Depleted. Utterly. Freezing cold.
Grateful. God. Thank you.
I didn’t think I’d make it, really I didn’t. Leaving the hospital yesterday, I took a photo, arms –raised in victory. I took that photo for two reasons: 1. …THAT – that feeling of jubilation, is exactly what I was feeling. And 2. For IMAGE sake.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been “The Machine.” The physically ungifted guy, the one born to no advantages, who came from nothing, no one and nowhere to create, to build. And then, as less-than-everyman, to revel in the glories of these successes –and to enjoy its excesses—and pour it out to the world in all its Technicolor spectacle.
And live I did. I hope –pray—that I was neither boastful nor arrogant in doing so, but never was I otherwise apologetic for getting to live the life that I did. Through the various acquisitions and accoutrements – whether they be automobiles, tailored suits, beautiful women or fantastic trips, I almost felt it my duty to show..and to tell…”Hey, look what I did.”
I will tell you for the first time here –months before my book comes out—that at many times, it was as much smoke as it was mirrors. Oftentimes, I lived the life of the rich and enviable with barely a dollar to my name. But I ALWAYS had my health, my crew, and my balls.
Yesterday, I rented a small room, in a small, cold house. It is the least I’ve ever paid for rent in my life –oftentimes blowing more for a single night’s stay in Vegas, Hawaii, Tokyo, Rio…wherever. I had to seek out and accept help in order to “afford” the price of this room. I left the hospital with 3 small bags yesterday, my years of belongings –furniture, wardrobe, tons of just cool stuff, placed into storage by yet another friend. I’ve returned to South Orange County, the scene of my last BIG business triumph but have returned the diametric opposite of the conquering hero. By the grace of God, I have my beautiful babies, Ramone & GoGo, with me. My renter, a Christian man, and good enough to take them in too as well. I would not…COULD not…have separated from them. That would have been the ultimate failure…the final defeat. Had I not had my angel “S” to look after them when I was ill, then pick me up at the hospital and take me to my new home, I would not have made it. Without my 2 friends, without my angel, without my babies, I would likely tonight be one of those poor souls you see pushing a shopping cart outside of Cedars Sinai Hospital..
I HAVE MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.
Last night, I was finally able to drift off to sleep, after shivering for hours in my new bed. And the night sweats –caused by the antiobiotic I’m on – came on with a vengeance. I alternatedly sweated and shivered throughout the night, ultimately soaking through the sheets I’m sleeping on, and several towels. This is my lot now and I need to accept it. I have 59 more days on this antiobiotic, Vancomycin (“The Drug of Last Resort” – citation – Wikipedia). I awoke this morning, drenched, freezing, alone and yes – I admit it—scared. And hurting. I know now that it was too early to leave the hospital to “care” for myself, but so goes the medical “system”. Ramone and Gogo, sensing my discomfort, crawled onto the bed on either side of me.
It took me 90 minutes to get up, make myself a cup of tea, feed my babies and find the one sunny spot in the backyard where I could begin to warm myself. Still without food, I was glad for the box of Raisin Bran I had taken from the hospital. You see, for the first time in my adult life, I am also without a car, and I think, in this early stage of my recovery, far too weak to walk the nearly two miles to the nearest store.
For, I DO have SOME money. To buy groceries, and for essentials. For this, I am grateful. And I will make more. I know that. As soon as I regain my sense of self. And I am grateful for that knowing. And I will build, and rebuild, and SUSTAIN. I know I CAN. I know I WILL. Because, this is who I am. And because…I am truly humbled.
I’m amazed that I find myself, sitting here writing this, telling you all of this, and it doesn’t bother me. I am grateful for humility. It’s been a long time coming; that’s for sure. And I’m not “adopting” it, so I can achieve something. It’s real; I feel it to my bones.
About an hour from now, I will open the “PICC line” IV that has been semi-permanantly installed into my vein –and running to my heart—and administer myself with an 80 minute dose of Vancomycin. I will sterilize the site first, just as I was taught this morning by the nice nurse from Jamaica that came by “my” new house with my medicinal supplies. The man whose company I was ever-grateful for, as we sat in the backyard and shared stories of his home country. He got a big kick out of my Rasta flag tattoo. (And no, I did NOT, in my usual demonstrable ways, showboat it to him. He caught site of it as it is the flag that rests directly atop the 9-day-old incision in my back; he had asked to inspect the wound). Anyways…after sterilizing the line, I will flush it, then hook up the antibiotic ball, and nearly an hour and a half later, I will reflush the line, and if good fortune comes my way, I will find warmth, and then sleep. To wake up “alone” tomorrow, cold, stranded, and…grateful.
Grateful because my angel S took me to the market and we bought food. And to TJ Maxx, where I bought towels to place at the side of my bed, after having developed a new “sweat strategy.” And because she will come to pick me up and take me to Church. And then, we will take Ramone and GoGo to Laguna Canyon Dog Park, where I have faith that the sun will be warm. And where, I will continue to heal. And heal. AND HEAL.
On Monday, I will work. I am profoundly grateful that my laptop is in good working order, that my renter graciously let me onto his wireless network, and that Local Marketing 2.0 put up my new “big guy” website. For as long as my friends Roddy Piper and Sting and Diamond Dallas Page and Sylvester Terkay and Matt Wiese and the rest will have me, I will bust my ass to contribute to and grow their good fortune. And along the way, mine.
I will rebuild. My psyche. My body. My fortunes. And I will build for the first time ever in my life, a true, profound gratitude, that everyday is a good day.
In the meantime, one thing is for sure, and that is that I’m just not “me.” I PRAY, fervently, genuinely, for the chance to be not only that person again, but for the opportunity to create a whole different, greater person too.
As I look back at what I’ve written here, my moods continue to swing. I wonder, if, in fact, I WILL make it. But this much I promise, to myself, to those that help me, to my babies, to God above… I will dig deeper than ever.
Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Nights in new home: 1
Antiobiotic administrations completed: 1 of 120
Physical well-being, on a scale of 1-10: 1
Mental and emotional well-being, on a scale of 1-10: 1
Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
You’re a slave to yourself and you don’t even know
Want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
If you’re trying to stay high then you’re bound to stay low
You want God but you couldn’t deflate your ego
If you’re already there then there’s nowhere to go
If you’re cup’s already full then its bound to overflow
If you’re drowning in the water’s and you can’t stay afloat
Ask Hashem for mercy and he’ll throw you a rope
Looking for help from God you say he couldn’t be found
Searching up to the sky and looking beneath the ground
Like a King without his Crown
Yes, you keep fallin’ down
You really want to live but can’t get rid of your frown
You try to reach unto the heights and wound bound down on the ground
Given up your pride and the you heard a sound
Out of night comes day and out of day comes light
Said nullified to the One like sunlight in a ray,
Make room for his love and a fire gone blaze
Make room for his love and a fire gone blaze
Matisyahu – “King Without A Crown”See More