Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for this year. I say that every year, usually in the cliche way most of us living First World lives do. But this year things are a little different.

This time around, the words resonate a little more. Actually a lot more.

On August 24, after a week of not feeling so hot and two days after driving my 19-year-old to Kenyon College in Ohio, which is 10 hours away, I went to the ER, figuring I’d come home that night with a prescription.

I walked out of the hospital 17 days later.

Turns out, I had a perforated colon. Just a slight fever, so everyone missed it. (At one point, I told a doctor I had been hiccuping for 72 hours, and it seems to me that should’ve been a clue, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk.) I didn’t know how serious things had gotten until after the operation and after a week in the ICU. (Between the trauma and meds, I pretty much slept through that first week after the surgery.) I was arguing with the surgeon about my recovery time. My wife asked the brilliant woman to “give us five minutes.” When we were alone, Lisa said, simply, “That woman saved your life Saturday night. You might want to trust her.”

Thanksgiving in Florida
“Saved your life” was an ice bucket to the face, the proverbial wake up call, one I have not forgotten. Earlier this week, my 16-year-old asked how the episode changed me. The answer was simple: priority rankings. I told her the only things I was thinking about in the ICU were Lisa, Delaney, Audrey, Keeley, and getting back to my book. For the first time anyone can remember, I wasn’t checking school emails. I missed teaching. But the longing wasn’t the same as the need I felt to spend time with those strong ladies and to finish the book I was working on.

From left: Keeley, Delaney, Audrey, Lisa, and John
So this year, as we gather at my in-laws’ house in Florida and are joined by my parents, I will be looking across the table at my family, thankful for my blessings, and continuing to rise before everyone else in the house to write –– and loving every minute of it. I've shared some photos of the week here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers who celebrate the holiday!


Sybil Johnson said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm glad you're doing well.

Moore Bowen said...

Lovely family. Love to you all.

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Happy Thanksgiving - sounds like you are a very lucky person :)

Rick Blechta said...

Glad to hear that your health is back to normal. Sometimes we're forced to look at our lives and what's really important and what we could lose in the blink of an eye. Glad you're still with us.

John R. Corrigan (D.A. Keeley) said...

Thanks to all.

ROWE said...

Tough times of others gives us a chance to pause and reflect upon our own lives. That too is powerful and positive. Thank you for that “gift” from your life and family. My thoughts are with you and them. A very nice and timely message. Continue the road to recovery. All the best from Liss and me—Waddy

Donis Casey said...

We're all so very glad you're alive!