Monday, October 09, 2006
picture of st maarten
Did anyone see last Thursday's Grey's Anatomy? (right, who didn't?) well, i really identified with two characters (you might be thinking meredeth with mcdreamy and o'donnel fighting over who gets to warm up my nueropathetic feet, but no). First, there was a young patient in for surgery due to lung cancer. This woman said that she had never smoked a cigarette in her life, never smoked pot, never even drank. She excercised, ate right, was faithful to her cheating husband, etc etc. And now, she was going in for a surgery with a 40% chance of survival and she felt that chocolate- boxes of it- were now her due. She was binging on cakes, racing other patients in their wheelchairs, even managed to seduce a "poor" intern into a quickie in the bathroom.
If you saw it, or if this little summary makes sense, I just wanted to say that I heard her hysterical confusion at her diagnosis crystal clear. The "why/how" questions cannot be answered in most likelihood, so I have not spent much time considering them. Was it God? Carcinogens I was specifically exposed to? Stress? A voo-doo curse? People wonder if I'm disgusted by smokers, but I'm not at all. God bless those 100-yr-old alcoholics or those people (not naming any names) who haven't eaten a vegetable in their entire life and are fit as a fiddle. It just goes to show, you never know.
The other component of her story which I could understand though, thankfully, not through first-person experience was the issue of regret. I have been so fortunate in my life to have had opportunities come my way, whether they be travel, love, jobs, education, adventures, and I have rarely (I almost want to put never) said no. Some people think you should wait until you're married so that you can experience So-and-So place together, or some people think there will be other chances to do X and put it off, or they credit others' flaws for not giving in to love or forgiveness. When I quit the Foreign Service, I thought I finally understood regret. But from this vantage point, alive for one thing!, living in a beautiful city with my amazing sister, those regrets which would make my stomach turn and my heart ache, have all but melted away. I get strength from perusing my photo albums; I think they almost have to remind me of who I am or was, and I'm kinda proud. (No shit! I hiked that!) I'm deeply sorry for the woman on the TV show said "no or maybe later" so many times but I've said to many of my friends when we're chatting about this disease: "I'm just glad I said yes." Cuz, well, you never know.
It's almost cliche, but if you died tomorrow, would you have regrets? If you had a near-death experience, would you be struck by all the things you still have yet to "do"? Perhaps it's all the drugs I've been on, but I am so grateful to report that YEEHAW I feel like I've done and seen more than most and could die tomorrow with neither fear nor regret. [I guess the flip side of that coin is that I often want to die tomorrow because i'm such a wussy about my therapies and have so far led a pretty active lifestyle. But let's stay positive here.)
Wow, third paragraph and I'm still talking about Grey's Anatomy?? Apologies; this one will be quick. The other patient I identified with was a young man whose brain tumor caused him to say basically whatever he thought. He'd comment on people's body odor or point out obvious chemistry between his docs, etc. I found him to be a really likeable character (but he dies). To some degree, I find myself a lot more honest, to the point of probably being rude. A friend of mine, after a stressful divorce, mentioned this same thing to me. Maybe it's a mixture of that apathy that comes when you realize life sucks way worse than your little optimistic mind had thought, plus a thicker skin all around. Whatever it is, it's fun being a little more direct or assertive or gross, as the case may be.
So, Uma pretty much summed up the haps here. Btw, I am using the paints you brought me and would almost say I'm sort-of addicted, like how i am to crosswords. such activities really take you away. oh and i got four responses for pro-bono guitar lessons, so hopefully that'll start this week. we'll see how long each diversion lasts! If there was an Olympic sport for mediocrity in as many disciplines/sports/languages/subjects as possible, I would proudly bring home the Gold.
after uma left and the hospital gave me the green light, i flew down to st martin for 5 days. 9/28-10/3. i guess now it's been my sixth or so time on the island, but it never seemed so beautiful. there's something in my body that is crying out for nature, clean breezes, natural smells and sounds. my visit there was like medicine. sigh, just writing this makes me want to go back tomorrow. i used a non-digital camera, so today i get that old-fashioned fun feeling of picking up my photos! so, i'll post more soon.
unfortunately, that trip pretty much left me too exhausted to jump on another plane two days later and I missed one of my best friend's wedding. we tried to do some webcam thing so i could at least see it while it was happening but what bride should be fiddling with her laptop on her wedding day. anyway, i am so sad that i wasn't there, but I am so happy for them. Miss you Sandy-san!
the unexpected silver lining of the canceled trip to Madison was that I was home alone. Yeah, just that. I hadn't realized that I have not been alone for more than a stretch of hours since February. and you know what, it felt good. thankfully, i had some energy, so i just ate and slept and worked* whenever I felt like it. I went to a party and saw tons of familiar Fletcher faces and had a blast. I am so grateful for the Fletcher community, which has remembered me and treats me like one of their own. I just want to know who's hosting the next party and how long I can go on being, you know, "that guy" who doesn't actually go to your school but is at all the parties.
Ok, this is too long and it's too late. G'night!
posted by Erica at 2:35 AM