Comfortably Numb

I. Love. Pink Floyd. I mean….who doesn’t? Their music has been transcendent through multiple generations. The mix of great lyrics accompanied by great instrumental work, augmented by what was at the time state of the art synthesizers and effects, could elevate you to a higher plain. It was, and is still, truly artistic.

I first discovered Pink Floyd in high school, and was hooked right away. I would listen to many of their albums in their entireties late at night or while going to sleep. Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals, Wish you Were Here, Meddle, and many more. Their albums were not really just a compilations of songs but rather an opus that flowed from beginning to end, each song falling into the next like it was meant to be. Their masterpiece, Dark Side of the Moon, is a great example. It was perfect, front to back. So much so that you could never imagine the songs in any other order. After Dark Side, The Wall was probably the pinnacle of their success. It became a movie and a concert experience, almost like a rock opera.

I want to talk about one song in particular off The Wall, Comfortably Numb. It is one of my favorites, and always puts me in the right mood no matter where I may hear it. Now, everyone thinks this song is about drug use. But it’s really about Roger Waters’ experience with anesthesia while he was sick on tour. While under heavy sedation, he related the feeling to a childhood ilness. Take a closer look at the lyrics below:

Hello,
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?

Come on, now
I hear you’re feeling down
I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again

Relax, I’ll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move, but I can’t hear what you’re saying

When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I’ve got that feeling once again, I can’t explain
You would not understand, this is not how I am

I… Have become comfortably numb

There is a reason I am talking about this song. That’s because, as I write this, late at night, I am getting ready to fast for anesthesia tomorrow. In the morning, Mari and I will go to the hospital so I can have a port placed. For those of you who don’t know, a port is a semi-permanent catheter running to the tip of the heart. It has a hub underneath the skin on the R side of the chest. It will be extremely sore for a while, and I will have a constant reminder of it every time I look in the mirror.

Now this is a break from the normal routine, when I have had a PICC line placed in either arm. Even though that also goes to the tip of the heart, it can be removed after the antibiotics are finished. So when it is done I can forget, if only for a while, that I am constantly sick. Since I have had so many, however, my arms have a lot of scar tissue and my veins are thickened and narrowed. These factors make it more and more difficult to put in place. During my last hospitalization, they had so much trouble they needed to dilate my veins with a balloon to thread the catheter through. It was extremely painful, and I was awake the entire time. I listened to the doctor getting audibly frustrated, running out of options and calling in assistance from a colleague. All the while I was strapped to the table unable to move, trying not to freak out!

So subsequently I was told that a port was needed. And truthfully, I probably should have had one long ago. When the yearly exacerbations became more every like 6 months or even less, it was time. But I resisted, because the idea of a port signified a benchmark of progression that I was unwilling to accept. I guess I have to let that go; these things are out of my control. So I am sitting here writing, and trying not to let my anxiety get the best of me. I think back to the song.

O. K., just a little pin prick
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick

Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good

Hopefully tomorrow all will go well, with no complications. Hopefully, this will be the last procedure I need for a while. Hopefully, the port will be an improvement for future exacerbations. Hopefully, during the procedure, I will become………..

Comfortably numb.

4 thoughts on “Comfortably Numb

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  1. This is so powerful I cannot put my feelings into words. My generation also loved Pink Floyd; they were in a class by themselves. Hope all goes well today; you are in my thoughts and prayers as always. Love !

    Liked by 1 person

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