So Joan's in the hospital. For those of you who missed the beginning of this saga, lemme catch you up. Joan had a tumor on her leg, and the docs thought it was a thing called a lipoma (a fatty tumor) but because it was growing so fast, there was a decent chance that it was a liposarcoma. Anything in the medical world that ends in "sarcoma" is usually Not Good, so they did the surgery pretty quickly. And the tumor turned out to be a lipoma--a nuisance, but essentially harmless. It was one big one with budding little ones, and that was a bit strange, but anyway, there was no "sarcoma". So that was good.
Then, about two and a half weeks after the surgery, the wound site--which was healing fine, though it was a bit swollen--started turning red and unhappy lookin'. Back to the doc we went. The doc took one look at it and said, "Okay, I'm admitting you to the hospital." The lack of "sarcoma" notwithstanding.
That was last Wednesday. Joan's been in the hospital ever since. That's--let me see here--six days in the hospital. I've been going to work, going to the hospital, then coming home and crashing into bed. Today I finally did the effing dishes and made up the beds with clean sheets. And now I'm sitting here writing this because my brain won't wind down.
Have you ever noticed that when it rains, it pours? The best possible example would be 2001. In a span of three months, the Twin Towers fell, a guy in my church choir died, Joan's mom died and Stuart Adamson died. I mean, I'm sure they all didn't plan it that way (except maybe Stuart) but I had just started to crawl out of a crippling depression and by that December I'd turned around and crawled right back into it. I wouldn't really be back to normal for another couple of years, during which I made such a mess of my life that when Joan made the first suggestion about moving to Texas I said, "Great, how long will it take you to pack?" instead of "Where? Isn't that near North Dakota someplace?"
And since the universe really listens to me when I tell it these things, let me just reiterate that I don't need my wife very sick in the hospital when I'm trying to a. keep my job and b. not go crazy. Okay? Okay? Hello? McFly?
That's the thing about being me. It's like I'm Oklahoma. Most of the time I'm fairly peaceful, running a casino in a small town in Durant County, but then suddenly the sky darkens and this tornado rips through everything and destroys jobs, friendships, mortgages, relationships. Tornadoes are entities unto themselves once they really get going, but they need supercell thunderstorms to set them off. In 2001, three people I cared about dropping dead in a matter of weeks was the supercell. And the Twin Towers thing didn't help. (By the way, I have no idea if there's actually a Durant County in Oklahoma. I just think there should be. The man got the railroad built, didn't he?)
In case this isn't obvious, things are just Not Going Well at the moment. Not going well at work, not going well at the house (though we got the first part of the major plumbing repair done, for less than we thought it was going to cost, and even managed to squeeze in a new water heater as part of the deal). Not going well here on the old laptop, with my writing group, with swimming and with being alive generally. I'm pretty sure I've already heard the tornado warning sirens kick on a couple of times, but then, maybe not. Maybe they were false alarms. Anyway, I feel like I'm sitting here in a weather tower, watching one hell of a big supercell start to rotate not all that far away. And wondering if there's anything I can do to keep it from sucking (pun intended).
But, as my doc keeps reminding me, everything's different now. I'm medicated, I'm meditated, I'm surrounded by good friends and I'm Doing All The Right Things (except for hitting the sugar, and I'm doing that pretty hard). I'm not drinking anymore, I'm not a member of a Lutheran church filled with easily-ruffled feathers and my options for getting into trouble are somewhat limited.
Plus, there was that moment on the freeway where I was hurtling toward the hospital after a ridiculously long day at work and getting more and more upset at the way things were going when suddenly it occurred to me that if I couldn't stay calm in this situation, of all situations, I did not need to be calling myself a Buddhist. And I like being a Buddhist. Even if you have to stay calm through some pretty hairy moments. Like tornadoes.
The thing about tornadoes is, you can't really predict them. You can say, "Oh, yeah, conditions are perfect out here," and then watch a supercell rotate all day and do jackshit nothing. Or you can think this is just a little spring shower and suddenly the alarms go off. So if you can't predict them, the best alternative is to duck into a well-built underground shelter while one goes by. Which is the equivalent of staying calm in a catastrophe. Yes, even in Durant County. If it exists.