Running to 2018. (Not.) Grounded.

It’s the morning weigh-in, the same weigh-in that takes place every morning during the prior 365 days, but there are differences. Major similarities and major differences. A few notables.

It’s New Year’s Day.

It’s early morning, and I’m in the bathroom.

For the pre-weigh-in ritual, I prepare. I sit on the toilet and drain every ounce of excess weight. Every ounce counts.  And then, I strip the body of all clothing. Socks. Undershirt. Undershorts. And, Smartwatch. Yes, I sleep with to measure sleep time, even though measuring the inverse, insomnia, would be a more useful and interesting data point for researchers.

While I’m sitting pondering life on the toilet, I admire the new scale sitting on the floor in front of me. A Xmas gift from the Kids. An electronic scale from Nokia, the “Body Cardio.” It has a smooth, gunmetal finish, and was manufactured by some craftsman (craftswoman?) in Espoo, Finland. You step on the scale and its gremlins beam your weight, heart rate, fat mass, muscle mass, water and bone mass, directly to your Health Mate smartphone app. A miracle, really, all of it.

I reach for the counter to raise myself ever so gently from the toilet, trying to avoid ripping the sutures. The eyes skitter frantically trying to avoid the midsection. But as hard as they try, they can’t: Unavoidable. From the waist down to the upper thigh, the skin is discolored, a dark, deep purple – Skin’s way of saying: “Listen Pal, while you were resting peacefully under anesthesia for this ‘routine’ surgery, I was getting chopped up.” And if that wasn’t enough, there was swelling, significant swelling around the incision and freakish skin discoloration of all of Man’s reproductive organs. And this swelling is not that which you find part of the normal, reproductive process. Routine surgery? Will this all work again? A nightmare, really.

The heat is turned down overnight, I’m standing on cold floor tile, I shiver. Can’t bear to look.

I look back up.  I take a deep breath, and deliberately take one step and then the other to stand on the cool metal scale. The eyes are panicked, doing everything possible to bypass the midsection carnage and focus on the digital readout.

The scale recognizes the weight, which triggers a digital read-out: “Happy New Year David.” The ‘Happy New Year’ is wrapped in beautiful white fireworks. Nice touch. I hope the Happy part commences soon. The scale mechanically proceeds through its sequence of weight (including day over day up/down change), my heart rate, BMI, muscle mass, water and bone mass. Then it offers up the previous day’s step count. And, shares today’s weather, the high and low temperature.  Miracle, all of it.

So, we can stop here. Breath deeply and say, ok, life goes on.

But there’s more. A wee bit more to this story.

I’m asking you to celebrate with me the rest of the story – as Lucille Clifton did in her poem titled “won’t you celebrate with me”:

I made it up
here on this bridge between
star shine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Outpatient surgery was on the morning of the 28th. It’s 6 am the next morning. I’m barefoot, sitting on the edge of the bed. Woozy. Get a grip. It’s the prior day’s anesthesia, pain meds, dehydration and a horrendous night’s sleep. I slow my pace. I ease myself down to the toilet, and commence the morning ritual framed up above. Naked, and shivering, I step on the scale avoiding eye contact with the heavily bandaged midsection. I watch the digital weight count climb from 193…193.5…194…194.3…and then…lights out.

Sometime later, I awaken.

I open my eyes to find myself lying on the floor, staring at the tile squares and their black and white geometric pattern. Never noticed the tile pattern. Nice. Nice, white, clean look.  I shift my head left. The white tile here is marred by a pool of blood. Syncope, loss of consciousness was the medical term used on the medical report. I yell out for help, several times.  From this point, I recall little but do recall this conversation in a hazy mist. Eric (son), was a volunteer for EMS: “Mom, the blood, it’s coagulated. He’s been here a while.”  The tile floor is ice cold, yet my body is covered in a cold sweat. Nausea has set in. “Cover me up, please.” I crawl to the toilet and lean my head in.

