You and I have had our ups and downs this year. Mostly downs, by any measure, but let's not quibble over the finer points therein. Suffice it to say that in general, 2010 has been unmatched in this Troubadour's experience of "rough patches," "tough spots," "suboptimal circumstances," or any other euphemistic label you'd like to slap on it -- despite multiple appeals for relief. To which I have to ask, at the risk of sounding repetitive: WTF?
I have not, in the past, been a big bright-side seeker. I lost my innocence a little too early on to develop the habit. But I'm willing to try almost anything at this point, given the November you've served up so far. And as tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I figure now is as good a time as any to start. So whatever you are -- an entity indifferent to the human plight or one whose intentions for me have yet to make any sense -- listen up.
In the last week, I was grateful for the following:
- Getting to see one of my dearest friends from college, who happened to be interviewing in Seattle for a medical residency at the UW and needed a place to stay. Never mind the kidney infection you decided to make apparent to me with a raging fever and teeth-rattling chills, about the time her flight was going to arrive. The ER was on the same route as the airport, so it was convenient for D to drop me off and continue on to pick her up. A reunion in one of those skimpy hospital gowns was not what I'd envisioned, but I have never been happier to have company. The laughter that came from behind the curtain in my ER bay for the hours we were stuck there should be proof enough of that.
- Having my white cell count remain oddly normal in the ER, despite the fact that the infection had already spilled into my bloodstream by the time the poor nurse assigned to me found a usable vein to get the IV antibiotics going. (Is laughter, indeed, the better medicine?) The delayed immune response fooled the hospital into discharging me on the same night rather than admitting me for what was actually a much more serious condition (bacteremia, with the potential to turn into straight-up sepsis). It was nice to get to spend a few extra hours with my friend outside the hospital, which we used not wisely but very well. We took the conversation home and didn’t end it till nearly 3 a.m.
- Having the blood cultures come back soon enough the next day to get word to my urologist, who promptly called in the extra antibiotics I would need to make sure the infection was properly treated (the ER doctor prescribed only 7 days' worth; turns out I needed 14). Without them, I would have been short on meds for the length of my research trip. Which brings me to ...
- Getting to go on said research trip, despite the severity of the aforementioned infection. I know the party line, per the infectious disease consult ordered by the urologist, was to cancel my plans, but she and I decided that the calculated risk of getting on a plane for a few hours to spend a week essentially under my parents' care (the arrangement was for me to stay with them while doing the research) was reasonable to take. Yes, you made me pay for it by giving me more chills and fever while I was somewhere over Utah, but I was armed this time with enough antipyretics to kill a buffalo. So I'm still glad I went. Recovering in Panhandle, Texas, is essentially no different from recovering in Seattle. And Mom's chicken soup beats any I could make.
- Being lucky enough to have scheduled my return flight between that arctic front's passage over Seattle and its subsequent arrival in Panhandle. For a few days before the anticipated snowy cold snap, we were concerned that I might get stuck in Texas for the holiday, leaving D on his own for Thanksgiving. But I'm home now, thanks to a little mercy from the travel gods, and we will have turkey together tomorrow. Given the last month's health ridiculousness, we will not be throwing the usual fete we love to put on nor will we be traveling to share the holiday's bounty with the numerous folks from out of town who have invited us. But we are glad that I'm on the mend (for real this time, we hope) and look forward to the long weekend, if only just to rest.
So. Here's to a happy Thanksgiving. May what remains of 2010 offer much to be grateful for. (I wouldn't mind, though, if the things to be happy about were packaged with fewer associated challenges ...)