back in this strip once again, 2/3 forever the anniversary of my first brain surgery. i don't really think about it on the same level as before but it's always present. does this mean i'm more normalized? or does it mean merely that i'm better at hiding i'll never be normal again? i have no answer.

in any case, to celebrate please find a quick extracted remembered sketch of that morning, 4 yrs ago today...

5:45 AM.

We are driving to the hospital. As many times as I’ve played this scene in my head I am surprised at how normal and pedestrian it feels now that it is here. There is the bus full of people going to work. There is the stoplight turning green. There is the stream of early morning traffic across the Ross Island Bridge. None of these people or things seem to be aware that in a few hours time I will be having transsphenoidal surgery to remove most of a mass from my head, what (we hope) is a pituitary tumor.

The hospital sits on a hill in the Southwest quadrant of the city. How many of those little lights are rooms filled with patients experiencing some stage of life-altering drama? How often have I denied that the building’s mere presence is testament to the ephemeral nature of existence? Suddenly I am reminded of life’s fragility.

I look over at Margaret and ask her how she’s doing.
“Good” she says. “You?”

“Me too” I say. After anticipating this morning for so many weeks to now actually be in it is not so bad. It is strangely almost a relief. It is not exotic like we thought. It is what it is. It is the opening sentence of a story that was supposed to happen to someone else: Early one February morning in Portland, Oregon a 32- year-old man is being driven to the hospital by his wife.

The sky shifts and brightens. It is clear and beautiful for this time of year.

The road curves up into the hills. We drive past the now-familiar construction site and the hospital’s buildings come into view. We park in the same garage that we’ve parked in since we were referred here. The attendant booth is attendant-free because it’s so early and this image saddens me, cementing what’s happening around us. It is no dream or mirage.

We cross the street and pull open the glass doors. We step inside

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