10 days, give or take.
10 days I was housebound, recovering from the flu. Except it wasn't the flu at all. It was a perforated appendix which landed me in the emergency room at Legacy Emanual. They took the infected fucker out, gave me some pain meds and a water bottle with a straw and sent me home. My nice, warm home in North Portland. A rental. Just the basics really. But nice. And warm. And home.
For 10 days I wrestled with a strong, but bound and held down, desire to produce. Write more! Construct more! Contribute more! Make my mark on Earth, gently, but noticeably. But my body wouldn't let me do much more than sit, uncomfortably, and feel the limitations of my own mending.
I cried a lot, no longer from the vicious pain that had attacked my abdomen so unexpectedly and so violently. I just cried. I felt useless. So much pain in the world and I was stuck at home, my nice, warm home, unable to even make a cup of tea. Unable to even enjoy the taste of the tea when it was made for me for the metallic taste that still pasted my tongue. I cried from feeling selfish. I cried from feeling helpless. I cried because I missed my kids. I cried when kindness came to my doorstep with a copy of Humans of New York or a bag of food. I cried because I knew that I would heal, but others won't.
10 days later, give or take, and I'm back on my feet with few limitations. But I'm holding inside me a pain that I don't want to release, a pain that has strung out like a connective tissue, an empathetic wire for friends, family and folks I see around me who are hurting. They weren't taken down for 10 days and returned to their nice, warm, home. They hurt constantly, with no end in sight, save a final exhale. I've been crying for them.
If you have any extra you can give this holiday season, please consider a financial donation to 2 dear friends of mine. Alethea Phillips, who bravely fought metastatic melanoma and endured unfathomable pain before finally breathing her last on October 30, 2014. Her husband, Michael, is enduring medical issues of his own while still reeling from the loss of Alethea. You can help by donating here. And my friend, Daniel, who I sadly see too little of, was badly injured in a motorcycle accident and has suffered extensive nerve damage in his right arm. You can help Dan by donating here.