Sunday, September 25, 2011

[097] Celebrations and Life's Scares

Just a warning: this post can start to become an emotional rollercoaster after the "Tuesday" portion.

Tuesday: On Tuesday last week (September 20th), I celebrated two years with Shawno. :] On our first date we ate at Longhorn Steakhouse. Last year, for our first anniversary, he took me to the exact same restaurant. To keep the tradition going, we knew exactly where we wanted to eat for our second anniversary. Sadly we couldn't visit the same location this year due to our work schedules this year. I was only scheduled to work until 530 while he had been working much later and during the week he had been at a building 2 hours (with traffic) from our apartment. To my surprise, he was out much earlier than I had expected. I did a little last minute gift shopping before I went home to shower and change. I had every intention of wearing something similar to what I wore on our first date (white shirt, jeans, converse) but I went with this fairly new top, jeans, and my faux suede boots instead.

I show up to Longhorn and see that Shawno has already arrived and seated. I sit down, we order our beers (Killian's Irish Red) and decide on an appetizer. Their Western Cheese Fries are the exact appetizer we ate on our first date and 1st anniversary date. I was all about keeping the tradition and order these...
Western Cheese Fries
Crispy fries loaded with all-beef chili, melted cheddar & Monterrey jack, bacon and jalapeños.
... but without chili and bacon. Our waitress gave us this look of confusion. I simply said "I'm a vegetarian" with a smile. She smiled back, nodded and said she'd put that in for us. When she came back to take the rest of our order I decided to skip out on the fish I ordered last year and went with the following:
Strawberry & Pecan Salad
Greens, strawberries, grapes, oranges, onion, feta, pecans & raspberry vinaigrette
Loaded Baked Potato
Baked potato with butter, cheese, and sour cream.
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables
Broccoli, summer squash, and carrots
That's the first time I have eaten at Longhorn without ordering meat or seafood. That strawberry and pecan salad was AMAZING.

Thursday: I woke up in the middle of the night with the stuffiest nose. Instead of getting up to take medicine I just laid there in bed, falling in and out of sleep as I kept breathing through my mouth. I woke up at 7am to a text message. It was a Facebook notification status update that my best friend's sister was in labor. Noelle was soon to be here! (Happy Birthday Noelle!) After reading this text, I rolled back over and fell asleep for another hour or so before actually getting out of bed.

When I woke up I felt horrible. I was sick. I had been running fevers on and off. My head felt under extreme pressure. My entire world felt completely out of balance. Something was wrong and I could feel it.

I was sitting at my computer, checking emails and social networks when my buzzer rang. The mail had arrived and I had a package. After an incredibly busy past couple of months, Katie's box arrived with some goodies inside. And then... I received a text from Katie (my best friend's wife).

My best friend, Jammer, had been found unconscious during a 10+ mile run in Florida heat with a temperature of 107.1°F.

I was shocked. It was as if I didn't know how to respond. It felt like someone had taken out that trigger when something devastating happens and I no longer knew how to react to this news. I just sat there. Staring at the box. Phone in hand. Eventually saying something like "Oh no!" and asking if Katie was okay during this whole situation. Then I told her that the box arrived. I wasn't expecting her usual response of smiley's and exclamation points, but part of me wanted to see it. In fact, I was hoping to see smiley's as some sort of symbolism for a positive outcome for Jammer.

I didn't receive smiley's.

I simply sat and patiently waited for the next text.

It reminded me of the last two times I've taken Jammer home from the hospital. We were living in Alaska. He had his wisdom teeth out and stayed at my house afterwards. This particular time in our lives has provided a few good stories. Some months, maybe a year, later... I received a call that he had his appendix taken out and needed to be picked up from the hospital. I told him he had to stay at my house and could not go home by himself. He's my best friend and very much a brother to me.

I find it somewhat painful to know that I can't be there for him AND his family, who are very much my family as well. While I understand the pressures of being in Katie's shoes, I have never been at such a high point of stress and pressure she faced in this situation. For that, Katie has certainly earned herself some of the highest respect I can give her. She's had to put up with her share of scares and I can see that God knows she can 100% handle tough situations.

Jammer was kept overnight Thursday. I was on the edge of my seat, constantly checking profile after profile on Facebooke, just searching and hoping for good news. Katie messaged me Friday morning. Jammer's labs weren't looking so great. And I was feeling even worse than I did the day before. I took cold medicine, ibuprofen, stayed hydrated and left for work at 2pm. I received a text on the way to work. "We might have good news!!! Standby!!!!" to which I replied "Okay!"

Armed with a very large water bottle, a box of Kleenex, hand sanitizer and a bottle of lotion, I began my shift at the register. Customer after customer. Still, no word. My body ached. The pressure in my head grew and grew. My temper was growing short with difficult customers.

And then...

"Being discharged!!!!!"

Jammer was going home with his family.

My entire world felt balanced once again.

Saturday: I woke up, feeling 75% less sick than the day before. Went into work from 7am - 10am. Came home and wrote to Katie.
"Since learning Jammer was able to go home yesterday, it was as if balance was restored to my world. Before then, my entire head felt like someone was sitting on it, applying intense pressure on my sinuses. But I kept my chin up and held positive thoughts for Jammsky as my body went through fever after fever all day long. I woke up this morning feeling like everything was back to the way it should be. I'm not sure if it was coincidence, my feeling under-the-weather and Jammer's scare, or if it's that true connection of friendship (which I truly believe in 100%) that caused me to feel like something was completely OFF. Either way. Just so glad he's home and has someone as awesome as you to help him get better."
Sunday: Katie wrote back Sunday night but I was too tired to check Facebook so I waited until this morning to read her message. This is where she told me about everything that had happened.
"... I have never been so scared in my life. Jason died, and they brought him back. That's is what the Zombie jokes are all about. I was told he died yesterday. I met the guy that saved his life."
So many tears. Mix emotions. Sadness. Happiness. Relief.

Jammer is here to stay. Toughest nerd I know. He is a long time lover of everything zombie, and I see these jokes sticking around for the rest of his life.

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