Piano-flavored slow jam from the mid-80s by Force MD’s,
Heard this one during my return to social gatherings,
House party in mid-October hosted by a friend,
It’s a great feeling, to be out and about again,
Feeling good, bullet-proof like Sia,
So much energy, wanna swing off that chandelier,
Another short entry, this one is,
But another fond reminder of my victory.
During early June of 2018, before the severe cramps, the blood transfusion and the colonoscopy, I had received an invitation on Facebook from a friend for a house party that she was planning to throw sometime in early October. Despite already experiencing subtle yet frightening symptoms and unsure about the near future, I accepted. You could say that my pride had kicked in and decided that these bloody stools and increasing anxiety weren’t going to get the better of me. They had faded during those two and a half weeks in the US and Canada during late April and early May, surely they weren’t going to last this time. But as we know now, I was so painfully wrong about that.
But as we also know now, yours truly fought back like a man possessed and won the war, with the help of some good doctors plus friends and family. I guess I didn’t have to call or text her about being a no-show to the soirée.
Ok, let’s fast-forward to the day of the party. I had earlier informed my friend that I would come over, right before accompanying my father to a nearby lights store to buy a replacement bulb for the overhead heating light in our bathroom. I was still on those three serves of Imuran and four serves of Mezavant and continued to feel better than the previous day and as I sat in the car with Dad during the drive back home, I decided in my mind that I maybe would be strong enough to return to the Wing Chun Academy within the next two weeks. My previous meeting with Dr. B had revealed that I was in pretty good shape and he had given me the green light to resume my normal activities and that was all I needed, especially since he had made it his personal mission to get me back into my teaching and training. Of course, I would have to ease myself back into it rather than go in guns blazing from the word ‘go’, but I was truly itching to get back into it.
More on that in another post, let’s get back on track.
Following that trip to the lights store, a small, rather cramped shop that resembled a garden shed that was packed to the rafters with an assortment of lamps and lights at every corner and owned by a nice elderly Asian couple, I took it easy for the rest of the day although I did take some time to do some tidying up around the home, which mainly involved vacuuming the floor and straightening up some shelves. No Marie Kondo-style overhauls here, folks. I didn’t find anything that no longer sparked joy. I also took a mid-day nap shortly before joining my parents for lunch, a ritual that had been instrumental to my recovery that I still try to do whenever I can to this day. At the time of this writing (mid-2019), Spain had been deemed by the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index as the healthiest country in the world and I believe that their love for the siesta played a major role in their quality of life.
Later that night, I had dinner with my parents and rested for fifteen minutes before driving to my friend’s home. She lived around twenty minutes away from me and the drive to her place was rather challenging, made doubly so by some road repairs along the way plus the darkness of the night sky. The route featured some easy-to-miss turns and combining that with the road works plus the night sky, even with help from the GPS, made for quite an interesting trip. At one point I was forced to take an alternative route due to a wrong turn. But I made it to her home without any serious incidents after twenty-five minutes of driving, though there were already plenty of guests by the time I’d arrived and her driveway way already full.
Ok, I guess I’m sorta-kinda-fashionably-late.
I parked the car along the street before knocking on her door. She opened it and greeted me with a warm hug before asking me to come inside and have something to eat and drink. Having already had dinner beforehand (I wasn’t sure whether or not there would be food on hand) I poured myself a glass of water before making the rounds and looking for people I knew. It was a packed house and the scene played out like your typical house party, where people mostly hung around with those that they knew and spread out in little groups around the house though they would greet and make small talk with others once in a while before rejoining their tribes. My friend the hostess’ pet dog probably made the most rounds, as she did laps around the house and joined different tribes, looking for the best head and neck masseuse of the house to give her a good rub. But like a free-spirited wandering warrior in those old samurai films she didn’t stay with the same group for too long.
Sure enough I found a small group of friends I knew seated on the dining table and once I had exchanged greetings and hugs with them we spent most of the night together catching up while intermittently chatting to other guests within our vicinity that were willing to go beyond ‘hi’ and ‘what’s up?’. We covered the typical range of topics that one would normally bring up during a catch-up; war stories from work, travel stories, families, babies, life’s typical ups and downs…..we covered many topics. The state of my health eventually came up, mostly because I had been unable to attend one of their birthdays a month earlier due to a still-unacceptable haemoglobin count, and so I explained to them as gently as I could exactly what I had been battling for the better part of the year, keeping some of the nastier details in the dark as it’s not exactly the type of thing one would discuss at a social setting where eat, drink and be merry was the order of the day.
A mixture of horror and curiosity manifested on my friends’ faces as I recounted my battle and naturally, the very first question presented to me was what the hell ulcerative colitis was and what had caused my immune system and bowel to betray me the way they did.
If only I knew, my friends. If only I knew.
Those fucking Benedict Arnolds!
Thankfully my story didn’t take up the entire conversation and after a brief discussion and some words of encouragement we moved on.
The hostess eventually brought out a massive cake for the guests not long after and once she had distributed a generous slice to all who had room for dessert, she joined my little group to catch up. At this point, we were now seated on a sofa in the living room, the most popular seat in the house in front of a television set. I guess you could say that it was similar to that giant plush sofa at Central Perk from that TV show Friends and once it had become vacant we pounced on it. A large piano stood in the background, not far from the front door.
By this time, some of the other guests had left. I checked the time on my phone;
8:45, huh? Wow. Time sure flew by quickly. I guess I’ll be off in fifteen minutes.
My friends asked me around this time if I had resumed teaching at the martial arts academy. While I had decided earlier during the day that I would return in the next two weeks I hadn’t actually revealed that plan to anyone, not even to my father as we drove home from the lights store.
“I’ll be going back in two weeks,” I responded.
Ok, it’s out there in the open. No turning back now.
We spent the rest of the night talking and took a couple of group photos together (it’s 2018, people. Of course there was going to be a group snaps or four) before calling it a night.
I arrived home at half-past-nine, the journey and the traffic far more forgiving than it was when I left the house. I sat in the living room for a while to unwind before heading off to bed. As I lay in the dark waiting to nod off I reflected on some of my personal achievements since my last meetings with Dr. R and Dr. B. Started working out again? Check. Got back on the driver’s seat? Check. Gone on a road trip? Check. Attended a social event? Check.
And the next step was to return to the martial arts academy, my second home. The mixture of excitement and anticipation were the last emotions I felt as I drifted off into Dreamland, the perfect way to end a rather awesome day.