|Self Pity - ...the grave you're digging for yourself.|
Unfortunately, the health issue cleared up before the gastroenterologist could get it properly diagnosed. Of course, I was overjoyed that it was finally gone after almost 7 weeks, but the thought that it would ever happen to me again left me as twitchy as a canary with a cat staring into its cage. The doctor calmed me down with a plan to have a "miracle" drug with me anytime I planned to go farther that the city limits.
Slowly I began to travel again - always with my miracle medicine in tow. Never a hint of a recurrence. But as Sam and I prepared and packed for our 2nd go at our dream trip overseas, the symptoms started up again, albeit milder at first. "Not to worry," I thought. Went to the doctor immediately, had several tests done, and was directed to begin the medicine I had in reserve as well as another med she prescribed. There seemed to be a stronger connection between two of the symptoms this time. After some internet reading, I also added a homeopathic treatment. I was confident that I was improving quickly and that with plenty of refills on hand, it was a sure bet that we could leave on schedule.
Well, we did, but it all came to a screeching halt in the international terminal of a large east coast airport. The horrible condition from last year was back in spades. I just didn't want to believe it. This couldn't be happening again a whole year later. Sam took charge as I deteriorated physically. As the illness gained momentum, I was more than willing to sit back and let Sam get us back home. There were tears for sure, and Sam took care that I was on board with his decision. He was the pilot. My heart was broken, but I knew he was right.
We arrived home almost exactly 24 hours after we left. The luggage was lost in 2 different cities and did not make an appearance for another 2 days. In some ways I was more afraid of falling into depression than of the illness itself. That mental state is a downward spiral that is difficult for me to stop. As Sam gathered me into a big bear hug of comfort, I whispered that I was scared that it would happen to me again, like it did the previous year.
He whispered back,
"Don't be afraid. I will not let it happen this time."
Even so, the tears started a dozen times that night. The trip I had dreamed of for so long was not to be again . By the next morning I was barely talking at all. A hot shower felt good, but did nothing to improve my mood. Knew I should try to eat something, but I had no appetite. I forced myself to put an English muffin in the toaster and just stood there, head down and waiting.
Sam came up and took me gently by the shoulders so he could look at my face. "How is your stomach this morning?" he asked. I told him that for now it seemed to have stalled for a bit.
"But you are crying again, aren't you?" I nodded my head even as the tears came back to my eyes.
"The moping isn't going to happen this time, Ella. I won't let it," he said quietly and took my hand. He led me to the bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed, and pulled me across one knee. There was no anger, and Sam was very matter-of-fact as he lifted my nightgown. He spanked with his hand, but it was not soft and sweet. It was not meant to comfort me. Each spank was a way for me to release a bit of the sadness that I didn't want to let go of. Sam's way of pulling me back from the abyss of depression.
He talked about what he expected of me and what I could expect from him. There was to be "no mopey stuff."
"Do you understand?" and he continued the spanking and paused for my assent with each point he made. I could count on him for all the encouraging hugs and all the support I would need to get through this same horrible thing again. Doctors visits and medications and tests. But there was to be no pity party going on at all. I was to call family members to explain what had happened, and I was to write to friends that were expecting us to be off on our vacation. No building of walls. No silence. No days and nights of crying.
When he pulled me up, I practically gave the poor man whiplash as I grabbed to hug him and to feel his strong arms around me. There was a soft "thank you" whispered in his ear. I felt safe from the overwhelming sadness, and I could walk away from the edge of that pit. He wasn't going to let me fall. He was right there, and he wasn't going anywhere.
We rested up from the airport ordeal for almost 2 days. I ate some and drank as much as I could, especially drinks with electrolytes. We quietly enjoyed being together. We smiled and talked and even laughed. I called and wrote the people I most love in this world. I got through conversations with hardly a tear. Slept a lot and read a lot.
Finally, Sam went back to work one morning. The house was too quiet, and I felt a little down for the first time since that spanking. I was on the phone with a dear friend who had lots of good advice concerning the health issue that had returned. I paused and asked her to hold for just a minute. I heard the key in the front door unlock and knew it was probably Sam. I met him coming down the hallway. He held a beautiful bouquet of a dozen red roses in one hand and a 6-pack of Gatorade in the other.
"Love you, Ella," he smiled.
"I will check on you again. Call me if you need me."
There was a quick kiss and he was out the door again. I finished my conversation with my friend. She couldn't see me, but I wager she could tell there was a big smile on my face. Later there was an unexpected dedication that touched my heart, and I really thought about how lucky I was.
I would love to end with a happily ever after. That is the name of my blog, after all. But this is real life, and that didn't happen.
Just so you don't get all gushy about a happy ending, I fell from grace with Sam big time again last Monday. Feeling so sorry for myself and thinking only of what adventures we were missing. Of another special friend with whom I wasn't going to get to collect any hugs or laughs or silly times together. Sam was patient with me at lunch that day but not when he arrived home that evening.
"Not going to happen. I mean what I say."
"Come with me, girl."
My roses were still lovely, and I was still drinking lots of fluids, but this time there was a paddle doing a lot of the talking.
The kisses came later with a warning.
"There will be NO mopey stuff around here. Got it?"
"Yes, sir," was all I said and stepped away from the edge.