Chapter 19 – Don Quixote

Chapter 19 – Don Quixote

June 11

Don Quixote … poor guy, I know just how he must have felt. All that work tilting at windmills …. and all that effort wasted saving the world from the bad guys …. PFFFT … gone!!!

You do everything right. Stand up to the odds and fight the good fight. Gird your loins and in general be the hero against insuperable odds! And before you know it, life has hit you with an evil, insidious, fetid slime ball and told you to run with it.

Excuse me! Nowhere was it mentioned I would have to deal with the inhuman remains of an evil infection.

This is not fair!

You play by the rules and act the good sport and some sly cheating road runner type calls Evil Acme Anvil Co … maybe because they are sick of your face … and before you know it …KABOOM there you are … flattened and making kissy face with Old Mother Earth.

Blech … eww …gross …retch!

Play by the rules … This is where you learn there are no rules when dealing with cancer and its sick evil juju. Which is all to say I am coming off of a six-day hospitalization for an acute kidney infection that … in its nastiness was worse than all that has preceded it because … well, evil and insidious and slimy and painful are all in the soup that describes it.

I wish I could tell you I fought the good fight. But I have to tell you Moana and I tied ourselves to the railroad tracks and waited for help. Not much else to do unless you were wearing a white lab coat.

And … Watching blood cultures grow must be a bit like watching paint dry, but slower. However, they finally took a pic of the evil invader so that all the white coats agreed I would get better. And as it turns out I have gotten better and am home once again.

Sort of lost a week of progress, but now I have an excuse to rest up and eat.

But, Moana is sick of being sick,

and me … I am going shopping for a new suit of Anvil Armor … wonder how you access that on Amazon.

And the horse really could use a vacation.


This was a particularly dire time. My sister Nancy had come to help me celebrate my birthday, but I developed a fever the evening she arrived. As the night progressed, it became clear that something was dreadfully wrong. I started to shake and feel chilled and was shivering. It turns out that what I called shivering was actually more correctly referred to as rigors. They are really scary. It feels as if your teeth are going to crack off because you are shaking so hard.

Indeed, my body was trying to warm up and couldn’t. We had called the surgeon’s office earlier, but as things got worse we called again. Once he realized I was more than just chilled, he arranged for me to be admitted to the hospital ASAP.

So, once again, Nancy drove me to Hartford Hospital at some ungodly hour and saw me into the system, into a hospital room, and a Johnny gown. She then had to leave as I was wheeled away for test after test. I was hooked up to IV lines and punctured and prodded and made to feel more miserable. Nancy came in the next day to wish me Happy Birthday and then left to go home.

But I must admit that most of the first few days are a blank for me.

Moana really took a hit. I didn’t even feel like moaning.

It was indeed a serious kidney infection, but before they could treat it they needed to identify it. So, I spent the first 3 or 4 days being inert … lying there with no ability to function while they all tried to figure out who the guilty party really was. Crafty little bugger bug! To say it was scary is an understatement … the news at the time was filled with reports of new superbugs that were untreatable. Man, oh man, it was really off-putting to read the morning paper about some new strain of flesh-eating super bugs, and next day be in the hospital where they didn’t know how to treat whatever ailed you!


As it turns out I was not hosting any creatures from outer space … they finally nailed the critter, and I was given whatever it was that worked.

Thank you very much … can I go home yet?

Well, no … I needed to stay another day while they stabilized my system. I had not been able to eat much, and as a result was .. sort of anemic and … sort of short on vitamins and minerals … and sort of out of sorts. So, they kept me in one more day and filled me with whatever was missing, then they finally sent me home.

I was a wreck.

In re-reading this update, I am aware of how spacey I sounded. It was clear I was not my normal self. I was barely coherent! I am not sure but what many readers couldn’t figure out what the hell I was talking about. I know what I was talking about, and I could barely figure it out!

In fact, I was stupefied by the whole experience. I had never been so terrified.

While battling cancer … going through chemo and surgery … at no time did I feel threatened. I mean sure, I could have died from the surgery, they had told me that. Sure, at times after the surgery I was miserable and wanted to die. And I am the first to tell you that chemo is a bear of an ordeal to go through, and of course, I understood that cancer can kill you …

But I was never really sick. I was going through treatment … I wasn’t what I would call ill.

But this go-round with this kidney infection … this was the real deal! This time I for sure understood I was sick. This was bad health in a big way. I really knew I could die, and it was terrifying. For the first time, it was very immediate and in your face … sink or swim … not a lot of options here.

To be able to go home and continue my recovery was great, but I no longer trusted I would get well. I have come to realize that the experience was a watershed of sorts. Coming face to face with mortality really put a damper on my hopes for the future. So, although I was able to sit up and take nourishment, to walk and talk and get back on the recovery wagon train … from that point on it was different. I didn’t trust it wouldn’t happen again.

I recognize now that life had become risky … a force that could bring both good and bad … deal you in or out …give you gold or give you dross … it is indeed a crap shoot. I had come to respect its power … to give it more leeway.

These days I treat Mother Nature with great care. I really wouldn’t want to piss her off again.

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