After two days of roaring winds and falling temperatures, the sun is blazing in a cloudless sky. I know it will be cold when I step outside, so I am postponing it, practicing sloth. I have not assembled all of my winter gear: the old ripped work coat - the spider infested fur lined boots - the long knitted scarf. I have yet to find a good pair of warm work gloves. I threw out the expensive dress gloves this summer because they had shriveled to unrecognizable shapes and dried into stiff lumps of abused leather. They were originally purchased to wear to my civilized job in the real world, but they were so warm that I wore them to do chores. It only took one trip to the barn to ruin them for society. Do the glove industry mavens not understand that in some backward sects of America, people still work outside in the winter and need warm, resilient, tough gloves to keep their fingers fit for posting to their blogs?
So, while I am planning a trip to the big city this afternoon in search of warm work gloves, I am considering the recent string of strange events that ran through my life last week. How in the world can these things happen all together in a tiny nexus of time and what does it all mean? Does it mean anything at all?
First, I was rudely jolted awake from an innocent and peaceful slumber last Thursday with frightening, wrenching pains in my chest and stomach area. After enduring about an hour with the escalating pain, I decided I might be having a heart attack and headed for the hospital at 50 miles an hour, the fastest speed I could withstand. I had to pull over on I70 to be sick. I was hoping no law enforcement type would stop to hassle me for "drunk" driving.
I made it to the emergency room the same time my daughter arrived. Though the front clerk got all the information and hooked me to an EKG machine right away, there was no bed available, so I had to sit upright in those torture devices known as waiting room chairs for almost two hours. I reasoned if I was having a heart attack, they would have at least found a cot for me, so that was comforting. Ultimately, I decided that if I was going to be suffering like the proverbial bastard anyway, I should be suffering at home and left. I paced the floor at my daughter's house for the next four hours in such misery that I truly regretted leaving the hospital. Perhaps they would have given me something for the excruciating pain. But then, pain management is never a concern with American doctors. They prefer their patients to suffer as much as possible, deliberately torture them, and then expect to be paid handsomely for it.
Sometime in the black, lonely, early hours of Friday morning, the pain suddenly went off the charts and I truly, truly, genuinely and humbly regretted not staying at the hospital. I became violently ill but then a miraculous thing happened: I was free of pain! I was cured! I did not want to go back to the hospital but my daughter had been scared to death. There was no way I was going home at that point. She took me back to the hospital and called in two of her friends to make sure I stayed there. Though I told the hospital staff flat out I did not want another EKG and I did not want them to inject some sort of lethal dye into my bloodstream, they did anyway. I should have run away but I was wearing a hideous nightgown. I doubt if I would have had any success catching a ride home.
The final diagnosis is gall stones. My own doctor said "Gallstones - stoneZZZZZ." He emphasized the plural for me, glaring over his reading glasses. He has recommended I get that troublesome gallbladder removed several times. I sort of like all my parts, even the ones that give me trouble. I really do not trust any of my working parts in the hands of people with deadly drugs, sharp instruments, and outrageous torture devices. I genuinely do not want to turn over any of my money to these sadists, either. But it looks as if I have to. Though I have medical insurance, these costs will certainly indefinitely delay building my house. Oh well. I would rather not find my old self vomiting on my shoes along the highway like a drunken frat boy ever again.
On the third day after this horrendous adventure, I received the very sad news that my son's father had fallen into a coma. The decision to remove him from life support had been made and there were only hours left. No place to run with that acute pain, no medicine, no procedure, no hope. Nothing could be done to change anything, past or present. It was hard to feel sad for anyone except my son and the man's mother , two people whose love was unacknowledged and unrequited for decades. It was a mystery, and the secret went to the grave. I bear no ill will toward the father of my son. I once dearly loved him, and still hold him dear in my heart but my son may have a different measure. Farewell and god speed toward peace and wholeness and respite from the plagues of this world.
The last event in this strange week of suffering and sadness was one of triumph - pomp and circumstance - victory over the forces of darkness and despair! My daughter walked across the stage in Bramilage Coliseum to accept the honors of a Masters Degree. I shed a few silent tears, silent because my son and brother were there. I could not cry freely unless I wanted to be teased mercilessly for the rest of the day. It was absolutely wonderful, and my daughter is more brave and more kick-ass than Princess Leia AND Queen Amidala combined.
It was a small but jubilant party - my daughter and her boyfriend, my son and my brother. We lauded our smart girl with presents and cards and hugs, and we ate like kings and queens.
I never know what to expect from my son. I called him early in the day, afraid he would oversleep and not make it to the ceremony in time. He was already on the road, and I was impressed, but not for long. He said he was not dressed up and wondered if that was going to be a problem? When he got up that morning to take a shower, he found the water service had been terminated. Three college dudes, not one of them has a serious girlfriend right now, so paying the water bill is not a high priority. I said I doubted anyone would notice, but I did wonder how LONG he had been without a shower...
When we met, I was relieved that he appeared as a normal college student, except he had a beard, the product of the "No-vember, No shave" policy he and his roommates implemented. He normally has short, tidy hair but due to the lack of water, he was wearing a damn stocking hat and a hoodie. He looked like a terrorist to his sister when she spotted him in the crowd taking photos. She told us later she did not recognize him at first, thinking to herself as she walked off the stage "Wow, that guy looks like a terrorist!" I called him the Unabomber the rest of the day.
It was a strange grouping of events that took place in the space of one week. After suffering and loss, great victory and good food. That is the way life should always go.