Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ten Cubic Centimeters

I will be brief, because I am supposed to be studying right now, but I need to tell about my weekend before I do anything else. I realized the other day that my life is driven by stories. When I have a story to tell, I am happy. When I am listening to a good story being told, I am happy. When I have no story, I have nothing.
I will direct your attention to the syringe depicted above. This syringe is capable of drawing ten cubic centimeters (roughly 10 mL) of liquid into its barrel.

This past weekend/week was a rough one. I woke up Saturday morning with severe back pain. I could hardly breathe and any sort of movement was pained. I took a shower and laid on my back for a couple hours before pleading with my dad to prescribe me some pain killers and muscle relaxers. I drove to costco and waited in line while my prescription was filled. This was easy to do because the juice lady had set up her free-samples booth next to the pharmacy. I might just have moseyed over to the chocolate-covered raisin lady and chatted while swiping paper cup after paper cup of her morsels. My prescription was filled and I downed my pills like a character in some Lifetime channel movie.

Abscess(n) - a swollen area within body tissue, containing an accumulation of pus

I spent most of Sunday and Monday avoiding swallowing at all costs. My dad and brother spent a few phone calls diagnosing me, and finally hit the abscess on the head Monday night with the right diagnosis. I drove to the hospital Tuesday morning. The hospital is a weird place. All the things that are weird in normal life are normal in the hospital: being naked, talking like a looney person, urinating anywhere you want, telling people all about your nasty rashes, etc. The hospital was a place I liked. I got a CT scan and was told to call the ENT specialist and have the abscess in my throat drained.

I drove to the ENT with Kate and got a big dose of pain relief. This pain relief came in the form of a huge needle. He numbed my throat, tilted my head back, depressed my tongue, and harpooned my deep abscess with the needle. He drew the plunger of the syringe back and pulled out 10cc of pus. This is a lavish amount of pus.

I now have a lot of appreciation for people who suffer from chronic pain. This whole week as I choked down saliva through a burning throat, and as I staggered around the house in back pain, I kept thinking about Mark Harless. I haven't seen him in such a long time, but the image of him sitting straight-backed at the wheel in the morning as he laughed and drove us to seminary is forever in my memory. I was going looney after 3 days of constant pain. I teared up thinking about the pain he goes through daily, monthly, yearly, and that he still faces each day. Respect, Mark.

5 Days until Kate's missionary comes home. I can tell it's on her mind more and more, and I mostly just don't have anything intelligent to say concerning the matter. I trust that whatever is decided and whatever conclusion gets reached, it will be alright in the end, regardless. Each time I tell someone about my health predicament of the past few days, they get mad that I didn't call them and have them come down and help. I don't have the heart to tell them that I had Kate there, and that was all I really needed. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have watching as 10cc of pus are siphoned off my body. She was overly excited at the chance to get to see it, I think. It turned out to be a sweet day together in the end, oddly enough. So, if I didn't call you to have you join me in my moment of plight, I apologize, but you get it, right?

It's been good to be sick again. Death is just around the corner, and that's all right. Life is pain. I used to think that all growth comes from struggle, and life has been so darn easy lately that nothing is growing anymore. Bring on the sickness and the pain and the struggle--because I'm primed to see and meet the struggle in a way that will help me plant my feet firmer in the ground and grow up toward God.

"All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." -d&c 121:7


  1. If Kate doesn't pick you have her give me a call. Please.

  2. Mark says he knew he wanted to marry me when he was helping me recover from a terrible virus that landed me in the hospital too. He liked taking care of me, that's what he says, and he wanted to do it for the rest of his life. Crossing my fingers that Kate realized the same thing....