I know I should write about the weekend with Andrew before writing about anything else, but I don't feel like writing about the weekend. Actually, I feel like crying... but the tears aren't there. I feel like sobbing; I feel like crying myself to sleep, but the tears simply are not there.
See, nearly a year ago to the day, I wrote the following in the newsletter to explain why I hadn't written a newsletter the previous Friday (as the diary was offline)
I went to school, but on the way to class, I decided that I was
feeling too sick to sit through a boring hour and a half lecture.
I came home and got in the bed.
Larry intervened, determined that I might have an appendicitis,
and off to the doctor we went.
The doctor said that the symptoms were right and referred us on
to a board certified surgeon who, in turn, determined that there
was a 70% chance that I did have an appendicitis.
Sooo... he sent me to the Evaluation and Treatment Center where
I had blood drawn and was given an IV. After laying in my little
blue and white butt-showing hospital gown for a while, a "Patient
Transport" guy came and got me, wheeling my gurney to Radiology
where I had two chest X-rays performed.
From there, I was wheeled to another room where I had an
ultrasound of the area. My appendix was found and determined to be
perhaps slightly swollen, but nothing conclusive.
The doctor said that I could go home and would definitely be worse
or better by the next day... and if I should happen to have
immense pain in the middle of the night, I should call and he'd
come in to do an emergency operation.
So, I was wheeled back to the ETC, got dressed, and came home
Yet the pain wasn't worse or better by the next day. It was mostly the same, perhaps slightly better, but mostly the same, and through the course of this past year, I've had unexplainable pains everywhere from my head on down. The above mentioned board certified surgeon thought that it could perhaps be a "grumbling appendix", but a CT scan in January revealed nothing.
In the months since January, the pain has moved from my appendix region, to my testicles, to my armpits, and then to my inner thigh and appendages where it is now. In addition to that surgeon who thought it might be a grumbling appendix, I saw a urologist, a dermatologist, and another general practitioner. I was told that it was blue balls, nothing, and an overzealous psychosomatic reaction to too much media coverage of ailments, respectively.
All this was several months ago and I finally just decided that if no one could find anything, it probably wasn't going to kill me, whatever it is. Yet lately, the inner thigh/groin pain has been increasing and last week I woke one day to find myself unable to walk without limping for several hours... yet there was no explanation for it.
What really baffles me, and the doctors apparently, is that there's no commonality between the pains. The parts that have been hurting aren't in the same system.
But all, or none of that (depending on how you look at it), hasn't really made me feel better. Some days I feel fine, other days I feel horrible. For the most part, I've learned to ignore it, but today just hasn't been one of those ignoring days. I'm worried that it's something major... something incurable, something fatal, but I've been living with it for so long that I just don't have the tears to cry about it.
It's a weird concept, I know... but that's the way it is.
October 27, 1999 - Wednesday 4:18PM
I've said before that you can tell a lot from the last five minutes you spend with someone. That was especially true this past weekend with Andrew. And so, instead of obsessing with the chronology of the 48 hours he was here, I offer only the last five minutes, but it tells a lot.
When we got to the Burbank airport to put Andrew on the plane, it was near boarding time, so Larry stayed in the van with the kids and the dogs while I got out to walk Andrew to the gate. On the way inside the terminal, I continued talking and slipped $40 in Andrew's back pocket. He, in turn, pulled it out and asked, "What's this?" or something to that effect, and I said it was for gas (as he had to drive over an hour to get to the airport). He responded that the gas was only $10, and "take it anyway" was the gist of my response to him. He reluctantly obliged.
A few seconds later, I commented on how Andrew wasn't talking much since we got out of the van. He confirmed with a few words to indicate that I was right, but that was all I got back. In truth, I didn't really think that much about it at the time. I gave him a hug frat boy style, from the back, around the shoulders, and figured that would be his bon voyage. We inched up in the line for the metal detectors, and I continued yakking about nothing important while Andrew remained quiet. And then, all of a sudden, he reached over and gave me a bear hug.
I'd failed to realize that he had stopped talking because he didn't want to say "good-bye." He didn't want to start crying. And after hugging him back and making sure he got through security, I walked back to the van misty-eyed myself. I'd made the difference I'd wanted to make. I'd had an impact.
Or so I thought until I got back in the van and told Larry what had happened. He asked if I was sure that Andrew was near crying, as he was far from an overly emotional guy during the weekend. Larry's doubt caused me to doubt it myself. Had I really experienced that or was it just wishful thinking?
And so, late Sunday night, I wrote e-mail to Andrew asking him if it was all he'd hoped. I wanted to say more, to say that he was such a nice guy, to say that he was sweet, and special, and that I'd, too, had tears in my eyes, but I wanted to know what he was thinking without my putting thoughts or an obligation to reciprocate in his head. I also wanted him to write before reading the diary, but I couldn't say, "Write before reading the diary." I mean, he'd said that I could put all that here, but seeing your life online can have a disconcerting effect, so I'd intentionally not written anything until after he was on the plane towards LA. I wanted his true opinion of the weekend, without it being influenced by what I'd written earlier or the thought that it might appear online, but the e-mail I got when I woke Monday morning was after he'd read the journal.
