Thursday, August 4, 2016

On Choosing Grace

Who's got two thumbs and a rare infection in her heart valve?

---> This gal!<---


*Taken the day I was released.  Lest you thought I was sitting around taking selfies the entire time...*

There she is.  In all her sallow, hospital gowned glory.  Never too ill to feign a duck face for her adoring public.  Filtered just so as to keep up the pretenses of her attainable beauty/mask just how dirty her hair is.  Juuuust like a Kardashian.

Initially I wasn't quite sure if I was going to blog about this but then I felt the chill of the post-hospital slump of attention and suddenly I was at Bachelor contestant levels of: somebody notice meeeee!

Also, this saves me postage on my newsletter.

So here we are.

Fortunately for you, I really don't have the energy to regale you with this tale in the same manner of tedious detail to which you've become accustomed, so you will get the abridged version.

I'm sick.

I've been sick since early July.

First I thought it was the flu, but then when I started to feel better, it came back.  Then I was like: well, maybe it was just a virus and now I caught another virus, but it came back a third time.  I went to the doctors, but all the blood tests were normal.  Then I started to have shooting pains in my abdomen.  Autoimmune disease? Kidney stones? Appendicitis?  No. No. No. All the tests and scans were negative.

Then my doctor did a blood culture and suddenly it was: get thee to a hospital.

So I cried because the last time I stepped foot in a hospital was to say goodbye to my brother.  And then I put on my big girl pants, waited 20 minutes for a cab in 90 degree heat, and skirted death in rush hour Boston traffic while my cab driver played what I can only assume was Pokemon Snaps on his cell phone.

I was eventually diagnosed with Endocarditis, which is caused by bacteria entering your blood stream through your mouth (often via dental work), and taking up residence in your heart valve.  If left untreated, it can lead to sepsis and death and other unpleasant things.

In my case, it lead to embolisms in my spleen and brain and a heart murmur.  The effects of which, remarkably and miraculously, are all temporary and will result in no permanent damage.  I feel a little bit like the third Perverell brother who cheated death, when everyone else around him was getting straight up murdered.

And the sad thing too is that I love learning about rare conditions and would find this all truly fascinating if I hadn't had to live through it.

Now I am on a four week course of IV antibiotics, which I am administering myself, at home, like the badass I am.

I am an active, strong-willed, independent person and in the last few years, I've had a number of truly humbling experiences--experiences that have made me rely on others in a way that I normally would never allow myself to.  And as incredibly shitty as those experiences have been, they have contained within them powerful lessons on love and interconnectivity.

This particular incident has reminded me that we choose grace.

When I was lying in my hospital bed, I thought of my brother lying in his hospital bed, faced with a sickness far greater than my own--who, in the wake of that knowledge, was still so kind to his nurses and everyone around him--so I chose to mirror his grace.  Even though I was in pain and had been ill for so long, I chose not to complain, not to be sullen, but to be courteous, cheerful, and grateful.

When so much of life is out of our control, it's so empowering to be reminded that we at least have some choice in our response to it.

But I guess that's just me, waxing trite and virtue signaling alllll over the place.

And you can choose how you want to deal with that.