Monday, January 08, 2007

...And Presents Under The Tree....

As you can tell, this is way past-posted.

Praise to the diety of your choice, but somehow I made it through a most difficult holiday season. I don't recall one quite so rough as this in several years. And the blame can be squarely laid at my feet. Or spine. Or the odd internal organ.

As I've mentioned before, I managed to somehow managed to mangle my spine on Thanksgiving Day, causing me no end of problems, even keeping me out of work and the Dugout for a day or two. Imagine! With the help of my good doctor, some excellent physical therapists and a couple of prescriptions I've grown a bit fond of, I was able to continue spending overly excessive hours at work, attempting to get my holiday shopping done, attend the bevy of work related lunches, dinners and sundry other functions, all the while enjoying the expressions on people's faces when I told them what I'd done to myself. That perverse pleasure was to be short-lived.

I spent the pre-Christmas weeks installing a project on 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue, right in the heart of New York holiday insanity. You could not walk down the street without being mowed down by groups of tourists walking five abreast. Bringing my trucks in was nigh unto impossible. The stress level was astronomical. To top it off, I'd not done much shopping, and the holidays were bearing down on me. I was feeling run down, but put on a brave face and did what I thought I had to do.

I was surrounded by no end of Scrooges, each expounding their own Bah! Humbug! theories on why they hate the holidays. Granted, there are myriad reasons. I know, it's a false construct, created by big business to force poor schlubs into debt, and it really doesn't mean anything. Right? Never the less, Tim and I have always enjoyed this time of year. I like planning things and December is nothing but plans. Our schedule was completely booked for every moment of every weekend, way back around my birthday. Lots to do, lots to do.

So, then, what was this random stabbing pain I'd have in my back? Was it related to my disc injury? Perhaps the physical therapy? Every now and then I would feel what felt like a sword passing completely through me, under my rib cage. I soldiered on, thinking I was perhaps favoring my injured side and had thrown my back out in doing so.

I had stopped going to the gym for the duration, and there were no end of client dinners and lunches, as well as the usual Christmas crap that fills most offices around this time. I must admit, I did partake a bit too much.

The Friday prior to Christmas, I noticed that I was having trouble bending forward without pain. I still attributed this to my back. Tim and I went about our business the next couple of days, preparing for our holiday feast. We spent a pleasant hour and a half on line at Ottomanelli's Butcher Shop on Bleecker Street, waiting to pick up our roast beast. Double decker tour buses passed every three minutes, and the guides would ask us what we were doing, as if this might be some new fabulous Greenwich Village boite with a velvet rope and misleading signage. We bought cheeses, olives, salmon, pate, rillettes; all the things that make a festive spread. By Sunday, I thought I might be having a heart attack. The pain had settled into my mid section, and was severe at times. I knew my heart was not located there, nor was I having any of the tell-tale signs. I was resolute in my idea of not spoiling our holiday, as I had on Thanksgiving.

The day itself arrived, and I was in flat out agony, yet we had a blast exchanging gifts. In the pic above, Tim's gifts are on the left and mine are on the right. You can also discern this by the Catholic School stocking that says Timmy, and the other stocking that features a bear rolling around under a tree. It looks like he has rug burn, too.

Tim listens to me blather on all year long, somehow remembers, and then gets me the gifts that I really want. As you can see, I got tons of music and books and DVDs, a great shirt, some beautiful antiques and an excellent bottle of cognac. I had a leather jacket custom made for him, and bought him a few trinkets to amuse him.

We took a walk and set about making dinner. I had prepared the standing rib roast a la Anne Willan, glazed with English mustard, and Tim made Yorkshire pudding. I was unable to baste the roast because I could not bend the upper half of my torso. Dinner was marvelous, however, and we enjoyed, as always, the soothing company of our dear friend M. We had a bit of dessert and port and collapsed into bed, exhausted.

I woke up feeling better the next day, and thought the worst had passed. Wrong. I went home on Tuesday, heading back to work Wednesday morning. My receptionist took one look at me and said I looked awful. I felt that way, as well, thank you. In a mere half hour, I was back to the same place I was in Monday. I called my doctor, who called a few specialists. Each and every one of them was on vacation. This was clearly not a good week to be sick. He asked me to come to his office. When I arrived, he took one look at me and sent me to the emergency room at Beth Israel, where I spent the next TEN hours. That's a horror story for another time, but I did learn that the gall stones I've had for some years had flared up, and guess what? My gall bladder would have to come out.

Well, the operation is scheduled for Valentine's Day, so that's another holiday I'm going to screw up. It's done laparoscopically, so I'll be home that night if all goes well. I'm planning on taking the next couple of days off, and Monday's a holiday.

Don't be surprised if you see me out and about on Sunday night.


Blogger farmboyz said...

Gall stones! Of course! I should have thought to suggest that as the culprit. I had my gall bladder removed on New Year's Eve in 1976. I had been having "attacks" similar to what you describe. I though they were back pains until finally I also ended up in the ER speaking with a doctor who asked me the right questions.
In those days, there was no such word as laproscopic, and I have a long (butch) scar to prove it. The good news is that I've never had any problems since then and can eat anything I want without incident. If you avoid fatty foods between now and Valentine's Day, you should be able to avoid any further attacks. (The hospital agreed to my request that they save and present me with the one large gall stone that was causing the problem but they tossed it out, probably into the same trash can that received my foreskin some years before that). I'll give you more info on this when next I see you at your station.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous scott said...

I love the Boxer cushion on the chair... Makes me think of the Boxers we had when I was growing up. *sigh*

7:35 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

As I was reading this, I was thinking gall stones. They're often mistaken for other problems; and are very painful. Thankfully it's manageable and quick - and relatively painless. Here's to a great 2007 with no more health problems!

11:44 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

I was actually thinking the same thing. I've had a few family memebers that had to have their gall bladder removed. They say that the surgery is so envasive now a days, unlike it was before.

I'm sorry that your past few holidays have been filled with so much pain. After Feb 14th, your holidays should be back to normal. Big hug.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Well, I'm glad they finally found the problem. The husband had a serious attack a couple of years ango and they got itout laproscopically in no time. I hope it goes as well for you!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I haven't been by your blog in a while and low, I come back to read and the first article is a doozie! Hope you are feeling better. Amidst all the pain (damn a whole month plus of it, on and off), sounds like you had a special Christmas. the best for 2007.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous rangergeek said...

I'd drink a glass of wine to your health, but since my gout flared up this weekend, it'll have to be an indomethacin and a glass of water.

6:49 PM  
Blogger seymour said...

Sending some healing light and love sweet man.

7:31 PM  
Blogger DC Herb said...

I'm sory to hear about your gall bladder but I know of several people who have had very smooth recoveries after laparoscopical surgery. In fact my sister had it done and three days later joined a family Christmas vacation in Orlando where we tromped through several theme parks for a week.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous damian said...

best wishes for you today, mark. see you sunday. -damian

7:42 PM  

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