I threw out my last TTAAL post with the full intention of giving you the answer post on Wednesday of last week. That was the plan. You could be saying, “Oh, Eileen. What’s the big deal? Just put up the answer post! It’s not like it’s brain surgery!” Except when it is. Or it was. Brain surgery. Not for me -for my friend. Emergency brain surgery. It all began last Wednesday with a six word text from my friend’s wife (who is also my friend, too. Duh.): “In hospital. Possible stroke. Please pray.” WHAT?!?!?! Of course, this absolutely, totally, utterly FREAKED ME OUT. I texted the LOML. He immediately left work to be with the boys so I could get to the hospital.
I’ll cut to the chase and return to the story later because I want you to know my friend had surgery Friday, is out of the ICU, but as of this post has not been released to go home. He’s not out of the woods yet. (What does that dumb phrase even mean? Are the woods really that bad? Don’t we seek refuge there when we camp? Aren’t some forests protected, sacred, and proclaimed National? Anyway, when I’m anxious I ramble, bear with me.) He still has headaches which is concerning the doctor. Headaches=no release=I’m worried sick. It’s just what I do; it helps me feel like I can control things. (I know, I know. I’ve had therapy. Be quiet. And when I get nervous I get sarcastic, sassy, and make jokes. You should have seen me in labor.)
Obviously, Wednesday night was not spent pecking at this keyboard because I was too busy witnessing my friend being airlifted by helicopter to the nearest hospital that has one of the best brain surgeons in the nation. I’ve been a little busy. Kind of gave me some perspective on things. (Oh, ya think?) It made me take a long look at where I am. When did I suddenly become the “grown up”? How did I get here? Did I miss a memo? Last time I checked, I was gathering up cans to go down to the recycling center so my roommate and I could go buy some cheap pasta and sauce for dinner in college. How did I end up at my friend’s side witnessing his signature on the DNR form before his surgery? I MUST HAVE MISSED A TURN SOMEWHERE BECAUSE THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT A ROAD I TOOK ON PURPOSE!
What if the person in that hospital bed was the LOML? Do we have things in order? Nope. Not even close. Am I prepared in case of an emergency? Again. No. Correction: NOOOOOOOOOOO. But I’m going to be. That’s what I need to do. For my family and for anyone who may have to dig in with us if the you-know-what hits the fan. (Again, another dumb phrase, made even dumber because I try not to swear on this blog. FYI -I swear in real life, in front of certain people, and if the timing’s right. Anyway, remember, I ramble….) We don’t have any family that live near us, so if an emergency happens it’s our friends who will be getting the 3:00AM phone call or the six word text, as in this case. None of my friends have my family’s phone numbers. My family doesn’t have the numbers of my closest friends. That’s the first thing I’m going to establish: an emergency phone list for my friends and family. That’s a small task I can accomplish in an afternoon. A step closer to feeling prepared.
That’s small stuff preparedness. What about “big picture” prepared? This kind of experience always makes me wonder if I’ve told my children I love them enough. If I’ve told the LOML enough. If I’ve told my Mom, my sister, my in-laws, my nieces and nephews, my friends enough. Have I forgiven myself and others enough? Have I been too petty? Have I yelled at my children too much? Have I taught them enough? (For sure, I’ve taught them their mother can yell.) All these thoughts exhaust me and also exhillarate me to give more, be more, try more because this is all I get and, selfishly, I want it ALL!
So, yes, it was brain surgery. Surgery to fix a condition called Dural Arterio Venous which is affecting the fistula area of his brain (the tissue between the brain and skull). Good news is: my friend is still here. He’s one of the toughest, and also kindest, men you could meet. He’ll come home. (Because I said so. Don’t mess with me.)
I believe we get experiences in life and we can ignore them or learn from them (or throw a party for them). Here’s what I proclaim: I get it. I hear You. The LOML lost his Grandmother just before Thanksgiving. My friend lost his brother just after Christmas. Another friend came way too close to something unimaginable. Life is precious. Care for people, not for things. Kindness counts. Play nice. LOVE.
And the TTAAL Answer post IS coming at you soon. I promise.