Me, Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors, 2017
I am officially out of time for writing this week. Tomorrow, I am on my way to a documentary film festival and will not be able to finish and post the next day of Aruba. I will, however commit to get the remaining days of the trip posted between now and the next month before I am officially gone fishin'.
Not once have I asked that question my mother warned me never to utter, “What’s next?” Not once (better emphasis of my indignation if you read that in an Al Pacino voice). I have already had enough, been tested, through the storm, put through the ringer, you name it. I didn’t even want to know if or how anything else could be possible. This last 7 months has run the gamut, and has checked plenty of the major life events boxes. This last month, I thought once again that I was finally getting to the end of it, now that I could see that in their true form, my loved one bounced back like the resilient and determined individual that they are, and is successfully recovering and in the clear. I know that this could be a fact of life, aging, where people get sick, people pass on, in general - now you are an adult, this is life and sh*t happens. That makes sense, but this particular cluster of events, back to back to back? You have got to be kidding me!
Last Monday I made a tremendous decision to do something, which was a sealed deal when my mother told me, “to go for it, your grandmother would have told you to go for it!” This very spontaneous decision (that I will tell you about later) was a direct result of how these last months have affected my perspective on life. It was time to grab the world by the cojones. The days following were a mix of excitement and high anxiety about whether or not this was a smart decision. Friday came, and somewhere between grabbing a not so quick happy hour drink with my art bffs/BSU crew, and rushing home to see my visiting sister and niece, I missed a phone call. My phone had been on vibrate and there was a voicemail. *Can I just say that I love my BSU crew. They actually stood in an empty parking space, all 4, so I could park after circling the block repeatedly on the hunt.* The message was from my doctor with results from testing the day before, that I had ironically rescheduled several times on account that I was not feeling it. My hesitation must have been for a reason because I was informed that I have to have surgery that will require general anesthesia, followed by AT LEAST a 4-week recovery. Did not see this one coming. Personal health concern category/major event - check.
I HATE hospitals. Everyone knows this. They are my least favorite places on earth. They do not fool me with the bright colors and artwork and half fancy food courts; it doesn’t distract me from the smell of toxic cleaners and long, infinite hallways to nowhere good, just sad faces and sickly looking people. In addition, the most obvious reason for my dislike is that some of the saddest moments of my life have happened in hospitals. Now, for the first time, I find myself preparing to be the patient, not the despondent visitor. All of this is making me feel a bit weary. This dislike of hospitals is so strong that while visiting the recent surprise guest on this YGTBK tour, that I can’t say enough that I am so relieved is ok, I came close to fainting. I realize this is over the top, but most likely it was the combination of being dehydrated, seeing that person I love lying there in obvious pain, on top of the emotion, stress and implications of the day. If you have fainted before, you know the tell tale signs. For me, I have this immediate rush of feeling flush, then my sight narrows to a literal tunnel vision, then the sound gets slowly dimmed, and last, my legs slowly give out and I feel immobilized. I caught the fainting spell at the start, when I began feeling flush. At that moment, I did my best to play it cool to avoid creating a scene. My father was there. He had been a witness to one of my fainting spells. Unfortunately for him, it was at one of the last stations on a rope course, several stories in the air. I was in the lead of the group, killing the course, with him immediately behind. Apparently I was severely dehydrated, exerting a lot of energy all on an unusually mild day. You can imagine it was quite the spectacle. High in the air, my harness truly became my safety. I came in and out of the fainting spell a few times with my father helping and watching, pouring water on me, while we both stood on the narrowest of platforms, made for only one person. Eventually, the third time was a wrap. I was a goner and the staff at the ropes course had to rappel me down, with one person controlling at the top and bottom. In the end, I guess I didn’t really kill the course; it more or less killed me.
Leaning against the wall, in this narrow window of time, I knew I had to alert someone. We were all talking in a circle, with my father in front of me. Casually, I got his attention and said, “Do you remember what happened at the ropes course? It is happening right now.” Immediately he knew what I meant and the chair was cleared of our belongings and I was helped over. They got one of the nurses and told them I was having a fainting spell (presumably, in case I needed further medical assistance) and asked for water and ice. Naturally, I felt embarrassed and most importantly, I didn’t want my loved one to see me responding in this way. I tried to keep all the commotion away from their bedside in case they were awake. I sat there slumped in the chair, focusing on breathing and drinking as much water as possible. In the meantime, my father went to find some Gatorade. I drank all of it and recovered. I swear I am not a drama queen. I prefer not to be the center of attention. I never intended anything to be about me, but it was clearly too much for me to handle that day. The sad but kind of funny joke between me and that person after I told them how I couldn’t have handled anything else is something happened to them, was them telling me, “I’m glad my survival has kept you around.”
The next steps for me, considering the length of time, the financial aspects of this surgery - the cost and the time away from work, and my physical capabilities while I recover, plus now the timing of my big decision, has forced my hand on some things. Where and when I will travel this year for filming for the documentary has pretty much been decided based on what makes the most sense. I am thinking now that the trip will be to the northeast quadrant, to cover all the states north of Maryland, instead of the extensive trip to the western part of the country I was considering. Those northern states have to be crossed off the list, and it will also double as a way to accomplish one of my goals this year of seeing a whale. Yes, a whale. Wish me luck!