The past few days have been, what I am told is, unseasonably sunny. I would like to try and take some credit to say it's because the sun follows me wherever I go. I haven't accepted the fact that I live somewhere that is grey for most of the winter, so I chose to believe otherwise and have yet to be disappointed. Truth be told I have not been outside enjoying it as one should when the sun is shining. I was feeling pretty down and not sure what to do about it. In the spirit of being honest with myself, I am trying to be more open with how I'm feeling as opposed to holding it together in front of everyone. Now, granted there are times and places for such discussions and I have asked for a bit of encouragement from some friends as of late (which is that prideful thing of asking for help...I've never been good at that). They have done their best to deliver what I asked for in the spirit of friendship and I am so grateful.
I still wasn't feeling quite right and there was someone I love and respect so much, whom I don't speak to often, but had been thinking of calling all week. I knew he would throw some heavy perspective my way, but perhaps I hadn't been ready to hear it until now. I waited until a decent hour, and when he answered it appeared I had woken him, but this was not the case. It's funny how circumstance can change your thought process in a split second. As it turns out he had had an emergency appendectomy on Monday that led to a poor urinary catheterization procedure and a tension pneumothorax (collapsed lung) (which one could speculate was due to carelessness or lack of medical experience) and these kept him in the hospital longer than should be necessary for a basic appendectomy.
This story did have some funny moments as he described waking up early from the anesthesia to find they had inserted a catheter. He could see blood in the area and asked why they thought a catheter was necessary for such a short procedure; to which they replied that they didn't want him to urinate during surgery.....so he concluded to them that they'd rather have blood than urine on their expensive hospital linens. I started to laugh and he begged me not to, as it would cause him to laugh and therefore a lot of pain. All I could say was, "dead kittens, dead kittens!" and that only made it worse.
Now, this particular friend has survived a spinal cord injury where he was never supposed to walk again; he has been the caretaker of a mother who has gone through two rounds of cervical cancer, complete with chemotherapy and radiation treatments and he has never once accepted or asked for my help. However, when I called him today, I heard the weakness in his voice that said how this was the one time he could have used the help I had always offered. Instead he took a cab by himself in total pain to the nearest (and least competent) emergency room and somehow got himself home a few days later. My heart immediately broke and I realized how self-indulgent I was being by stewing in my feelings of lonliness and insecurity. He gave me the perspective he always does, just without the use of words.
The one thing that never ceases to amaze me about the experiences he's had, is that he chooses to be wise and find the lesson of strength instead of self-pity. It is truly humbling. Each difficult situation only makes one stronger and more self-reliant. This time he was merely thankful that this hadn't happened two weeks before while working during a cave dive in Mexico. The final lesson for me came when he thanked me for the call because it let him know that he really wasn't alone. Funny how I originally called to selfishly seek out that exact sentiment. Irony, like karma, can be a bitch.