Friday, January 7, 2011

Wait and Si

It would be almost two weeks before the biopsy came in. I kept joking that “I’d say the suspense is killing me but if something is killing me, it probably isn’t the suspense.” In the meantime, I went home. As had been true in the hospital, the friends kept coming, the visitors kept being present. This was incredibly encouraging to realize that I had this much support.

There was only one ‘negative’ aspect about it. I had always wanted to be in their company and thoroughly enjoyed it; otherwise I wouldn’t have them as friends. The problem was that no one appeared to be able to say no. There were some things I didn’t have options on, the seizure restricted me from driving so I had to get rides so I had to ask for rides. There were other things like everyone reaching for the bill, getting discounts from restaurants I frequented who had heard, people willing to help in ways that if I didn’t have brain cancer would not have done it. The simple truth is that it’s what I would have done for any and all of them but it was and is touch to accept for a guy who had always been as independent and self sufficient.

Susan, an old boss and one of those friends, came to have a meal with me. We had shared a meal shortly before my 30th birthday (less than 3 months before this all started; I’d been warned things went down hill at that age but I didn’t expect them to go so fast) and she asked me if there’s anything I regretted having done. I said not really other than the things that we all regret, having hurt people, having been petty during unimportant things. The conversation was focused mostly on things I’d wished I’d done and the short version was that there really wasn’t anything I’d ever thought about doing that I hadn’t except one thing I’d waivered on…a tattoo. For the last two years before I had thought about getting a tattoo of a lion, a lioness and a lion cub. I’d gone back and forth. Susan once again asked the question about if there was anything I wish I’d done differently before finding about this and with no memory of the previous conversation, I brought up the tattoo and she remembered it. She said we should go get it right there and then, that she would buy. I had a hard enough time with the fact that she was reaching for the check, there was no way I was doing that. But over time she has kept insisting and she’s slowly talking me into it.

During this time, blog articles, articles and a song were written about me. It was nice to have people show that I meant something in their lives. They were all kind but my most favorites were the ones that were more realistic portrayals: one of them called me snarky, one said that I was too pushy and not really in everyone’s taste.

Eventually my friends would announce a tournament that was going to go to my medical bills. They never asked me about it because they knew me well enough to know there would be no traction on that request. I found about it when they announced it to the public. Someone somehow anonymously deposited $400 into my bank account. A few friends provided gift cards to restaurants and stores I liked. The intent was always appreciated and I was aware enough that it was people trying to help and not knowing how they could help. Ironically, proudly, however you want to phrase it, these were the things frustrating me. My wife’s coworkers had put together a pool which got us an HEB gift card for groceries, and two restaurant gift cards. She came home, handed them and a card to me. Immediately, I threw the entire thing across the room and broke down crying. I’d been there for so many people but it wasn't in hope that I would need it someday. I didn't know if I didn't want the help or just didn't want to need it.

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