Finding Love and Hate

I’m staring at a stain on the ceiling, trying to remember why I am here. Ahead of me, a parade of stretchers line the hallway. A nurse is talking to the EMT that brought me, and when she looks at my chart, I can see she is worried. I try to sit up. I want to prove her wrong. I promptly pass out for my effort. I hate you hospital.

I wake and take inventory. Where did my shoes go ? I can’t find my jacket. White coats pass in a blur, and a war of lights and pings take the last of my courage hostage. There is a tube taped to my wrist, and wires snake from my chest to heaving machines. I can only think of how scared my son would be if he saw me. I hate you EKG.

I remember how brave he was when he did visit. He visited me every day. He asked me once to play Kung Fu with him, and when he saw that I couldn’t, he quickly changed the subject and asked me what all the machines did so I wouldn’t feel bad. I cried all night when he left. I love you Ozzy.

My wife took careful notes every time the doctor spoke, and she would gently point out to me if his words revealed promise, and quietly keep to herself when they didn’t. When I would wake in the night past visiting hours, she would answer my texts with steady hands. It was months after when I realized she must have been waiting by her phone in the early morning just in case I needed her. I love you Yolanda.

The brittle ties to absent friends wound tighter. A swelling inbox, pregnant with the sweet awkwardness of helpless help. Family, friends, strangers. I never felt more connected, although clearly I had always been. I love you all.

On the kitchen counter, a box of pills nestles between the kettle and a bowl of single-serve green tea packets. Another marker of my life after. Recovery is not as fast as I would like. I can’t do everything I used to, but I can do things I hadn’t before. I choose my family over work, I talk to my friends more, I crossed off the list of home improvement projects — by doing them myself, and not hiring someone else to do them. And I finally spun up minikube on my Mac and have a one machine cluster running. I love you K8S.

Oscar and I watch DanTDM play video games on YouTube (yep, that’s a thing), and we even dabble in a bit of Star Wars Battlefront on Xbox (I still like Doom better). But more importantly, we had that game of Kung Fu. He’ll be ready to walk the world in no time. Someday, I think I will too.

….And, by the way, I love you too doctors. Thank you.