Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

When the doctor finally discharged me he repeatedly stressed one word: rest. He’d had me on 24-hour I.V. fluids for nearly a week and though my body was rehydrated, it was completely listless. Mononucleosis sucks. Especially when you are 17 years old and summer is rapidly approaching. Doubly so if you have an overseas trip scheduled 6 weeks to the day after you are hospitalized.  I knew there was no way I was going to make it onto that plane.

When I returned home from the hospital, the extent of my daily activity consisted of waking up in the morning, going downstairs and flopping down on the couch in front of the TV. All day. Every day. Until it was time for bed when I would sluggishly ascend the stairs to rest some more.  

I knew I would miss the last month of school, which you might think is every teenager’s fantasy.  But two factors made this situation infinitely less than desirable. Like the fact that I couldn’t really eat because my throat was so swollen that simply breathing became a challenge. Or that we didn’t have cable.

I had a set routine, though I don’t remember its exact sequence now. My days were filled with our local Channel 19’s run through classic sitcoms. I didn’t get to hang with my friends at school, so I made new friends to keep me company through my misery. There was Lucy and Gomer, Mr. Belvedere and The Fonz. And especially the Mayberry crew.


Had I been born 20 years later I’d have been texting and tweeting to keep up with the outside world. Instead, I traveled back in time. To simpler worlds and situations that were neatly wrapped up in 22 minutes, accompanied by endless ads for Life Alerts and Life Insurance.  My life should have been beginning, but it felt like it was ending. I had to go on that trip, but how could I plan to go hiking through the desert when a trip to the bathroom left me winded?

I took my recuperation very seriously. I drank at least two giant jugs of Gatorade per day for their electrolytes. I ingested steroids in the kind of doses that people with serious maladies are given. Over the next few weeks I lost 30 pounds, which would be wonderful now but was scary then.

The doctors tried to give me hope that I’d make it onto that plane, but I doubted them. I was pessimistic and felt entitled to be given how miserable I felt every day. Since talking was painful, I limited mine as much as possible. The anguish of isolation did not help.

Finally, with about 10 days until the trip I went to see my Infectious Disease doctor to get the verdict. Nurses checked my vitals and drew 11 vials of blood. Then the doctor ran the most important test he could: asking me if I wanted to go. I did. And so I went. 



read to be read at yeahwrite.me

46 comments:

  1. Oooooh, this is a good one. Nice, straightforward narrative, interesting commentary on technology then and now, and your doctor certainly surprised me at the end. Maybe you're saving this for the sequel but. . .was the trip fun?

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    1. Thanks, Louise. The trip was difficult, but amazing.

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  2. Nice story about suceeding against the odds. You had a wise doctor and for the I'm glad. Hope the trip was great. Ellen

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  3. wow that had to be horrible to live through! so glad you're OK and got to go on your trip!

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    1. This barely scratched the surface, but I am OK now. Thanks, Christina.

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  4. Wow -- so glad that you were able to go on your trip! And that you recovered to write about it.

    I had mono this spring, but didn't know it. I was so tired from life that I didn't think I was extra-tired from being sick. So glad I wasn't as sick as you were...

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    1. Are you feeling better? Make sure you take care of yourself to avoid a relapse, which I had a few of...

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  5. Oh wow! So glad that it didn't keep you from going on your trip - I'm sure the memories you made were priceless. Maybe you could write some of them as follow-up sometime! Cheers.

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  6. Mono is awful. My 12yo had it this year and he spent weeks in bed. He was ready to go back to school and we do have cable. I'm glad you got to go on your trip. I bet it was amazing.

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    1. Hope he's feeling better. How long was he out of commission?
      Thanks.

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  7. Glad you were able to go on the trip. I cannot imagine how devastating missing it would have been to a 17 year old.

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    1. Thanks, Robbie. I actually had to miss another trip almost a year later after a relapse. That sucked.

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  8. I'm glad that you got to go on your trip. I am so glad I never got Mono - it sounds BRUTAL. Were you especially sick for the trip?

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    1. Yes, I definitely had my limitations, but it was amazing nonetheless.

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  9. That's such a transformative trip for so many kids. I'm so glad you got to go. I bet Andy Griffith helped. May he rest in peace.

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  10. I'd completely forgotten about that program until just now. Memories of youth gone by...

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  11. Yay, you! Were you ever on J-date? Just kidding. This is a scary story....if my son lost 30 lbs so rapidly I would be terrified. I love your description of your convalescance and I am so glad you got to go on your trip. There better be some posts about that trip!

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    1. Nope, never on there. Thankfully.

      Thanks, it was scary for all of us, but I was lucky to have excellent doctors.

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  12. This totally brought me back to my days of Mono...you described it perfectly, and imagining how different it would be if it happened today versus the stone age..which according to my kids, was when I had it...great narrative and glad you made it on the trip.

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    1. Thanks, Lee. It wasn't quite the glamorous "Kissing Disease" like in the movies, was it?

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  13. New follower from the blog hop!

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  14. Mono sucks. And I'm glad you got to go on your trip. I also really liked how strongly your voice came through when you told your story. I think sometimes when people are Focusing on Serious Writing Stuff they tend to be like, "Why not throw in 17 metaphors and be as alliterative as possible? It'll be more writerly that way." But the piece ends up seeming contrived because as a reader you can tell that the writer is so busy Being A Writer Doing Writer Stuff that they've muffled themselves. So kudos to you for avoiding that trap!

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    1. Thanks, Larks! I appreciate your kind words.

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  15. I've just found your blog from the TGIF blog hop...I'm looking forward to reading more of your story...I'm glad you got to go on your trip!

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  16. Great story!
    I liked your comparisons between how you would have spent your days now and then. The technology is an incredible difference.
    I'm so glad that you were able to go on your trip!

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    1. If it happened now, I can't even imagine the time I'd spend online. I'd be thrilled. J/K. Thanks, Dawn.

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  17. Thank you for this. I had mono at 17 also. It was the month I slept. The only memory I have of it was that it was Dec. and we had icicles out the window. My mom got me up to look, as it had never happened before. We were in CA. I look forward to hearing some of the trip to Israel.

    Here from TGIF.

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    1. Welcome and thanks. You know what I'm talking about. It sucked, right? Icicles, eh? Were you in way northern Cal?

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  18. i am on a blog hop and determined to visit and follow everyone on the list. i would love for you to visit and follow me

    http://www.blackinkpaperie.blogspot.com

    thanks
    new follower bev

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  19. Glad you got to go on the trip! That is the stuff of life long memories and you don't want the memory to be that you didn't get to go. Also, congrats on being the Featured Blog of the Week! And finally, the title of your post is my favorite Tom Petty song of all time. Just thought I'd share. ;)

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  20. What kind of trip was it? My daughter just got back from Israel about 6 months ago. She really enjoyed it.

    Thanks for sharing!


    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

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    1. It was a BBYO trip, Michael. Who did your daughter go with/through?

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  21. New follower from the hop. :)

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  22. Glad survived. Sometimes I think if the doctor would just make me rest for awhile, then I could do everything I needed. I want the rest, not the sickness for clarity.

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    1. I know what you mean, SS. Let me know if you get it!

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  23. Glad you recovered in time! Great story - I was worried for you!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. It was scary, but worth it.

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