One miserably roughed up ghost, rising from the ashes once more

Sometimes you fool yourself. You believe that you are invincible. You know that bad things happen to good people. You know that they have even happened to you. But time and time again we are caught off guard reminded of the wisdom of Monty Python’s idiom: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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Copyright JM Schreiber Storm clouds over the Reservoir, Calgary, AB

If I had had more experience traveling I might not have made the mistakes that may very nearly have cost me my life this past week. I thought that by focusing my first visit to South Africa to longer stays in two areas, I would limit my travel time. But instead I ended up with long plane flights and interminable bus trips. Next time, and I definitely hope there is a next time  – *the hematologist looks at me askance* – I hope to take longer and fly between major centres once I get to South Africa. The buses have a certain charm and I definitely got to meet and talk to people in a way I might not have otherwise, but to top off my three week excursion with a three leg flight home with very short turnarounds was a major miscalculation  on my part. It sounded great. But I had no idea exactly how tight a three hour stop over is, especially if you have to clear customs. Longer stop overs would have helped. Baby asprins, compression stockings. Everyone has recommendations now.

Yet although I was tired and swollen upon my return, it would take a few weeks before my journey caught up with me. Last Sunday night, or rather, early Monday morning, two and half weeks after I returned home, all swelling and fatigue seemingly gone, I suffered a pulmonary embolism. Well actually, it was not clear what had happened at first. I have very little memory of that day or an evening event I had been to with friends. My 25 year-old son, a creative, troubled but wonderful soul, heard me moaning. Thomas came upstairs to find me disoriented. He called Emergency and started chest compressions.

The kid saved my life. In one of those odd ironies, or twists of fate, toward the end of my time away, Thomas had suffered a couple of acute panic attacks so severe that he twice was taken to the hospital. In the second situation he was referred on to a psychiatric nurse he liked and she suggested a 4 week outpatient program he had just started. Mind you my little detour has interrupted  his plans but they will contact him as soon as there is a good point for him to join back in. Me, I will be in the hospital for at least another week, but the more “functional” I am, the more I can spend time reading.

So good with the bad. Who knows? Maybe the two truly are bound more tightly than we realize.

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

22 thoughts on “One miserably roughed up ghost, rising from the ashes once more”

    1. We will know for sure whether there is an indication of any other cause before I leave the hospital and I will be followed. It is a long haul between where I live and S Africa. But I so loved the experience of being there. As you know, it is an amazing place to visit!

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    1. Thanks Jacqui. The magnitude of the event and the ease at which it could have been otherwise are just settling in. Lots of time to read though at the lightening pace of a page or two a day. Company takes priority though… I have awesome friends at home and around the world, more than I ever appreciated!

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  1. Good mixed with bad indeed – and you weren’t to know you were at risk of deep vein thrombosis or whatever from travelling. And your kid is good people, I wanted to hug him when I got his mail. Of course I want to hug you too, but at least we have some hug-memories to draw from. So now you’re emerging from your fugue state, I can say, you asshole, do not do that shit again, it’s way worse than the goddamn meatloaf incident and you know how serious that makes it. (that’s what they call Irish love and, well, you know my surname) AND you made my eyes leak, what kind of a dude does that to a butch dyke!? Thank fuck for the kid, thank fuck you’re coming right. Asshole.

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