I never used to believe in jinxes.
I mean, I wrote this nice, long post on Fate, a concept I wholeheartedly endorse. And so I figured, if Fate is in control and destiny is already lined up, then you can’t jinx what was meant to be the final outcome all along. Right? It sounds great in theory, anyway…
But then last week I wrote about how I was gearing up for the best Thanksgiving of my life, provided I survived long enough to enjoy it, because Tuesday had brought a wealth of adversity into my life…including a rather painful stubbed toe.
Silly, silly Mark. How wonderful a stubbed toe would feel right about now.
The Thanksgiving holiday began on an amazing high note. I met Tara at the airport Wednesday morning, and as usual we were all giddy to see each other again – kissing, hugging, holding hands. We had a fun day with the kids that included do-it-yourself pancakes at Slappy Cakes and bowling at Big Al’s. After playing cards and ordering pizza for dinner, I dropped the kids off, and she and I began the task of preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. We baked pies – I did a pumpkin, she did a sweet potato – and prepared appetizers. Thursday went off without a hitch; my parents, aunt and uncle arrived around 2 PM and everybody mingled while enjoying the fruits of our labor. Needless to say, Tara won everybody over. My parents clearly were quite impressed with her, and the feeling was mutual. We could now settle back and enjoy the rest of our long holiday weekend together.
Friday, we’d planned on doing nothing other than relaxing and watching movies. That morning she finally got to see Steve Martin’s classic comedy The Jerk as we lay entwined on my couch. The day was off to a great start. Feeling hungry, we decided to run out and grab some Chinese food.
And that’s when trouble hit, in the form of sudden, sharp, stabbing stomach pains.
“Are you okay?” Tara asked.
The truth is, I was in excruciating pain and could barely stand up. I suggested we make a quick stop at Fred Meyer for some Pepto Bismol, but that did nothing. I decided to lie down at home, but the pain only intensified through the day. By evening it was the worst I’d ever felt, so I told Tara it was time to head to the emergency room. Big step for a guy who is no fan of doctors or hospitals, lemme tell ya, but I was in agony. After a two-hour wait that felt like pure, uncomfortable torture of the worst kind, I finally got checked out. Blood tests, a CAT scan and an ultrasound pointed to acute pancreatitis caused by gallstones blocking my bile duct. Fun stuff! I was admitted to the hospital, hooked up to an IV that filled my veins full of antibiotics and a wonderful narcotic called dilaudid, and gradually began to mend.
Monday morning came the surgery. I had always been terrified of going under the knife, and might have – in a moment of weakness – mentioned to Tara that since she had the password to my blog, maybe she could be so kind as to write a really heartfelt tribute should I die on the operating table. What a scary moment, being wheeled into the operating room – it was ice cold in there. I had always imagined the surgeon slipping a mask over my face and asking me to count backwards from 10 to 1, but it didn’t happen that way. He instead told me to picture a happy place, and suggested the Caribbean. I pictured white sand beneath my toes…and then, nada. I was fully conscious one second, completely out the next, until I woke up 90 minutes later in the recovery room. I saw a blur of figures walking by, heard machines beeping, and thought I was dreaming for a good five minutes until I realized I’d actually made it through the surgery. “I’m alive!!” I thought gratefully, and have never been so relieved in my life.
Tara had to fly back home that afternoon, but she and my parents hung out with me for a few hours back in my (thankfully private) hospital room. And then all too soon we had to part ways. She had been such a rock to me throughout this whole ordeal; as badly as I felt for ruining our perfect Thanksgiving holiday, she insisted she was glad that she had been there for me. If nothing else, it strengthened our bond even further than before – plus she had a chance to really bond with my parents. I love that girl so much.
That should have been the end of the story…
But, alas, life sometimes throws you curve balls. I am now preparing for my sixth night in the hospital, because there are issues with stabilizing my blood pressure. Hypertension runs on my dad’s side of the family, and while I’d always thought I was immune, apparently this is not the case. My BP has been running high and the doctors are trying their best to come up with the correct balance of meds and the right dosage to safely discharge me. It is frustrating as hell to be stuck here so long, in an uncomfortable bed with nothing much to do and getting very little sleep, but I know they’re only looking out for my well being and the smart thing is not to stress over it. Easier said than done, of course. I actually got into an argument with my doctor after begging him to release me this afternoon; he told me this wasn’t a jail, and I said fine, I wanted out. Only it turns out if I do so I won’t receive any post-recovery treatment – no blood pressure meds or painkillers – and I’ll lose access to the state-funded insurance program that just may bail me out of what will otherwise be a financial disaster for me. So I had to swallow my pride and suck it up. I actually asked one of the nurses if I could talk to him real quick to offer an apology, but the consensus on this floor is that my doctor is, according to multiple sources, a bit of a jerk.
C’est la vie, then. I don’t feel so bad. Most of the staff here has been very friendly and accommodating, but there have been a few less than stellar characters, as well. It’s all par for the course, I suppose.
I still don’t know when I’m going home. The optimist in me still figures it’ll be tomorrow…only tomorrow has an annoying way of bleeding over into the next day, and then the next. Only time will tell, I suppose.
In the meantime…at least I’ve got a decent view from my room.