Reflections On An Unintentional Foxtrot

Sorry folks. No funny anecdotes or entertaining rages today. This one is serious. Feel free to skip it.

So, as some of you may have noticed, there is a noticeable gap in my postings where November ought to be. That would be because I got sick—really sick.

So sick, in fact, that when my brother and I were discussing The November (as the incident has now been termed), he said that I “almost died”. I laughed with him at the time, but the phrase bubbled back up through my consciousness later. And then it started to bug me.

Could Will be right? He is a 13-yr-old boy, and as my brother, he has been subjected to rather a lot of exposure to my phraseology and humour, and is thereby prone to both exaggeration and some interesting turns of phrase. Because could I really have come that close to kicking the bucket without realizing it?

I know that where I’m concerned, I’m not always the best judge. (Heh, as a certain pine tree and set of revolving doors in New York City can attest.) So, I decided to go talk to Fatherbot. I figured that, of all the other life forms I live with, he was most likely to pour me a shot of straight-up honest. But my conversation with him didn’t go quite as expected.

Instead of chuckling over Will’s dramatic statement, he paused. And then told me that, while it is a bit of an exaggeration, it isn’t much of one. My sister Liz, chimed in at this point, and both her and Fatherbot agree that, while I didn’t almost die, I came “too close for comfort”.

And, well, that pulled me up short. It really shouldn’t have; everyone close to me was very scared when I was in the middle of being ill, and during my hospital stay. (Hell, even my profs were worried when I didn’t show up to heckle them during lectures.) Loved ones were profoundly grateful that I went to the hospital when I did. And the facts really should have drilled it through my thick skull that, yeah, I came close to biting it. Because:

Fact 1) I lost about 20% of my total body weight. i.e., one-fifth of me pulled a Houdini.
Fact 2) I am a physically small being, and really didn’t have that weight to lose.
Fact 3) When I recount the above part of The Tale of November, every listener’s jaw has hit the deck. (Yeah, that should’ve been a clue.)
Fact 4) When the doctor in the ER actually got a look at me, and not just my charts, he was afraid.
Fact 5) By the time I was admitted to the hospital, I couldn’t do normal human things anymore. Like walk. Or eat.
Fact 6) The hospital does not keep you any longer than absolutely necessary. In point of fact, they want you out of their hair as fast as humanly possible—you don’t stay until you’re better, you stay until you’re no longer “in crisis”. And yet, I was in the hospital for a week; I was admitted early Monday afternoon and released Friday evening.

All these facts lead to the conclusion that, for all my wit and observational skills, I am (obviously) fully capable of being dumb. I seriously don’t know how the everliving fuck I managed to miss the fact that I did a little foxtrot with Death. That, more than simply missing it, I needed it pointed out to me by my baby brother.

Maybe it was a reality I just couldn’t face. Because, ha ha, no—I’m not ready to see my mom again. Not yet. I’m not done being mad at her. Maybe I knew it wasn’t a really as serious as everyone thought—I wasn’t going to simply lie down and let myself expire like so much bad cheese. Plus, well, there’s also my sheer stubbornness—because there’s no way I’m going to let something as mundane as an infection kill me. If anybody wants me gone, they’re going to have to try a whole hell of a lot harder than that.

Mostly, though, I think it’s just my mindset. I’ve figured out by now that if you can’t roll with the punches and find some way to laugh, you’re a walking pile of crispy toast. I think I’m also a little bit benumbed to medical misfortune because my health has always been somewhat precarious.

But this time, rolling and giggling wasn’t quite enough. I’m not . . . over this. Not yet. I want to be, but Lady Luck bailed on me. This time, obstinacy and a dark sense of humour just aren’t cutting it. I’m tired, in mind and body. I’m lacking my usual drive. Everything is taking just that much more effort to accomplish.

And I know that Life doesn’t owe me squat, because the bastard won’t shell out for a decent accountant. Furthermore, I learned early-early that Life Isn’t Fair. Sometimes, it’s Not Fair in your favour. Other times, you’re gonna get shit on, so bring an umbrella and a shovel. Hence, I am fully cognizant of the fact that even though I could really use a vacation, I’m not going to get one anytime soon. I have too many academic responsibilities squawking for my attention like little baby birds, and I’m not even halfway through the semester. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through to the end. My plan—because of course I have one, even if I know it will, inevitably, be fucked by a porcupine—is to take things one day at a time and do as much as I can. How, exactly, that will work out remains to be seen.

And as I come to the end of my musings, I wonder if it’s really appropriate to post this. I mean, isn’t unfiltered-stream-of-consciousness-no-one-cares-about what Facebook is for? And unmitigated whining definitely belongs in a journal, not the internets. But the bottom line is that The Hangover is my space, and it isn’t any less my space simply because I know a few of my readers In Real Life. And the people who know me IRL are more-or-less already aware of The November, so what my wibbling is really over is the fact that I don’t want to seem shockingly dumb. Put simply, I’m being a weenie, so it’s time to stop procrastinating and post already.

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

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