Two or three days after the surgery I was having so much trouble breathing that the doctors concluded I might have pneumonia. I was taken from the ICU for a CAT scan, though I scarcely remembered the event until I began writing this. I was later told that there was an anomaly on the scan, a dark spot in my lung, and that I was going to be sent somewhere for a procedure to determine the nature of it. While the nurse was explaining this to me, I suddenly began to choke, and then I brought up a blood clot the size of a walnut from my lungs. It was vile and disgusting - even my son was horrified - but I immediately felt better.
It was, I suppose, the spot that had been seen on the scan, though later it was determined that my left lung had collapsed, and I continued (and continue) to have difficulty breathing. But I think often about that horrid mass, the taste and texture of it in my mouth, and the desperate black-red color as I spat it into a towel. What was it? In my fanciful mind (I am, after all, a writer) I cannot help but see it as a symbol, though of what I have not yet decided.
Perhaps it was the reside of weeks of anxiety, congealed into a semi-solid, suffocating mass. Or perhaps it was my old self, compressed like matter at the origin of the universe, though unable to expand into an infinitude of creation, or like a dying star imploding on itself. Or perhaps it was a foreshadowing of my future - a dark, inchoate, coagulated mass made of my life's blood, a grotesque gift to me from the heart that I had betrayed to its violation.