I am not a sentimental man - at least, I do not consider myself to be one. But this is a rare instance in which I feel it is appropriate to give thanks where thanks are due, and although we do not celebrate Turkey Day in these parts, I thought the date aligned itself nicely with what I have to give thanks for.
My prolonged absence from the blogosphere which practically consisted of the entire month of November can be attributed to the fact that I was felled - and felled so terribly - by some dark and lingering malaise towards the end of October. Maybe I'll write about it sometime, but right now all I wish is to banish the memory of those dark weeks from my consciousness.
Instead, we shall focus on the silver linings I uncovered in that personal whirlwind of hell I spun helplessly in for almost a month.
Even before "the incident" happened, I had been feeling a little guilty about not spending enough time with my folks, as well as the rest of my family. Chalk it up to too much work, laziness, and the smug superiority of a bachelor who's been living on his own for more than a decade.
Well, Fate, as is its wont, doth work in roundabout ways. When a fever refused to abate after more than a week, it became abundantly clear that I was being besieged by more than just a pesky flu virus. And after being tipped off by my snitch of a maid (who probably just dreaded the thought of discovering me hideously lifeless on the bed one fine day), my clan descended upon my house en masse, with my father himself appearing at my bedroom door at 2:30 in the morning commanding me to get up and be taken to the hospital right away. After regaining my composure after being startled by this imperious dark shadow against my door, I promptly put on my usual scowl and bitched "Dad, it's 2:30 in the morning. We'll go to the damned hospital tomorrow, okay? Geeez."
Tests, a biopsy, and more tedious tests followed, and the highlight of what was actually my second hospital visit (I had dragged myself to the ER three days earlier, determined to be sure that I wasn't suffering from dengue, which was my initial - and mistaken - suspicion) was the irony of my senior citizen father pushing me around in a wheelchair, the poignancy of which was only negated when he tried to steer me down the hospital's exit ramp frontally, instead of backwards. Of course the force of gravity coupled with the incline caused the wheelchair to go careening off down the ramp, with my father and a guard in hot pursuit, as I resigned myself to the fate of crashing into the open, waiting door of my truck and possibly landing inside like I was starring in some horrific Three Stooges skit.
Be that as it may, Fate, again, provided me with my very own personal nursemaid in the form of my sister, a former nursing student who went into teaching instead and was now working on her Masters and was, so conveniently, on her sem break. And so it was that I spent quality bonding time with her for two straight weeks, as I railed against my baffling and indefinable illness as she provided a steady, stable, soothing presence.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed sounds like a delectable proposition, but things look very different when you're running 40 degree fevers daily. My temperature would rollercoaster like the New York Stock Exchange, dipping to predictable highs and lows as my sister duly took note of my bodily fluctuations. And as an added bonus to my body alternating between bone-wracking chills and high fevers, standing and walking became increasingly difficult, getting to the point where the few steps from my bed to the john meant an agonizing ordeal of feeling like my feet and calves were being sliced by scalpels with every excruciating movement.
I once wrote that all sick men revert into boys crying for their mommies, and I'm certainly no exception to that. My mom visited me regularly, valiantly battling her motion sickness which was exacerbated by my brother's Daytona-inspired driving, and these visits served to calm my fears and reassure me that hey, maybe everything was going to be fine. I would learn later on that during her first visit, she took one look at me and already intuited what was really wrong, but she did not share it with me then, not wanting to alarm me. Instead, she shared her suspicion with my father, which explained why, in the middle of his next visit (they took turns visiting me, like Ferdinand and Imelda not taking the same plane to ensure the continuance of the conjugal dictatorship), my father oddly asked me to align my palms.
And if you know what aligning your palms is supposed to mean, then you and I must've shared a common childhood.
I am grateful to discover and prove beyond a doubt that my parents still love me, and love me enough to be so worried and concerned about my health and general well-being.
I am grateful to know that even though he does not say it, my father shows his love in other ways. He brought me a thick woolen blanket that must've weighed 50 pounds, in order to stifle the chills that racked my bones at 3 a.m. He also brought me a pair of really neat titanium crutches which I steadfastly refused to use, as well as the hot water bottle I requested.
I am grateful for my sister and the time we spent together. I am grateful that she took up Nursing and that she has a kind and caring spirit, and that she sacrificed her sem break in order to take care of me, me who cannot remember when exactly in August her birthday is.
I am grateful that the rest of my family showed up and that their visits brought me some joy, adding a semblance of normalcy when my whole world was being rocked to its foundations by the abnormal.
I am grateful that my mom rallied her amigas and corralled them into praying for my recovery, with her "prayer warriors" reaching as far as my aunts in benighted Arizona.
I am grateful that Fate led us to uncover what was really going on with my body and why I was increasingly and literally getting crippled by the day, and that I was able to connect with healers who were able to give immediate answers and remedy what three different doctors and interminable lab tests could not.
I am grateful that I am better, that I am on the mend, and that what happened - while terrible - was not the thing I feared.
I am grateful to be alive, and to be reminded that no, we don't have all the time in the world, no matter how invincible we think we are.
And right now, I'm grateful just to have been able to write this, and if you read it all the way through, then I'm grateful for your interest and attention.
Happy Turkey Day.