It’s 7 am in the Emergency Ward of Stamford Hospital. The IV drip is set up for rehydration. Soft sticky sponges are applied in various strategic points on the chest, with wire leads running to the heart rate monitor. A urine sample is offered, not so routine with the midsection still in early recovery. This is followed by a CAT scan in search for root cause. And finally in Hour 5, the Physician applies a local anesthetic, and drives three metal staples into the skull to stitch the gash. The snap of metal to bone. Snap. Pause. Snap. Pause. Snap.

“Sir, we didn’t find anything, but we’d like to keep you here overnight, for at least another 24 hours to keep you under evaluation to see if we can find anything irregular.”

I glance over at Susan and Eric, and then back to the physician.  “Thank you Doctor. But I’m going home.”

And there we are, walking through the Emergency Ward. Wife and Son propping up Dad as he limps out of the Emergency Ward, his head sutured up and his mid-section sutures healing. One large sutured and rapidly aging machine limping to the exit. Get me out of here.

Son runs to get the car. I step outside into a frigid sub 10º F temperature. I breathe in deeply, and then exhale, admiring the release of a long, long white stream of air. I look up, the sky is wondrous, the deepest blue of blues.  This moment. My Breath. My Life.

I gingerly slide into the back seat, my eyes well up.

“Home Son. Home.”


Notes:

Comments

  1. Whaaat?! 28th December they put you through all that? I am speechless David. Hope you are on the mend now. But I mean, really, WTF?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear David, I am sorry to hear this, how are you now, what happened to you? I hope and wish you are fine now. You made me worried. Be well, be well, Lots of Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my….. This is truly horrible – PLEASE get better quickly. I’m truly happy and glad that you have ‘at least’ a family, a wife and son – was worried about some of your posts where I thought that you were battling a private battle with your early starts of the day and your insomnia. So, you’re NOT alone but you’re definitely not a terribly healthy guy either….
    The ‘text’ itself is beautifully written, apart from all the drama 😉
    Now, look after yourself, I’m tempted to underline the light swearing by Michael….. but you know it already, don’t you!?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We live curious lives, David. It’s not all blue skies and green lights. But somehow we are a very resilient species, and stubborn as well. Sending good thoughts your way. Stay stubborn, but also heal properly. John

    Liked by 3 people

    • Smiling. You crisply captured it John. Love your thoughts here. Thank you for the the kind words and warm thoughts. I’m in rest and recovery mode this week….Happy New Year to you.

      Like

  5. Mary Ann Gessner says:

    Well, that woke me up! I hope that you are feeling better soon, David. If nothing else, this has awakened the “artist convalescent” in you. Your description of leaving the hospital and breathing life is perfect. Now get better and don’t put Susan and Eric through any more heart attacks! 😂

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i am so sorry you have gone through this, but so happy you are here to tell the tale and to see the frigid sun again, at home, with your family.all is a miracle, you are right

    Liked by 1 person

  7. freddiegeorgia says:

    That’s no way to bring in a new year! I hope you heal quickly and smoothly my friend. Perhaps it’s time to get a puppy. They can be pretty good at alerting others when a favorite human lays still on the floor…blood coagulating…then bringing joy to the healing process. Here’s to lots of good rest on your way to brighter days.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Geez, David…inhale the cold air and delight in that breath without the trauma, please?? Gratitude abounds for your wife and son – I am sure they were far more frightened than their calm demeanor would permit. And pal, do me a favor? Forego the weight inquiries for a bit and rest…ok?

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Frailty and strength all mingled together, wrestling realities and determination won.

    Wow. Prayers for restored health.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For a while I thought, well , it ‘ s just fiction, but no…….I hope you are feeling better now. 🙋

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Geesh, pal, had wondered why things were so quiet at Camp Kanigan…now I know. So sorry to hear that you had to go under the knife and then complications after. PLEASE take care of yourself and as Mimi said, give the scales a rest for the moment, ok? They’ll be there when you’re healed, and we’ve only got ONE of you. Streaming good juju your way….

