I'm at work and all is well. I cranked out a couple of promos for the radio station and everyone at work was abuzz with the coming Christmas holiday.
I drop to the floor of my office with a sudden, severe pain in my side. I feel like I'm going to be sick so I make my way down the hall to the bathroom. I'm suddenly salivating like crazy and I'm taken back 6-1/2 years when I experienced the amusement park funhouse that is kidney stones. But the last time around, the pain didn't hit me so suddenly and I wonder if perhaps my appendix just exploded.
I don't get sick so I make my way back to my office. Lisa is on the air and I can see by the red light on my phone that Fred is on the line with someone else. I don't know John's phone extension, so I send him this cryptic email:
can you drive me to the ER?
I consider explaining how much pain I'm in and that it's not some reference to an inside joke we may have shared, but instead hit "Send" and fall back onto the floor, the pain in my stomach making the simple task of standing almost unbearable.
A short time later John is at my office door and in a flash we're in a station vehicle on our way to the emergency room. I explain the pain to John, that it feels like someone is shoving their fingers into my side as hard as they can, and then just leaving them there. John tells me it's OK if I cry. I tell him I'm just confused, as I don't know what the heck is going on. In a weird contrast to my salivating fit in the bathroom just a couple of minutes ago, my mouth has gone completely dry and parched.
We arrive at the ER and I'm trying to be patient with the old lady taking my information. She's obviously hard of hearing and as I repeat my information time and time again, leaning against the desk with my hand at my side, trying to stay on my feet, and muttering my phone number for the third time through clenched teeth, I try to restrain myself from reaching across the desk and snapping her clipboard in half.
I'm taken into a small room where a guy takes my vitals. I give him a brief rundown and then I am returned to the waiting room to wait to be called again. I see a sign that instructs patients not to eat or drink anything which only reminds me that I still have some major cottonmouth going on. John calls Sarah and sends her a text message to let her know I am on an adventure.
I am called again and the nurse asks me if it's OK if we walk back to the examination room. I say "sure" and regret it after walking what feels like 3-1/2 miles through a labyrinthine maze of corridors. I am tempted to just lay down on the ground and ask John to take me by the arm and drag me the rest of the way.
I've been given an IV for the pain and the pain is subsiding. This is definitely much better. John and I exchange small talk and I make stupid jokes with him and the nurses because I use humor as a defense mechanism. If I can make people laugh, then maybe I'm not really dying.
A nurse takes me in for a CAT scan and as I am rolled out of the room I tell John if anything happens to me, he can have my Weird Al albums. I go through the scanner routine and as the door opens a nurse re-enters the room to take me back. I'm not sure if it's just the painkiller or not, but I'm pretty sure the woman who brought me here had blonde hair, and this nurse is a brunette. "You are a different person than the one who brought me here, right?" She laughs and assures me she is, and I'm not hallucinating. Awesome.
A woman comes in to take my insurance information. She asks me my name, social security number, and my insurance info. Then she asks me where I go to church. Wait, Am I going to die?! immediately jumps into my head but I don't say it out loud.
John and I talk about everything and anything that pops into my head.
The doctor comes in and tells me I have two kidney stones. One currently working its way from my kidney to my bladder - which accounts for the pain I felt - and one that is hanging back in my kidney and waiting for an inopportune moment to pass. He tells me he is going to give me two prescriptions: One is for the pain, and one is to help make the stone still in my kidney pass faster. He warns me to take that medicine at night, as people who take it have a tendency to pass out.
The first thing that pops into my head is that I want to take it and have Sarah video tape me. Then I want to run down the hall and see how many steps I can take before I face plant. I mean, why not? How many times do you get the chance to see yourself pass out?
The doctor tells me I can go and as the nurse removes my IV, John and I ask her about the weird patched hole in the wall.
John brings me back to work to get my coat and belongings (don't wanna leave my iPod here!*) and refuses to let me get back to work and record the afternoon newscast to air later that day. Instead he takes me home...but first a stop at Walgreen's to get my prescriptions filled.
A fairly uneventful trip to the drugstore, except for the fact we saw a dude who sort of had Larry David hair and was wearing open-toed high-heeled sandals in winter in Pennsylvania. And oh yes, his toenails were painted blue.
Home. On the couch. Popped in a classic Christmas special and fell asleep with visions of the Burgermeister Meisterburger dancing in my head.
Fast-forward a bit...
We arrive at our friend's house for a get-together. I'm feeling better. I haven't needed to take any of the pain medication and everything seems stable. I unplug my iPod from the car radio, pop it into the center console, close it, and we head inside for an evening of fun.
My stomach starts to feel sore again, so I take one of my painkillers.
We are leaving the party and I have Sarah drive home, as the pain medication has started to hit. My eyelids are heavy, my eyes a bit watery, and I collapse into the passenger seat and am pretty much useless the entire ride home.
We get home and as Sarah supports me as we make our way into the condo, my pain-medicated brain forgets that I have done a very un-Edlike thing: I left my iPod in the center console in the car.
I take the before-bed-only medicine and lay down. After about 20 minutes, I whisper to Sarah, "I can feel it hitting me."
I awake and feel OK. A slight stomach pang, but not 100% sure it's not just because I'm hungry.
We go downstairs to our car and find the passenger-side window smashed in. Ours is this only car that got hit, which confuses me, as nothing of value was in sight. The center console is opened, as is the glove compartment, and my iPod is gone. Nothing else was taken, but there wasn't much else to take. At least they left the radio. And the car.
I drive us to work, and can't stop asking myself why. Why us? In a parking lot full of cars, many of them much nicer than ours, why us?
And that's what's been going on these last 24 hours. I spent some time this morning trying to get someone on the phone who's open on Christmas Eve to fix our car, but no such luck.
But hey...let's focus on the positive:
- It was only kidney stones.
- Its just an iPod and a window. They didn't take the car.
- We aren't traveling anywhere for Christmas, so it's not like we have an 8-hour car ride with the cold wind whipping around us
- I was reminded once again what amazing friends we have. John, who took me to the hospital and stayed with me...Fred, who called a friend and got me in touch with someone who can fix the window on Monday...and Stray, who had some of that car window plastic wrap and went back to his house to get it for us.
With all of this hullabaloo going on around me, the fact still remains: It's Christmas. No matter what the circumstances, it doesn't change the fact that once upon a time, something really special happened in a manger. A shattered window shouldn't be big enough to shatter my faith. A stolen iPod shouldn't change the song in my heart.
For a little while this morning, I let my circumstances dictate my mood. Fortunately, those circumstances didn't come to stay. They came to pass. If there's something burdening you this holiday season, that will pass, too. It doesn't always feel like it will when you're in the middle of it, I know. But this too shall pass.
Merry Christmas, everyone.