As some of you may or may not know, I recently underwent a life-altering medical procedure; I had my gallbladder removed. Yes, I know it is nothing out of this world, but it was a traumatic experience for me.
Here is the thing, I have been dealing with gallbladder issues for about 2 years, and things became so bad that I had to get rushed to the ER. I was in tremendous pain and could barely stay on my feet, let alone walk. According to the Doctors, the condition of my gallbladder was troubling; it was enlarged and could burst at any moment. In addition, it was pushing into my other organs and potentially causing damage to my liver. They threw all kinds of pain meds, including morphine, to numb the pain but to little effect. It took almost a full day for the pain to become less severe and for me to fall asleep.
They put me on a strict no food and no liquid regimen and plugged me into an IV drip to keep me hydrated. They wouldn’t perform surgery until they could run an MRI test to determine the condition of my Liver, Pancreas, and Spleen. However, I had to wait 2 whole days to get an MRI test. As a result, I spent 4 days in and out of pain without food or water.
On the day of my surgery, I was nervous as fuck, since I had never been under anesthesia, and the prospect of being intubated terrified me. My surgery lasted almost 4 hours (Gallbladder surgery usually lasts about 2 hours), and I woke up all dazed and confused. I had 4 incisions in my stomach that still hurt. Also, my throat was sore due to the intubation. I spent the night in pain on a Tylenol drip, and the next day they gave me Oxycodone to manage the pain better before discharging me.
All those nights languishing in the hospital were dispiriting and depressing. The sense of loneliness and abandonment were overpowering — I felt all alone in that hospital, a feeling magnified by the recent disappointments and disillusions I have been dealing with in my personal life. All I did was think, think and over-think everything surrounding my life these last few years. The regrets, the miss opportunities, and the downfall of many things I thought were built on solid ground.
It is all rooted in reciprocity for me. When you feel like you are giving something and someone else isn’t giving something back, I think that is the type of aloneness I’m currently experiencing. Encouragingly, if I allow myself to be honest with myself for a moment, I realize that aloneness has always been the central theme in my life. But unfortunately, this convoluted notion about choosing and creating my own tribe and a new extension of my family was flawed.
It is weird for a once highly sociable, party animal like myself to feel this way. Still, I have always felt alone even when surrounded by company, especially of the female kind. Maybe it is because until recently, all my past relationships were based on pure sexual chemistry and nothing else. It was all about the thrill of the chase. The promise of what every night would offer. The clubs, the liquor bottles, the dancing, the women. The endless possibilities each night would bring. It was a turbulent existence.
Anyway, I spent the bulk of the last decade trying to put my life back together from all the stupid decisions I made in my late 20s and early 30s — I always considered myself an intellectually robust person, so I knew I was going to manifest my destiny. Evidently, I was wrong. And as strange as it may sound, I feel like I have been sleepwalking these last few years. Conversely, my passion for life is still there and burning more vigorously than ever. My passion and expectation for what is ahead sustain me and fuel me — there is also lots of rage and anger flowing through my veins. Yes, I know those are not healthy emotions, but I have to weaponize them to my advantage and not succumb to despair — despair is a sickness that kills more people than any statistic will show.
Nevertheless, in another fucked up way, I’ve come out of this hospital ordeal renewed by the experience. To quote one of my favorite writers. “Life should always go on even when life kinda, sorta sucks.”
The only thing I can do now, or at least control, is to take care of myself and recover physically and emotionally. Meanwhile, I continue to take my pain pills, rest as much as possible, take naps throughout the day, drink plenty of fluids and eat as clean as possible. My energy levels are low, but there are a few sudden energy surges here and there. Plus, I try to be productive by checking work emails and responding often but not as frequently as before. I have been looking back at my old journals, screenwriting notes, and some other personal writings — and finding all kinds of inspiration in them while I continue to work on my craft. After all, my relationship with writing started with death, grief, and loneliness.
Ultimately, people have bucket lists. I don’t — I have a list of things I need to fucking accomplish, and my window is getting smaller and smaller with each passing year. In relation to the successful development of my plans for my future, the last months of this year and the early months of 2023 will be crucial. The time has come for me to get out of my comfort zone and start seeing the rest of the world. Travel and adventures await me.
The only thing that makes these recent setbacks and disappointments bearable for me is that at least I’m comfortable with being alone and starting over. But first thing first, I need to get healthy.