Day 322. So many days passed. Lost. It moves me to tears to think of it. I haven’t written a word since we last spoke. Much water under the bridge on my journey.
Well, okay then. While the rest of you were ring-ting-a-ling-ing at your champagne-toasting, hors d’oeuvre gobbling, slow-dancing fêtes, I was feeling like my lights were out. I ended up spending a week at the very, very decidedly “developing world” Washington Hospital Center (just try using the bathroom in one of the patient rooms). Oh just Deck the Halls with Boughs of Bedpans.
It wasn’t all bad: I had round the clock IV Dilaudid, and though I was NPO (no food or water) for three days, and on a liquid diet for the following two days, it was sort of like being in some kind of a dreamy, stoned spa….I lost five pounds for the first time ever in the month of December.
My favorite moment in the hospital? This email from Carlos:
I’ve heard you are in the hospital… what’s going on? Xmas in the hospital seems a bit extreme. Are you giving birth to baby Jesus? That would explain it. … Love, oodles of it.
I am STILL laughing at that email. I’m sure darling Carlos can hear me, all the way down in Buenos Aires.
This visit was a scare. I had pain around my navel, near one of my aneurysms. A rupture there could mean curtains for me. Oddly, the gravity of the situation didn’t register at the time. I just knew I should move quickly, so I was my same plucky self.
Last week, when I was safely home, I saw a writing prompt that asked me to write about what I would do if I had only an hour left to live. I felt like I really knew the answer, no speculation. The answer is that I would do whatever I could to keep on living, but not send off the alarms to my loved ones because it would just torment them if I was wrong. Luckily, I knew that this was a good plan, since I was wrong on this call.
I read fanciful answers others had posted, like go and finally eat that ice cream sundae I’ve been denying myself, or go and take the kids out of school so I can kiss them, or go find the guy who was my only one, true love, kiss him, and finally admit it after all these years. None of these answers are in any way practical or even probable. When you think you have only an hour left, you are afraid. All you can do is what you do every day: try to keep on living. You do what you do in every single other situation: continue the perpetual motion of swinging one unremarkable foot and plunking it down in front of the last one. That is all of us survive the everyday trauma of living, as well as the life-and-death traumas. We have no choice. There is a certain comfort in that.
So, after a week on two different antibiotics (okay, I lie, five days. I stopped them because they were killing me, rather than having any effect on any sort of bacteria that were supposedly in my gut), I am fine. Feel great, in fact, a wonderful way to start the new year. I have tons to tell you. We’ll catch up in days to come.