For those of you not following my every move and tweet and and status update, those of you with actual lives of your own in which I have–at best–a cameo appearance, now is when I explain that I’ve been in and out of the hospital for two weeks now with multiple kidney stones exacerbated by what is apparently a life-threatening kidney infection. By “life-threatening” they mean “can turn into infected blood if we don’t figure out which antibiotic will actually combat this bastard.” I’ve already failed with one antibiotic, am allergic to penicillin and am now on a cocktail of two other antibiotics. It’s sort of complicated and I will never again gloss over stories about how there are superbugs that are challenging our medical system. There are times I feel like I’m back in the 1920s. It’s weird.
Anyway, last night I was lying on the couch in a grip of serious pain and thinking about how this is not the pool party lemonade summer I was anticipating. I got kind of pouty and pouted on Facebook and made people tell me they were praying for me. And then I started hearing from my friends who were in nursing homes because they’ve had spina bifida their whole life and my friends who are having cluster headaches and have had serious leg surgery and I realised that I need to stop with the whining because everybody has something and I need to just suck it up. And I made the list of good things–whenever I whine I have to make a list with 10 good things so that I don’t get lost in the pity party. There are never good snacks there.
I can read. That always tops my list. Even when I forget about having a list, the minute I draw up a new one the first one is always “I can read”. That is such a powerful blessing. It’s always been a fun way to pass the time, a good way to learn new things, a way to find worlds where I fit in when this one was fitting like an odd sock.
But now reading is saving my life. When the pain is too much, the sadness accompanying the pain is too much I can actually go to Walt Longmire’s Wyoming and become so involved in the goings on that I forget. I can go to Westeros and ride Dany’s dragon alongside her. It’s better than any medication, honestly. I can say that, having had everything from aspirin to zofran.
It’s a magic we take for granted, this reading thing. But it’s still a magic and it still saves lives.