September 16th, 2016 was our 38th wedding anniversary.  It was also the first day of my hospital stay which would continue until March 2nd, 2017.

Early in the morning, on September 16th, I was in the bathroom and all of a sudden experienced excruciating pain.  I fell to the floor yelling for Donna.  I told her to call 911.  The pain I had was nothing I’d ever experienced in my 63 years on earth.  Long story short, a tiny stone had exited my Gall Bladder and found it’s way to my Pancreas.  That set in motion a chain of events which still continues almost 15 months later.  Technically, the condition is known as Necrotizing Pancreatitis.

Background picture for Necrotizing Pancreatitis
Necrotizing Pancreatitis

My intention is not to take you through the chronology of what transpired that past 15 months.  Instead,  I’m documenting this journey in two stages.  The first is what I’m calling Vivid Recollections.  I spent much of my stay on some serious pain medication.  One side effect was to greatly amuse my family as I soared in and out of reality and dreams/hallucinations. To me, however, these were very vivid and real.  Some scary, some kinda amusing.  A variety of adventures which drew upon my current surrounding and people, as well as elements of my past, twisted and changed to mesh with my current reality.  While going through these adventures I most most terrified, but as I began describing them to my wife, I found them actually pretty amusing.  Consequently, I expect to present them in that context, stressing the absurdity rather then the fear I actually felt while it was “happening”.

The second is a journal. The journal begins, not at the beginning because that would be impossible.  Instead it begins present day.  The idea came from my therapist as a way to deal with the humbling reality of being victim of a horrible disease along with the subsequent side effects.  Not to mention multiple escapes from death and stages where the Doctors, I later learned, would tell my wife they could do no more and I would live or die.  Something I was able to deal with for a few months until the burden of that reality became to much to bare (bear?).  The journal is my therapy.  It is what it is.  Sometimes sad and depressing and other times not.  It’s ongoing and will ebb and flow as my emotions ebb and flow.

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