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August 22, 2014
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Rescue 911: No guts, no glory!


As the test results began to come in and a surgical team put together, day gave way to night. It was 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve by the time I was informed that emergency, trans-abdominal surgery was imminent. I was whisked off to the OR, writhing, wailing and frightened. Thankfully, a close friend had been called and he miraculously appeared by my side, holding my hand and reassuring me that I would pull through, come hell or high water.

Fifteen minutes before the ball dropped in Times Square, I was wheeled into the recovery room, literally out of my mind, flitting in and out of reality. I’m told that I was wondering aloud how I was going to get my column written and (believe it or not) fretting about work, much to the amazement of my nurses. As the hours passed, images floated in and out of my psyche, all somehow related to my associates at The River Reporter. I imagined publisher Laurie Stuart leading a congregation in prayer, while strumming a Celtic harp (fanciful, no?) while images of Sandy Long photographing the procedure danced in my head.

I “saw” Tom Kane in the background as I began to feel disillusioned about faith, mingled with some confusion regarding my ability to remain resolute that, with simple trust, all would be well. Poet-in-residence Mary Greene popped into my addled brain as I constructed an ill-conceived spoken word ode to my intestines: “As the twisted, coiled, poisoned guts silently revolt inside of me, like Medusa’s head, I scream, praying for a death that will not come.” (You see Mary? This is why I leave the poetry to you and Sandy.)

More came and went. Zac Stuart-Pontier consulting with Lori Malone on the best way to edit the X-ray images into a montage. Clem Fullerton explaining to editor Fritz Mayer how I had been “gutted just like a fish.” Associate editor Anne Willard diligently checking in via phone. The endless parade of faces and names connected to TRR floated around my dream-state, and here I am, four weeks later, jotting these thoughts down on a wireless device, unable to sit properly at my desk, yet determined (finally!) that the show must go on.

I’m told it will be a slow recovery (still in pain), 90 days before I can drive again, and a year before back to normal, but I know now that I will prevail, (it’s called intestinal fortitude) with the help of the outpouring of love and support that has washed over me since the nightmare ensued. Not much left in the guts department. Hopefully, glory will prevail.