I had been so looking forward to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, planning a morning in bed with my iPad and coffee. But three days before the royal nuptials, I was admitted into the hospital with a serious infection. And on the evening before the Big Day, I ended up having surgery. When Saturday morning came, I didn’t feel up to watching any of the festivities. I spent a week in room 496 and finally did watch the wedding two days later, while intravenous antibiotics were administered to fight the staph infection wreaking havoc on my body.
Life continues to challenge me and this recent physical illness broke me mentally. It turns out survival isn’t cumulative, but the things we must survive are. Being hospitalized brought back a lot of issues I didn’t even know I had as a result of the last time I received in-patient care after I woke up blind. Like the scar on my ankle from almost 20 years ago, the memory of that first dark week in a too-rated Philadelphia medical center had faded. But also like the plate and screws in that joint, there was still something under the surface. Instead of holding me together as the hardware does, the PTSD fractured my mind and my spirit.
I am home now recovering, finally beginning to feel like myself in my head. The stitches come out tomorrow and I am anxious to put this all behind me. But I now know that just because you move on from something doesn’t mean that it never happened, that it didn’t leave a mark. Instead it dissolves into you like the type of sutures I don’t have, becoming such a part of you there is no way to tell where the experience ends and you begin. It is as insidious as the staph infection I battled and between the two, far more frightening.
I will never forget where I was when Diana’s youngest made his vows to his bride. And I will never forget that, like love, a single week of your life can last forever.
I spent the night in pain with a new injury, feeling knife stabs every time I rolled over. This morning I woke up really angry about it, and tired, manifesting in an I don’t give a crap about anything attitude. I have written something other than this blog and connected with a professional media person to review it and give me their thoughts. I had intended to send it two weeks ago, then last Monday, but kept tweaking it because I was afraid to let another living soul lay eyes on it. Yes, I know this blog is available to the world but strangers don’t scare me. Well, the guy who likes to stand in my way on my daily walk scares me, but I’m pretty sure he’s not reading this blog.
Starting a new week not feeling so great was the kick I needed to send my creation to someone to poke, prod and dissect, the same treatment I will probably receive today if I can get a doctor’s appointment. I like to play doctor, on the internet, people, but there are good reasons there are experts in every field and if you’re lucky enough to find one you trust you have to put yourself in their hands.
If you’ve been putting something off, in honor of my boo-boo, do it. Make the call, send the email, meet someone for coffee. Just like a medical issue, letting it go is only going to make you feel worse and pretty soon it’s all you can think about. You’ll feel so much better once it’s done, even if you’re still nervous to hear results. I am not always good at this, fear can steer my actions, or non-actions I should say, more often than not. But when I think about it I realize that I’m never really sorry once I do something I have been putting off.
I was going to title this post, “Pus: A Catalyst” but thought better of it. There are times when mulling something over before acting is the right thing to do. But no amount of pondering will ever make you less frightened, it will only increase your anxiety and decrease your progress. Do Monday. Before it does you.
During my senior year in high school I got on a plane for the first time, destination: Spain. Thirty years later, I vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table doing homework while my mom made dinner and mentioning to her that the trip had just been announced. I had no motive in sharing the news; it was something other people did and never occurred to me that I might go. Without missing a beat, my mom said, “Why don’t you go?”
This morning I sent an email to a couple who live in Spain I met last year while in Germany. With a few keystrokes and clicks, a photo taken by a Pennsylvania woman in Germany, immediately arrived in Spain. My teenage self could never have imagined it in the same way that said girl never dreamt of seeing the world until one typical Tuesday night her mom gave her that world with four simple words.
I set out to write about how incredible technology still is to me although I take it for granted as much as the next person, demanding faster speeds and more capability. But this post has instead led me to marvel at a woman who had zero interest in travel and yet gave her daughter the opportunity to do just that. I have been missing her greatly these last few weeks; April and May encase both our birthdays, her stage 4 cancer diagnosis and hospitalization, and the second-to-last month of her life. And, of course, Mother’s Day. Although I know she is with me and always will be, the past couple of days I have been wondering if she actually knows what’s happening in my life since she died six years ago.
Three decades later in a different kitchen I send an email to Spain. Things I could have never foreseen are now routine and assumed. If an image can be delivered across the ocean in the blink of an eye, why can’t my mom have 24/7 access to the Sister Rain Channel? After all, that’s not technology, that’s love.
Pushing the cart through Walmart last Friday night, hearing the song “Hot Hot Hot” playing throughout the store, I was transported back to the deck of a cruise ship. My husband and I went on four voyages with friends in our twenties and thirties and the disparity of where I was now and twenty years ago made me feel nostalgic. A cruise is no longer my first choice for vacation but I loved those trips and am so grateful to have them to look back on. Grocery shopping is never my first choice or even in the top one hundred but I’m always thankful for it too . . . thankful when it’s done.
From luxury ocean liner and conga lines to shopping carts and check-out lines, Friday nights could not be more different. But life can’t be all midnight buffets and exotic ports of call. Sometimes you need plastic hangers and toilet paper. In bulk.
“Just because the original has us naked, crying, eating non-stop,
going to the bathroom on ourselves, throwing up,
looking like we spent way too much time in the bathtub and
not remembering a minute of it doesn’t mean
we should spend the rest of our birthdays in the same way.”
— Sister Rain
“Life has a way of tossing you around like clothes in a dryer.
But unlike my clean apparel, I never come out of it unwrinkled . . .
or smelling better than when I went in.”
— Sister Rain
Do you love tracking packages? I do and I am obsessive about it. Once I get notification that an item has shipped I begin compulsively checking its progress. And once I see “Out For Delivery”, efforts are ramped up despite the fact that all I have to do is look out the front door.
We have been labeled a society of instant-gratification seekers, expectors really, and I am still thrilled and in awe that an order I place today can be in my hands tomorrow. But there is something so satisfying to me in following its journey. Maybe I miss the anticipation and build up more than I know, the presents that begin to appear under the tree the week before Christmas when I was a kid. It could also be nothing more than the control freak in me, the need to always know where things stand.
We usually don’t see the bad stuff coming and there is an argument for both sides: warning or no warning. But when it comes to something good, I like to look forward to and participate in its impending arrival. I’m surprised they don’t charge us for that feeling, a line item “Anticipation” above Shipping & handling and Tax. Don’t tell Amazon, but I’d be more than willing to pay it.