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I know I haven’t been on here that often lately, but what the heck did I miss?? Here’s to a quick recovery, David, and a Happy New Year! ♡
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. How the hell did you manage to write that gorgeous piece while feeling so crappy, David? You never cease to amaze me. Hope you allow yourself the down time needed to recuperate. Holding you in my heart and sending warm healing energy your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, my. I had to scroll down to see if these were your words ? So sorry for all that, not the best way to end the year… or was it ? Wake up call like that happened to my husband, fainted in the garage around so much hardware but went unscathed. Made positive changes, pace slowed, health improved. Wishing the very same for you, DK. Blessings for having such great family support.

    And the best part of your post…”something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Smiling. Thanks so much Van. Yes, its time to tweak some unhealthy habits and slow the pace in areas that were akin to a luge sled down an icy track. And yes, I too loved the Lucille Clifton poem. Thanks Van.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Aw 😦 Whenever it’s not beautiful, life is HARD. Praying for you and yours. Glad you’re alright for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Be well! Not a great start to 2018 for you but better than not starting at all. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh-h Dear David! Those who care about you don’t care about your numerical data–we love the inner David (where all the true life comes from). How perfect is the Lucille Clifton poem…we all celebrate with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh, my friend. I hope you are finally on the mend after such terrors.
    There is nothing routine about surgery, no matter what the unlearned try to tell you. Every body is different and will respond in its own language and time.
    Will you let it do that?

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Hi Dave and happy new year. Did you have surgery? All ok I hope. Best wishes. ☹️ -Paty

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Peggy Farrell says:

    Dear Dave,
    Please take this time to relax and focus on healing. Please also consider changing some habits, especially finding ways to get more sleep. Take care, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. So sorry you went through all this. And no one suspected anything. You posted as usual and commented as usual.

    And I cannot begin to imagine what Susan and Eric went through seeing you on the bathroom floor like this.

    I wish you well.

    I hope you’re able to laugh with all the stitching. Layla asked me few days ago if I ever had stitches. Yes I did, when I gave birth to all three of them, and nope, it wasn’t a C-section.
    Then she immediately asked, “Mom, you are always reading poetry, why?”

    “To forget about the stitches honey. To forget being stitched while awake and aware and no anesthesia.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laughing. Love your Layla. No, I haven’t been able to belly laugh, or sneeze, or engage in coughing attack – probably more precautionary on my part than any real damage that could have been inflicted. And yes, Susan and Eric had quite a fright stepping into THIS…

      Thank you Sawsan.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Your scale scares me. It could go all HAL on you.
    Glad you are OK. I’ve taken 3 friends to the ER in 4 weeks.
    What they do there… miracle…all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dave, this made such painful reading. It was “ouch, ouch, ouch” all the way, because it was so well-described. When I first read it, I did not realise it was about you as I’ve been absent from blogging quite a lot and am not up to speed with everything. I’m so sorry that you’ve been through so much pain, but am so, so, so glad that you’ve survived the experience and, hopefully, that each day you will heal more and grow stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Well!!! I guess you’re happy it’s a new year! Let’s not go through that again. Be well, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. David,

    What a beautiful personal essay that resonates with all of us on what it means to be human. I appreciate your openheartedness to shared your vulnerability – it is where all healing begins. Be kind to yourself. Perhaps all those measures that your new scales tallies are not so important. I’m a fitness fanatic but still have an old school scale with a dial on the bottom and an arrow pointing to the numbers. If I need the boost I “calibrate” the dial without my reading glasses. Just a suggestion. 🙂 Oh and another suggestion – you should write your own stuff more!

    Health and patience to you

    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laughing. Elizabeth, I have one of those scales too, where you can modulate where “0” starts. After this incident, that scale feels safer! Appreciate your kind words and thoughts very much. Thank you and Happy New Year.

