So, this winter has been kind of messed up, let us say, without using profanity in case Jr. McPenisbutter or the Mayoral Spawn happen to be reading over they baby daddy's shoulders.
I spent almost all of November, December, and January in the hospital, and when I wasn't in the hospital I was very, very, very ill at home, to the point where I had to get put on IV food because my large intestine wasn't absorbing any nutrients. I lost 30 pounds, a good amount of my hair, and (worst of all) my optimism. I wanted to die, and I was this close to it ... imagine that pinched finger thing. I'm afraid to put greater-than-less-than signs in here lest the posting gods think it's supposed to be a tag. Anyway, it was touch and go for nearly three months, starting at 6 a.m. on my husband's birthday when he took me to the ER for the first time.
During this time there was no baseball, as we know. But. My friends sent me Ken Burns' "Baseball" from 1994. All 10 DVDs of it. I watched them on my computer during the very worst of times, when I couldn't sleep or do anything but pray to Jesus whom I don't believe in anyway, to save my life. Yes, this is a true story.
Before I was appropriately medicated the only way I could fall asleep was with the baseball movie on. Spaceman giving an interview with a Communist Party cap on, or "The Faith of Ten Million People" being dissembled with the eight men out, or the hundreds of renditions of "Take me out ..." that were played. I now know all the words. Did you know that song is about a girl? "Katie Casey was baseball mad/Had the fever and had it bad ..."
Anyway, in the hospital, everyone started to know I was a Giants fan. The end result of all this was that, after three months of fighting it on my part, I had surgery January 22 to remove half my colon (large intestine). I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, which is chronic and has no cure, but can be managed in some cases with medication and diet. In other cases, more surgery is needed as the disease attacks different parts of the digestive tract, usually the small intestine or ileum area. Some of you might remember Todd Helton being out for a long time last year. He had ileitis, which is not Crohn's but is more like ulcerative colitis, which is what I was initially diagnosed with. I don't know if Helton had surgery or if he was treated with meds, but he's better now and I hope he stays that way.
After my surgery, there were some very blurry days. There's a woman at UCSF Mt. Zion, where I was treated and stayed the whole time I was in the hospital, who is a second-grade art teacher and in her spare time does posters for patients. She uses regular markers. My mother-in-law asked her to do one for me, as a surprise. It was Mays Field, complete with Coke bottle, Bay Bridge and the Jumbotron announcing Rajai Davis batting. (She had an assist from my husband on that one.) The thing was as big as a window and we hung it up over the generic landscape picture they had up in my hospital room. So for seven days after surgery, I stared at that picture, imagining where I'd sit -- a different place each time.
My dad came out and he used baseball to keep me going. He told me old stories like being at Roger Maris 61, and how special it was that he was also at the game with the Baron and me where Bonds tied the Babe (I think that was the game -- Baron, help me if my memory is wrong). He kept saying, like a mantra, "Soon we'll be at a Giants game, in the best seats, eating garlic fries, watching Lowry and Rajai Davis and Freddie Lewis ... maybe you can say hi to Dave Flemming ... I bet they'll let us up in the booth ... you could get an autograph on your sweatshirt ... we'll be sitting there watching baseball soon!" All this was his way of saying I will get my life back from this thing. I didn't believe him. I thought there was no way I would ever be anything again but bedridden and sick, never in a million years able to travel to Mays Field or sit up through a nine-inning game or even half of a game. Sure, Daddy, I said through my drug-induced haze. Sure we will.
And my husband talked baseball with me. When I was at my most anxious and tweaky, waiting for sedatives or benzos or painkillers to kick in, we listed all the teams by league, and then by division, and then by region. And we talked about the Giants, who was going to be in, who was going to get traded. We made up our own dozens of potential lineups. I think I stole a few of mine from this site.
Speaking of this site. I had my laptop in the hospital and checked McChrons obsessively, even though I didn't log in and didn't post and didn't comment. I read every diary, I read every comment in Grant's posts. I think I even read all of Grant's posts.
Sometimes I would spend an hour here, reloading to see if there were new comments, cross-referencing on espn or mlb or Lefty's site for stuff that was mentioned here, reading player bios on Wikipedia and then reloading here again to see yet more new comments. When you're in the hospital and very very sick and attached to IV drips and other unpleasant tubes, an hour of distraction is worth a lot.
I have some funny hospital stories about baseball. I had more blood drawn than I can even retell, and I used to be squicky about needles before all this. Now I don't think it would faze me (but we'll find out Thursday when I go in for more tests). When they try to get blood from a vein of someone who's dehydrated, already underweight, and tense, it's often extremely hard. The blood won't come out into the tube. It's like the vein squeezes itself closed. This happened to me a lot. Nurses would poke around, trying to find a vein that would give it up. There's one thing that would calm me and my blood down enough for them to get a draw, and my mom and my husband said it was one of the weirder things they'd ever seen. So did the nurses. What would happen was I would close my eyes, drop my voice into a monotone and start talking about some aspect of baseball like I was in some kind of weird trance. By the time I would get into why steroid use became a viable option for minor leaguers who otherwise risked living their lives on $300 a week (or whatever) the blood draw would be done and the nurse would be looking at me with an odd expression. I remember lecturing on why Eliezer Alfonzo was such a compelling personality, and why the Rockies lost the Series.
I'm three weeks out of surgery today. I'm at home, recuperating and eating and exercising, and still reading this blog and every other bit of baseball reading I can. Friends have sent me more baseball books than I can count. I haven't gained any weight back, and I'm still suffering from major, major depression and debilitating anxiety -- all of which everyone from surgeons on down says is normal. Look at what you've been through, and it's not over yet, they say. Normal, normal, normal. Slowly, even though there are huge changes to my body and mind, life really is getting back to normal. For two months my mother and my mother-in-law were living with us. Last weekend they both went home. It's been four days with just my husband and me in the house, and all I usually want is to be alone, after three months of no time alone that wasn't filled with the darkest thoughts possible. Now, I spend time alone with the space heater, a good book, and a cup of ginger tea and a plate of Vanilla Wafers. And when I'm with my husband I don't talk about how awful everything is. I talk about normal stuff. We talk about baseball but not as a means to distract me, just because it's a good topic. Him: We signed Scott Williamson. Me: Who?
And soon, there will be baseball. In two days, on Valentine's Day, pitchers and catchers will report and there will be what to read about in the Mercury News sports section every day and on SFGate and on Giants Jottings. Starting Feb. 28 there will be baseball. Broadcasts on the radio; Jon Miller and Dave Flemming, by the grace of God and technology. In between days there will be Doug Greenwald thanks to our MLB radio subscription.
And my dad and I will go to that game. I'll eat garlic fries. I'll sit in whatever seat he wants to buy for me. I'll watch for Rajai Davis to come up on the big screen, at bat, like in the poster. I can't tell you guys how lucky I am to even be alive, I know that sounds dramatic but it's true. I want to thank you guys for keeping this site active all winter, and I especially want to thank the one Ms. Von Current Events for keeping in touch with me despite my agoraphobia. I'm getting out again, seeing some people, working a little bit. Wearing hats because of the hair loss, wearing huge clothes because of the surgery and weight loss, but still here and alive and getting better for now.
We'll be at a game sometime soon, possibly April or May. Maybe I'll see some of you there.