Friday, July 22, 2011

The Long Haul

Today I saw Captain America, marking the end of the 2011 Geek Trifecta of Marvel movies that I have seen on opening day with my friend John, the others being Thor and X-Men: First Class.  I wish I could say that Cap was the best one, because I have always liked the character, but it was actually the one I enjoyed the least of the three.  The writing was pretty bland and it seemed really long at the beginning and rushed at the end.  But, on a different level, I enjoyed this movie-going experience the most out of the three.

The day we saw Thor, back in May, I was fresh out of the hospital and eager to get back to normal life.  John was picking me up at the train station and we would drive to the theater from there.  Thankfully, I was a few minutes early, because after exiting the train with an unbelievably scratchy throat, I went into the men's room and coughed my brains out, (sorry if this will be gross) spewing up gobs of brown liquid.  Now, this should have been cause for concern, of course, but since my doctors had told me to specifically be alarmed for coughing up blood and not chocolate milk, I figured it was part of the recovery process.  In fact, I was fine throughout the whole movie, got on the train, rode home, and had another couple coughing fits before going to bed.  Of course, I was back in the hospital a few days later with a very serious infection that the doctors now tell me should have pretty much killed me, or at the very least hindered me from going to the movies.

Fast forward to June, and opening day of X-Men: First Class.  Once again newly released from the hospital, this time a bit wiser.  Keep away from germs as much as possible and stay out of large crowds.  I am walking around with a chest tube that drains fluid from my lung, and I have a PICC line in my arm that I use to infuse myself with daily antibiotics.  Still, the plan for me and John is the same, so I risk my health because the movie looks really cool.  I have a couple different hand-sanitizers with me, and we end up seeing a very early showing, so the "large crowd" problem ceases to be a problem.  The movie definitely lives up to the promise, though.  It totally rocked.  However, riding the train home during rush hour, with a Red Sox game that evening, did not rock at all.  I was scared as hell being stuck on that germ hotel for all that time.  When I finally got off on my stop I ripped open my handy wipes and practically bathed in their alcohol-y goodness.  I was sure that my immuno-suppressed body had been infected with thousands of horrible things just from being inside the train all that time (Obviously, I did my level-best not to touch anything, but even pre-steroid Dursin did that.)  Remarkably, I was able to stave off any infection and stay out of the hospital.  And, of course, the movie was awesome, so everything was coming up Milhouse.  Still, that was the train ride from Hell.

Today, almost fully recovered,  months removed from my initial hospital stay back in March, was Captain America Day.  It's almost like I was celebrating my Independence Day, so it worked out that Thor wasn't opening today.  No more chest tube.  No more antibiotic infusions.  No coughing up chocolate milk.  I am still on steroids (although a much lower dose) and still carry hand-sanitizer (but only one tiny bottle), but I am not afraid of riding the train, and not nearly afraid as I should have been the previous two times, probably.  So that was this afternoon, and so far, no ill effects, other than the movie itself wasn't as awesome as the previous two.  Small price to pay, I guess.  Sometimes, it's the journey that counts most, and getting to this day means way more than the movie itself.

The next geek movie?  I probably won't even have to write about it, because hopefully by then, going to the movies won't be a journey at all.  And hopefully it will be as cool as X-Men.   I'm talking to you, Dark Knight Rises.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kobayashi Maru

Tomorrow (well, in a matter of hours, really), I am having my bronchoscopy-with-a-side-of-lung-plug procedure.  If that makes no sense, it means that a doctor is going to insert devices and things down my throat and seal the hole in my lung, which I was told is about 90% healed anyway.  I don't know exactly how this is done, but I know that I will be under a lot of anesthesia for it, will not not have to be cut open, and will probably be consuming vast amounts of pizza when it is over.  Or perhaps U-burger.
This should be the culmination of a long, healing process that started back in March.  Maybe in the grand scheme, March to July isn't that long, but living each day for these three months the way I have been (4 hospital stays, a lung wash, an iron infusion, infusing myself with daily antibiotics in my arm for a month, draining a chest tube, visiting nurses, etc.), it seems like an eternity.  But I feel like this is the climax.  Or at least it better be.  Obviously, there will still be steroids and other meds and another recovery period, but this really should be a turning point in this whole struggle, and I can finally begin looking forward, and liking what I'm seeing.  A normal life never looked so good.
A lot of people have said that I am handling all this well.  I'm never sure how to answer them.  It's obviously a compliment, but I also think that a lot of these people who say that didn't see me in the hospital, being grumpy at all the doctors.  Or maybe grumpiness is allowed under the circumstances.  I don't know.  I haven't had time to worry about how well I'm handling it, because I'm too busy actually handling it.  And I'll be honest; it sucked.  Sorry to be so brutally honest.  It was Hell, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone and if it built up a little character and made me realize that there are a lot of good people in the world, that's great, but I'd certainly trade it in for not having to go through it all again.  Kind of a no-win scenario.
So, as I reach this turning point, thanks again to everyone who kept me in their thoughts and prayers.  I certainly couldn't have handled it so well without that encouragement.  And if you're reading this and don't know if you're one of those people, it probably means you're near the top of the list because decent, unselfish people always do that.  That's what makes them who they are.  But as far as beating the Kobayashi Maru scenario, and the whole Captain Kirk, "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life" thing, I can only say this: I handled it by handling it.  I just did what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it.  Yeah, it wasn't fun, ever.  But the only way out was up.  So, up I went.
Oh, and I watched a lot of Netflix.  So, that's my other recommendation.