There was this little period of time after my diagnosis where I was, like, "Well, I don't feel all that bad. Maybe this isn't such a big deal."
Then all the nice medical people did the procedures to make me better, which made me feel worse. If I'd ever wondered what I would look like after I got into a fight down on the docks, now I know. When I came out of anaesthesia for the first procedure, the recovery nurse asked, "How do you feel?" And I said, "Like I've been eaten by a wolf and shit out over a cliff." It was then they began to realize that if nothing else, my personality was intact.
My doctor was lovely, not only performing the surgery just as he was supposed to, but bringing me a pecan pie for Thanksgiving (he thoughtfully asked my husband what he thought I'd prefer).
Then I was stuck inpatient for five days, with a "Caution, Radioactive Materials" sign on my door. The doctor encouraged me to get out and walk a little. So a couple of times I walked up and down my hall. Maybe fifty yards total. I couldn't really see the point, not that there was much of anything else to do. Reading with one eye was still too uncomfortable, and the TV was positioned up too high to watch comfortably.
The next day, I was awake early, and bored. So I rounded the first corner of the triangle-shaped unit. There I saw a man coming out of a door with the caution markings like mine had. Wearing an eye patch with a lead shield just like I had. "Hey, teammate," I said. His name was Jim and he was going for a walk, too. So I walked with him.
Turns out the day before he had determined that eighteen laps of the unit was a mile. So he did that. Twice. Did I mention he was fifteen or so years older than me? So while he walked, I kept walking with him. He told me about Tommy, the other guy, at the third corner of the unit, who'd also had the surgery.I guess they separated us to avoid having too much radiation all in the same area.
Not that it did much good; we found each other, anyway. The doctor may have saved my life, but Jim and Tommy saved what was left of my sanity. Tommy's sweet wife Ann came by and introduced herself. She brought me coffee cake from Starbucks. The guys and I went for walks, menacing the unit with our radioactivity. Completely badass in our sweatpants and grippy hospital socks. I talked about forming a street gang, but there was really nobody to go up against except the Infectious Disease Posse. So we walked, and loitered in each others' doorways. When Jim's wife Sarah came up we posed for pictures.
We decided, when nobody won the Powerball while we were inpatient, that we would win the next one. I mean, could the morning shows ask for a more inspiring story? We decided we would have our spouses each go out and buy three tickets, and if any of us won, we would split it. Heck, even if we threw our doctor ten million or so for research, we'd still have plenty left over for diamond-encrusted eye patches and seeing-eye models. Not that we plan to need them, mind. But they can at least carry drinks to us in our beach chairs if we don't need them to lead us around.
Unfortunately, I forgot to tell my beloved to ask for the cash option if our ticket is the winner, So I guess we'll all have to survive for another thirty years.
Works for me.