      Like

  26. What???!!! I need to read this all again when I get back home…first day of chemotherapy for Michael starting in just a bit. Obviously, I have missed a post or something. Right now, all I can think is “What???!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol. You didn’t miss a post. I haven’t been up to sharing the fuller story. But I’m resting now and in full recover. I wish all the best for Michael…Prayers are with him, you and family. Dave

      Liked by 1 person

      • I truly hope you are okay, David. Life is precious and more fragile than we think most of the time. Everything can change so quickly and without warning. We are living through that here with one day Michael commuting to Mountain View to his job as an architect with Google, and the next day unable to walk. He has not walked since October 1st of last year. Please take good care of yourself my friend and get well.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Oh, David. I join you in celebrating being alive. Breathing in and exhaling into the winter storm. What a horrible experience you had to endure, but judging from your (brilliant as usual) writing you are already on the mend. Just take it easy. R.E.S.T. and you will be all new again. I’m sending you hugs and an extra doze of patience.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Typical man – don’t tell anybody anything……. and – do it all yourself…!!!
    Leave the scales be, and rest, rest, rest; they’ll still be there when you’ve healed.
    Now you’re gonna have to create a post to explain the beginning of all this! You can’t leave us hangin’…
    But, seriously, David; ouch! Get better real quick. I’m sure it WILL all work again! If not, well; there’s always your fantastic writing…
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I think you should throw the scales away and like Mary Oliver, go outside every day instead and see the miracle in this moment! Recover soon Mr K, take deep breaths, love your body, take good care of you. 🌈☀️😉

    Liked by 2 people

  30. OMG!! Hoping you’re feeling stronger and better each day. Wow! So did not see this coming…of course not. You’re entitled to your private life. I, too, scrolled to the end initially to see if this was someone else’s essay. Alas, no. Embrace the Tincture of Time – all will be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. First, I’m glad you’re recovering and at home – please, stay well! I suppose we have 2 options, laugh or cry. I’m with Karen, ditch the bloody scales!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. What an ordeal! While reading I must have made a noise that sounded like pain. My assistant came to ask if I was alright – ‘not really’. Empathy for you was felt throughout my home.
    So glad to know you’re on the mend. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. kaystewart49 says:

    After the gorgeous blue sky, I kept wanting you to say “I’m planning on pitching the scale as soon as I get home”!
    This piece was riveting—so we’ll articulated, David.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww, thank you Kay. I appreciate the kind words and that you took the time to share. As to the scale, it was a gift from my kids…and anything from and related to my kids, can’t / won’t be tossed…Happy New Year.

      Like

  34. Was this a hernia operation? Thus the discoloration and swelling of genital area I’ve seen before with a bodywork client … (?) At any rate, good you got out of that place. Hospitals have their function, but they are not ‘healing’ places that I’ve witnessed. Sleep, heal, sleep, heal, sleep. Sleeping heals. But you know that 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Wow. I’m sorry I’m late reading this. I never would have thought anything was out of the ordinary since you never missed a day of blogging and commenting. Your description of wanting to get rid of every last ounce before you weigh yourself hits close to home; if I could take off my glasses when I weigh myself, I would. I also have a smart scale, and love having all that data available, as I’m sure you will. The fact that your scale is from your kids makes it even more special.
    Your story then took quite a dramatic shift; I’m sure it was quite scary, especially for your wife and son (nice that he had some EMS background). Impressive that you went from sitting on the edge of your bed to having an IV is one hour; I am always so impressed with our health care system. Glad to hear they didn’t find anything serious, maybe just a reaction to the previous day’s surgery. Also happy to hear that you were able to take time to recover, and I hope you are feeling better, and I wish you a happy, and healthier New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jim. I was smiling when you shared that you remove your glasses during weigh in. We are strange creatures! As to the scale, I love it. And yes, our health and technology, all a miracle. Thank you Jim. Happy New Year.

      Like

  36. Anonymous says:

    Geez, David. I hope you feel better. I had a knee replaced just before Christmas and understand a little of your experience. Be easy and get well!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. There’s no place like home. 🙂
    I can’t believe what you get up to when I take my eyes off you for a minute. Sorry I missed all the excitement. I will pray for your recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

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