|Taken by Me at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland|
I’ve been sick since last Friday, which is truly an unusual thing for me – I’m one healthy horse. So this morning I finally headed to the doctor. She didn’t take five minutes with her stethoscope to diagnose pneumonia. Then she went on to explain that pneumonia was collection of bacteria that had taken up residence in the crevice of my lung and it’s good that I came in because those pesky critters tend to spread. Then she ran down the list of party treats I get to take home: antibiotics, codeine cough suppressant, and prednisone. That’s what started the memory avalanche.
When Maggie and I took our trip to Ireland, while stand there, overlooking the Cliffs of Moher, it started – her little cough. We didn’t know it then, but that little cough was the signal that our days together were running very low.
Back in Austin, CT scans showed the culprit. Little tumors had taken up residence in her lungs and were spreading. This was a battle that there were no weapons to fight. So the doctors gave us codeine cough suppressant to try to minimize her discomfort and prednisone to try to cut down the irritation. And then they gave her just a few weeks to live.
I hadn’t thought about those days or the month and a half that followed in quite some time. Those were hard days for us both. But today, as I coughed uncontrollably, I found myself sad, like I was getting to experience life a little bit from her side of the bed, even if it was just a laughably small taste. But I also felt an unexpected warmth, or maybe even a feeling of compassion. Because of today, I feel like I understand her a little bit more. And, because of that, I’ve changed. It sounds odd, but it feels real.
It’s interesting how still to this day things can happen that give me more insight and perspective on what has happened. Just this experience of a week spent coughing up a lung has further enriched my memories, if that’s even possible.
I truly wonder how many new experiences I’ve yet to have that will continue to enrich both my new life and the precious memories of my old life. I still have a great life to live.