is excused from one’s observational obligations when sick. We’ll just have to mark Candy’s Yahrtzeit tomorrow and make do with an ordinary daily kaddish today.

So I played a kaddish. The pain was just annoying while I played, but afterward when I was bouncing it to disk—holy crap, Mira!

This feels weirdly appropriate, though. As I’ll write in her kaddish (tomorrow, I hope), Miss Pants had a life full of medical challenges. Candy’s stamina in the face of pain, surgery, Elizabethan collars, and inadequate pain management for arthritis was remarkable, and playing what I could of a kaddish through pain for her seems fitting.

And now I’m taking my percocet-jelled brain and throbbing nose to bed.

By erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…

2 replies on “daily kaddish: nose surgery, percocet, and pants”

R’fuah shleymah. Feel better. I didn’t even know that noses had valves, thought only horns did.

I don’t off-hand know what our tradition says about observing mitzvot while sick. But whoever is engaged in one mitzvah is exempt from having to do another; and while there isn’t one explicit source of a mitzvah to heal (oneself), it is absolutely accepted and taken for granted in Jewish tradition that it’s a responsibility.

That’s what another member of our virtual minyan had mentioned to me last time I had a valve trim and wasn’t sure what my playing situation would be.

Yep, noses have valves. Take a quick, sharp breath in through your nose. Does it shut off? Try again mire slowly–does it open? Those are the valves I just had trimmed, because mine were too big and blocked air even in the open position. They’re right at the transition from nostril to upper passage, and he trimmed them usin what looked like nail scissors. Surreal experience! But great when your nose works better afterward.

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