I went out to dinner last night with my son and boyfriend–it was moving along like any ordinary meal…I was finding the necessary energy (and acting skills) to pretend like I cared about 4th grade politics while we enjoyed a routine dinner at a nice family restaurant.
Near the end of the meal, as what often happens in a restaurant I had the go to the bathroom. Excited for the dessert (my favorite course :), I hurried to the bathroom so I could return to my seat by the time it was ready.
I was going about my business, then all of a sudden I got hit with severe stomach pain…in fact, it was so severe, I could barely breathe.
Having gone through episodes of severe pain a number of times in my past, I instinctively started my internal checklist–a ‘holy holy shit what the f*** is going’ that I go though every time something like this happens to me.
Luckily (??), it ended up being diarrhea (so severe I had to flush the toilet three times before I was finished…too bad I’m not doing a colonoscopy tomorrow),
but when the pain was the most severe,
I started having a series of flashes of my life…”am I really going to die in this chain restaurant bathroom” on what was an otherwise a very unremarkable day?
And of course, I didn’t die, but as I come back from that severity of pain, I am humbly reminded of the frailty of life…that while I have long accepted I am no longer superwoman,
and I also need to accept that any day that I can get out of bed, to do anything, is really a good day.
When I returned to my table, after a 30 minute absence, my dessert had long melted and I was greeted with a “we have go leave now because I’m going go get a ticket on my car” greeting.
This is life in a nutshell and a great example where someone like me doesn’t fit in–being concerned about a ticket on a car.
I know he didn’t mean to be cold (not realizing the extent of the pain I had just endured),
but that moment captures the degree of difficulty it is for me to be able to interact with people in the world–most interactions involve setting times and organizing where to go,
caring about the details of life,
but if you don’t know how you’re going to feel on my given day, then making plans…we just can’t.
(My personal pet peeve is when doctors get angry when you miss appointments…paying for the missed appointment, I understand because otherwise it’s lost revenue for them, but being annoyed by it? Sick people can’t play by the same rules as healthy people. Doctors should understand that better than anyone.)
So yes, tell your loved ones you love them, and yes, clean out your filthy closet because you don’t want to leave it behind for a loved one to find.
And yes, treasure the moment. You just never know how many more functioning ones you have left.