Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DULL (05/12/17)
- TITLE: Anything But
By Lynda Schultz
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“Don’t say it!” I begged.
Wilma took a sip of coffee, two faded blue eyes twinkling above the rim of the cup as she savoured the steaming brew.
“Well, you’ll have to admit that it has been exciting,” she countered.
“No kidding!” I responded. “Who would have imagined that a more-or-less routine hernia operation would end up with a massive hemorrhage, two more surgeries, two cardiac arrests, a collapsed lung, kidney failure, and three weeks on a ventilator in an induced coma.”
“But the hernia repair was successful.”
“Well,” I said, “you know what they say—the operation was a success, but the patient died—twice!”
“So, how is the patient doing anyway?” Wilma asked.
I drew a breath. The events of the last two months had been unexpected to say the least. My, or our, relatively sedate lives had taken a turn that nobody could have imagined. I’d recently moved to another community to share a house with an old friend. Mary’s hernia repair had been on the calendar for some time. But we both expected that it would be a simple “lapy”* and she’d be home the day after surgery. A few weeks of recovery time and then she’d go back to work.
The hernia surgery WAS simple, as it turned out. But a few hours later everything came apart. The patient didn’t die, but Mary had came all too close. That first night, after the second surgery to try to stop the bleeding, the doctors had given her only a ten percent chance of survival.
“She’s doing well. After more than six weeks in the hospital, she is now in rehab and finally getting some strength back. She is certainly ready, as she says, “…to blow this popsicle stand.”
Wilma laughed. “Man, I haven’t heard that one in a long, long time! It’s great she’s got her sense of humour back.”
“You know, Wilma, we just never know what is coming around the next corner. It hasn’t been quite the leisurely retirement I expected. But boring it has not been. And then there’s the cat.”
I laughed. My influence had made a cat person out of Mary, the dog lady. Several weeks before the surgery she had adopted a stray from the local humane society. The plan was to have a companion with her during her recovery. So the tortie** had come to live with Mary and I.
“She’s so active. My poor kitty didn’t know what to do with her. Dolly’s attempts to lure Misha into playing with her came across as attacks, and Misha responded accordingly. We had lots of hissing, growling, batting, battling, and chasing for a while. So instead of the “terrible tortie” bonding with Mary, she’s bonded with me. Thankfully Misha has now accepted her. We started out with a humdrum senior household and now we have a kid whose “tortie-tude” means I have to chase her off the counters, shoo her away from my plants, tolerate her in the middle of the night when she wants to play with my face, hide anything that can be tossed, batted or bowled, and two litter boxes to clean instead of one. This was not part of the plan either.”
Wilma could hardly swallow her coffee. She was trying hard not to laugh. I have to admit that it WAS funny. I could have happily shipped Dolly back to the humane society a few times, but she is a lovely cat despite her youthful enthusiasm.
“Well, you’re right—it certainly hasn’t been boring,” she finally managed to spit out.
The expression on Wilma’s face grew serious. “But you know that this is an ‘Esther’ moment, don’t you?”
“What? A ‘for such a time as this’ moment?*** Yes, I guess it is. Esther didn’t choose the timing or her circumstances any more than Mary and I did. But God did. Sometimes the normal, routine, quiet times in life are suddenly interrupted by the unexpected and unplanned for. But I have to confess that this one has been a biggie.”
Wilma reached across the table and put her hand on mine. “You know—anything you and Mary need…”
I smiled. “Can I interest you in adopting an anything but unimaginative tortoiseshell?”
*Laparoscopy, known as keyhole surgery done with small incisions and with the aid of a camera.
**Tortoiseshell cats or “torties” for short, combine two colors other than white, either closely mixed or in larger patches.
*** Esther 4:14
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