Tuesday night. I am in the car, on the New Jersey Parkway. Inexplicably, I have made it back East.
I sat with my parents on the flight. I can't recall the last time I flew with them; surely it has been five years or more. I looked over at them.
The nice lady pushes me through the airport. We breeze through LAX. She tells us most people don't say thank you.
I watch her pocket a tip from my dad as I disembark from the wheelchair.
The flight out to LA was long, and there was a layover in Texas. I drank a mimosa in Dallas and choked on the citrus, burning my throat.
I could feel my throat beginning to close but I shook it off.
I landed in LA. I went to an AirBnB and slept for 18 hours.
Claire picked me up and we went to see Jules at school. We watched her birthday celebration. She kept looking over at me and saying "you're here," her face all scrunched in a smile.
The next day we saw Marine One land at the Santa Monica Airport and the girls were so excited, it was so cool. Vera told me it was better than Disneyland, which no. But it was so fun.
I tried to sip a Coke at lunch and faltered.
The girls went home and I told them I'd see them on Monday for our movie date.
On Friday I texted their mom and dad and said I thought I had the flu. I ordered in ginger ale and Coke. I couldn't swallow. Bones told me I was going into DKA after I threw up twice.
On Saturday, I climbed into a Lyft and on Saturday night, I fell asleep in an ICU bed.
I don't remember anything else, and it's clear to me that this is perhaps for the best. I had sent some disorienting, insane texts but deleted them after I wrote them. An act of self-preservation that has driven me mad all week.
But I was mad--psychotic, actually, from a heavy dose of steroids and pain meds. I kept thinking there were pets in my room. I knew, intellectually, that my bag wasn't a cat. But I thought it might be, anyway.
My dreams are still confused with reality. I don't remember, I don't remember. I keep saying this. I wonder if anyone believes me.
I press my parents for details and they offer some and shrug. You were like this, my dad says, exaggerating a stuck-out tongue and popped-out eyes.
Like nothing I had ever seen before, he says.
I had a molar removed six days before I went inpatient. Despite my best efforts, it combined with my body's natural fungus and turned into a growth, an infection.
It coated my esophagus and showed up in my lungs. It began to slide over my vocal cords and threatened to close my throat, and that's when I went to the ICU.
This alerted my type one diabetes and I went into an extremely scary condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which maddeningly sounds like a Mary Poppins song. (Sing it with me now...supercalifrigiKETOACDIOSIS/you can sing it too if you have the diagnosis!)
DKA, as it is commonly called, must be treated in the ICU with an insulin drip. I had a nurse at my bedside, checking my blood sugar (glucose) levels, to ensure I did not die. My blood was poisoned.
My body had totally gone to shit.
On Jules' birthday, I thought I might be getting strep and so I went to the UCLA Urgent Care as a precaution. The doctor told me I was fine.
She said she couldn't see anything wrong, and that my doctor was right to take me off those antifungals in April, they were killing my liver.
Okay, I said. I went to Walgreens and bought Cepacol, and the storm began.
It's almost Friday, and the weekend is due to arrive, full of bright lights and patriotic messages and I am feeling pretty pumped about Obama's Big Week, though I remember none of it. I am so happy about #LoveWins that I'm considering getting a rainbow tattoo.
I am not depressed. I do not feel bloodless. I see color.
It's hard to swallow, and it's hard to talk. But a week ago I had suction tubes in my throat, swallowing for me. I did not speak aloud at all, and the silence made my fingertips go mad.
Right now I can sip ice water and chocolate pudding and ice cream. So it's okay.
My anxiety reached a feverish pitch last night and I broke down the way I did on the drive home from the airport, silently crying and then moaning as the tears burned my throat, still infected, only just starting to heal.
Why does this happen, I railed. What is the fucking point? What is the fucking POINT?
My anger keeps me alive. My anger keeps me questioning.
Someday I will know, and the resolution will be the peace I have always searched for.
Until then, I read and wait and recover and walk and heal and play with Sadie and think of baby names for my unborn niece and I live, quiet, assured...
(Thank you for all your support. I appreciate it now more than ever. I love you.)