One day last week, my friend sent me a text to see how I was doing. I sent her a text back telling her what was going on, and her response was super appropriate, and hilarious, ‘You must have been a giant asshole in a past life or something.’ My reply to her, ‘Was I ever!!’ I suspect that during one of those lives I was downright abhorred and had no friends whatsoever. Though I am currently dealing with the fallout of the choices I made lifetimes before this one, it comforts me to know that I am now only an accidental asshole (I ALWAYS SAY SORRY YOU GUYS) and am surrounded by totally kick-ass friends. Thank goodness that, in this life, I am doing something right. I am not going to lie, though, it has been tough the past 14 days dealing with the consequences of the assholery that was practiced a lifetime or two before me.
The morning of my surgery, I was dehydrated upon arrival and accompanied by low blood pressure, meaning that my veins decided that they need not show themselves. So, after four failed attempts, by two different people, to get an adequate IV in my arm, the third person rammed the needle into my arm like it was a pin cushion with no feelings. He was introduced rather swiftly to my potty mouth. I was, however, thankful that he took an aggressive approach to avoid the next person getting punched in the throat. He did someone a solid, I suppose. Anyway, once the IV was finally in, they rolled me into the OR and hooked me up to a drip. When the drugs hit my system, I said, ‘Ohhhh wow. AM I ON DRUGS NOW?’ and a nurse gleefully exclaimed ‘YES YOU ARE’ and then I started laughing hysterically. It was the most fun OR, EVER! I then proceeded to give them all a pep talk and fist pump into the air while screaming, ‘GO, TEAM!’ The last thing I remember before it was lights out, was that they were not going to be able to get me to sleep. Duh, I totally fell asleep.
Things were great immediately after my surgery. The beach ball that had been lodged inside me for a year and a half was gone, and the back pain that made me reconsider the benefits of continuing to breathe was gone. Like, completely gone. To say that I was relieved, grateful, happy, blessed and profoundly overwhelmed is a tremendous understatement. I was all those things times a million. As I lay there in my hospital bed, I realized that the chains were off and I was finally free from the hell that had been tormenting and testing me. Tears of happiness fell down my cheeks and, at that moment, life was really, really good.
But then at 2 am, a magnet made its way inside my head and began sucking my eyeballs into the back of my head and then spinning them out of control. It felt like I was in a battle with a black hole, one that I was about to be violently sucked into, and when things started to go dark, I prepared to meet my new leader. But, then it stopped, and I found myself still lying in my hospital bed, all my limbs and brain intact. ‘What in the almighty fuck was that?’ I whispered to myself. Calling the nurse was a consideration, but I felt I was too high to adequately explain the black hole that came to get me, and based on the type of surgery I had, I thought things might get slightly awkward if I failed at communicating, you know, properly. The black hole came to get me over and over again throughout the night, but each time I managed to win the battle. In the morning, and after coming down from my morphine high, I explained the dizziness to my nurse (I selectively left out the black hole part). She was certain that it was just the aftereffects of my anesthetic and was comfortable discharging me since I was not going to be at home alone. When I left the hospital that morning, it was with a sense of hope and excitement.
Seven days later, I went to the walk-in clinic. Since leaving the hospital, my eyeballs had continued spinning, and I needed help. It turns out it wasn’t a black hole at all (so weird), it’s called Vertigo. The physician gave me a prescription to drain the fluid from my ears and was confident that the dizziness would be short-lived.
Three days after that, I developed excruciating pain in my abdomen and another body part that made the usual pleasure of pooping feel like I was birthing a semi-truck out my ass. Dink threatened to drag me to the ER if I didn’t call the nurses hotline for some medical advice. So, when the nurse said that the information I provided required that she call me an ambulance, Dink didn’t need to drag me – I voluntarily went with her to the ER.
Twelve hours, a sunset and sunrise, an IV (first try!) and a CT Scan later, I was diagnosed with an infection and was sent on my way with a prescription and lots and lots of instructions. This time when I left the hospital, it was with frustration and hopelessness. I was beginning to lose faith.
After arriving home, I thanked Dink for not only encouraging me to go to the hospital but for sitting with me half the night. Then I went to my room, stripped off my clothes and crawled into bed. Once the room stopped spinning, I drifted off to sleep.
A few hours later I woke up and meandered about in a stupor for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t be accurate to say I was feeling sorry for myself; I wasn’t, but I was definitely in a funk. The recovery I had pictured for myself wasn’t happening and having a peaceful poop was now only a foolish pipe dream.
When I woke up the next morning, I dressed and walked up the street to buy myself a coffee. On my way back, I was overcome by a powerful urge to see the ocean. For a few seconds, I pondered the risk involved if I were to drive my car, but based on the fact that my vertigo only seemed to be happening when I was lying down, the decision was an easy one. As if I am going to drive my car lying down – pfff. A few minutes later I was seated on my favourite piece of fence, sipping coffee, listening to music and looking out at the wonder before me. For the first time in two weeks, I felt connected to something greater – and I felt alive.
The sky was gloomy, but it was beautiful, and I was in awe. Thoughts of everything I am dealing with began swirling in my mind, and the sudden realization that I was going to get better restored my vision. This really is temporary. I remembered that beyond the clouds is the sun, and it shines ever so brightly.
As I sat there looking towards the horizon, I thought of my dad and my stepmom, and the opportunities they have lost because of the disease they are both carrying – one that will never leave their bodies. And I thought of my co-worker Mick, and what he would have given to be able to sit and see, for even one minute, what my eyes were seeing. Everything then became crystal clear, and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.
Over the course of the last year, pain and physical challenges have impeded my ability to chase my dreams as relentlessly as I had planned to, and my resolve has been put to the test. So often I have wanted to throw in the towel and surrender to a time that wasn’t so goddamned hard. But, I didn’t. Somehow, through it all, I found a way to keep moving forward.
Beyond the horizon are possibilities and they are all mine if I want them. I just have to reach out and grab hold. And the moment is now, because one day, I won’t be so lucky. This time, though, my body will heal, and I will once again have the opportunity to live without inhibition or constraints. In a few weeks, I will have defeated the Dark Lord of Vertigo and will be able to poop without having one leg propped up on a wall. And when that happens, I will be where I have longed to be for so long – the right side of possible.
The chains are off. And I am free.
Every moment from now on belongs to me. And I believe that anything is possible.