“We’re immortal,” my sister texted me a couple weeks ago, our new joke since getting vaccinated together.
More than two weeks has passed since our second jab, courtesy of Pfizer and our dauntless younger sister, and it is a relief, in a way. Death by COVID doesn’t seem like a pleasant one, and I’d be horrified forever if I passed it to someone. My mom, of our nuclear family, remains the only one unvaxxed so far. “I carry that,” Militant Vegan Sister told me today.
I understand, Little Mouse. I carry things, too.
I finally let that same sister nudge me into going to the ER to finally learn why I’ve for months been vomiting up almost everything I eat. (Till very recently, my GP’s office was not allowing anyone experiencing vomiting to come to the office. “Go to the ER,” was my doctor’s advice over the phone.) I had a really nice ER doc who did bloodwork and an ultrasound, and faster than I expected, he was pretty sure what was wrong. Three or so days as an inpatient later, I was finally let go, with a referral to a surgeon and my diagnosis: a stone obstructing my common bile duct as well as stones present in my gallbladder.
Not life-threatening. I carry that.
A few days ago, after my awesome ER doc bullied my GP enough to let me go to the office, I caught up with my general practitioner, who will be following me through this little ordeal. I meet my surgeon over video-call in a couple weeks, a serious specialist. Because of my gastric bypass, the endoscopy procedure to remove the bile duct stone is more complicated, and only two doctors in my state can do it. I’ll be seeing the nearest to me for that procedure, which should be simple enough. After that, gallbladder removal, which I assume I can have done closer to me.
To be honest, I’m so sick of puking, and of craving things I can’t even attempt eating, that I’m not as upset by the simplicity of my condition as I thought I’d be. Terminal illness can wait a bit, I guess, till I can start eating and not having all my pants constantly threatening to fall down. But…
I keep having this morbid hope for myself, for the end I’ve been asking for since I was 11. I thought 37 would be my last age, as it was Before. But I thought it about 13, and 14, and…maybe it is there after all, following my footsteps like a late friend, robe dragging in the breeze, or waiting around any of the next corners I turn. Death is only a heartbeat away, after all. We’re all close to it. All the time.