I honestly hadn't planned on putting it here. In fact, I'd planned on just the opposite to make sure that Andrew knew his communication with me needn't be treated like it was always for everyone... but whether it's my ego or my wanting to share a part of the specialness of the weekend, it's just too nice to not share.
I read the diary entry about my e-mails...I'll be so embarassed if someone
involved reads it hehe....but oh well I guess it's the truth so whatever.
Ok I'm like half asleep here and so this e-mail won't be as good as what I'd
been planning on. Oh well...I'll try to say it all properly.
Thank you both so much for everything. I wanted to properly thank you in
person but I'm incredibly awful at saying goodbyes...I turn into an
emotional wreck...and so if I had said anymore than I did (not much, I know)
I would've burst into tears and when that happens it takes forever for
people to understand what I'm saying...and an airport is not the best place
for that anyways. You guys were so nice to me. You're the nicest people
I've ever met. I don't know how to put in words how much it meant to me.
It felt so nice hugging with you, I felt so safe and protected.
The trip home was good. I got back here about 11:20. The whole time I sat
there thinking...about pretty much everything. A lot of the time my eyes
were a bit wet, for a few different reasons. Of course I was missing you
guys, but I also had wet eyes (by this I mean I kept things under control so
no tears happened) from happiness. This was the best weekend I've ever had.
If anyone had been watching me during the trip they would probably think I
have some mental problem...looking sad but then smiling and happy. I guess
I was just thinking at a level deeper than normal.
Ok I need to sleep now it's 1:19am...I'm sure there's more I wanted to say
but it's too late to think of it now. Good luck on your midterm Justin.
*hugs* to both of you.
[ Edited For Publication ]
October 28, 1999 - Thursday 7:01PM - Transcribed From A Notebook
Most people don't give enough credence to that saying about loneliness often occurring the most in a crowd, but sitting here in a theatre of over 300, I can truly say this is the loneliest place I go every week. Having spent a few weeks at the beginning of the semester next to a guy who barely even knew I was there and who cared even less, I opted to move to the other side of the auditorium and sit alone. I effectively removed the pressure of "Is he here? Will I have someone to sit by? Should I try to talk?" Now, instead, I sit here, unworried about if I'll sit by anyone. I know I won't. If someone does talk to me, then great, but I don't have the uneasiness of will someone talk to me. Without expectations, you can't be let down, but without expectations, it sure is lonely. To lessen that, I read the day's campus newspaper, and I secretly watch the bright red (orange) headed frat boy in the row in front of me.
I people watch and imagine the personalities behind the faces, but I've resolved myself to never having friends at USC. It's my last semester. In eight weeks, I'll be done with class here, and I'll likely never interact with any of these people again. And ya know what, I really just don't care. That part of me that longed for friends here died long ago.
It's not sad, at least not to me. It just isn't going to happen, and sometimes you just have to be mature enough to accept things the way they are.
October 31, 1999 - Sunday - Halloween 9:27AM
Well, Friday morning, I again went to see a new doctor about my non-attributable pains. The last time I saw a doctor about it was a few months ago and I'd pretty much given up on figuring out exactly what was wrong, but when Larry made the appointment earlier this week, I agreed to go.
After being thoroughly questioned, examined, and poked in various spots, this new doctor determined that it was due to anxiety... and I realized, in one form or another, that's what a couple of the other doctors have said as well. The last doctor, the one who thought it was mentally caused by fixating on media coverage of ailments, essentially attributed it to the same thing. He just stated it in such a way that I disregarded it. I don't much watch media, and especially don't pay attention to those something-new-is-killing-you "news" reports. Yet stress/tension/anxiety have been the common theme through at least three of the doctors, so when the latest doctor said as much I just thought, "Ya know what. I'd be he's right."
Larry was quick to interject that the pains I experience are very real, not mental aberrations, and the doctor agreed. They are indeed real pains, but they're caused by anxiousness instead of bacteria or a virus.
And while the pains haven't disappeared since Friday, they sure have lessened. I do stress about things, much more than I think I even realize. Having dinner with Larry on Friday night, I caught myself and remarked about my worrying about missing class last Tuesday and not knowing if there was a homework assignment due this coming Tuesday. "Would I be able to find out what we did? Could I finish the assignment before class?" The thoughts were running through my head, even though it was late Friday night and I had nothing to worry about.
So being more self-aware of the problem should help. I'm sure I'll never stop worrying/stressing, but knowing that stress is the reasons for the pains, I've stopped stressing about them, which has in turn caused them to be lessened. It was a repeating cycle up, and now it's a repeating cycle down... but it took a while to get up, so I'd guess it'll take a while to get down.