and I do appreciate you being ’round


The time has come for a personal reckoning, and since I have this little slice of the internet to bleat on, you – the reader – are going to be my witness to my testimony.

After this weekend of another health emergency, I’ve had it. I’m drawing a line. I am putting myself back together after a year of falling apart.

Just so it is in one place, I’m going to indulge in a laundry list of what has occurred over the last eighteen months. Feel free to turn away at any point; this will be the blog equivalent of a burning car on the freeway by which you are both compelled and repulsed.

• In February 2011, I get the worst kidney stone of my life, taking a week of my life away while we were moving, and going beyond pain into psychological terror.

• I get strep throat for my birthday. In all, I get strep throat four times.

• In addition to strep, I test positive for both flus despite having the shot, leading to four sinus infections. My otolaryngologist looks at the chart: I’ve been on 18 antibiotics in four years.

• In September, random metal dust from a Dremel embeds in my forehead, giving me a staph infection that bloats up my face like an alien.

• After Christmas, I get a stomach flu while also having strep.

• In Hawaii, we are tortured on a boat for three hours and then I follow it up by ruining my own vacation.

• I finally have deviated septum surgery that turns out to be far more dreadful than I imagined.

• With a slight spring in my step, we come to New York for my birthday last weekend, and without going into any details, I end up in the hospital getting emergency colonorectal surgery.


my amazing surgeon today: “tell your wife you impressed us, and we’re never impressed.”

Bored yet? Oh god, so am I. I’m worse than bored; I’m demoralized, scared and numb mixed together in a froth of unending tedium.

Every single event above was a MOTHERFUCKING TEST OF MY ENDURANCE. During all of them, I kept saying to myself “just another five minutes, anything is bearable for five minutes” before spiraling off into delirium. But that shit stops NOW.

I am not content with merely surviving. I am not “thrilled just to be here.” I want my fucking life back. Like Greg H. sang, “I want to love and hate and kiss and kill” and I just don’t want to think about this shit anymore.

Yes, there are people suffering through much worse, and many of our close friends are going through things I can’t imagine. But this is my only vessel, and it has long since gone past ridiculous.

The worst part is the lack of self-sufficiency, the lack of manhood, the feeling that you would disintegrate were it not for the kindness of the world around you. I need to thank you. I need to thank Lars Lucier, and Monica Nordhaus, and Jamie Block. I need to thank my brother Sean, and my sister Melissa, and my mom. But most of all, I need to thank the Lulubeans for being such a stalwart little soul, and of course, my wife Tessa – no words can capture her spirit, her patience, nor the size of her heart.

How did I get to be among such people? How do y’all put up with this crap? Perhaps Julie Andrews got it when she sang the second-worst song from “The Sound of Music”: “maybe in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”

I need some sort of silent, fundamental shift. I will point in a slightly better direction.

I will not fall apart.

I will not fall apart.

14 thoughts on “and I do appreciate you being ’round

  1. tpq

    I’m glad we caught you during a healthy stretch this winter. Having had 4 kidney stones over the years, I can appreciate the absolute “bring you to our knees pain”. You think you’re going to die, but you’re afraid you won’t. Here’s hoping for a healthy summer. (Take it one season at a time at this point.) If that doesn’t work, come on over to Hong Kong and we’ll set you up with some good Chinese medicine. Tim

  2. Caitlin

    Wow, Ian. So sorry about the surgery. Here’s hoping that they have you on a generous morphine PCA. You have permission to yell at the intern who comes by to examine your surgical incision at 5 AM and make them come back at a civilized hour.
    I put up with this crap by remaining well defended against the possibility (no, inevitability) of ending up in the patient camp. So well defended that I walked around for 3 days with a blood clot in my leg after a long flight, wondering when it was going to stop hurting.

  3. Kjf

    My life was like that about 10 yrs ago when I wanted to get airline miles for my ridiculous amount of medical visits. I even had a visit to an ER in Berlin that made me suspicious that the Nazis were back in power. And then miraculously one day it stops. Just like that. I think the body just says that’s enough because I have no other explanation. But until that day just keep telling yourself you already met your deductible. Be well.

  4. Laurie

    Oy! Where are you now? We happen to have lots of hospital experience of late and Polly has many extra in-bed craft projects and activities at the ready. Can we try to entertain you?

  5. Cindy

    Wow – that is sooo much! However, it is making me feel better about enduring through this stomach pain I am having because I decided I did not want to look middle aged and had my belly fat frozen (Cool sculpting) last Friday. Apparently, the discomfort, swelling, and stinging may last for another 10 days. It helps me that others (like you) had to endure more. Not sure that helps you though.

  6. Ehren

    Wow, Ian. This blows. My own medical issues have been super annoying and psychologically trying, and you have my utmost sympathy. Yoish.

  7. Tammy O.

    There’s probably no way that quoting Big Trouble in Little China can help here, but I just can’t help thinking that Jack Burton would have something thoughtful to say about this.
    “Just remember what ol’ Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, ‘Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.'”
    Maybe? I hope you’re mending well! I’ve seen too many of my friends and family members go through medical hell this past year. Here’s hoping for brighter and healthier days!

  8. Julie

    Wow Ian. I am so sorry. I hope the post-op recovery is quick and relatively pain free. Hopefully this summer is all about good health.

  9. GFWD

    Rectum? Damn near killed him!
    Hang on and keep sitting on the little doughnut the doctors gave you.

  10. Brad

    That’s terrible, man. Hopefully the sinus related stuff is gone for good so at least there’s that. Probably doesn’t help with your butt or your heart feelings though.

  11. Funky Heel

    You have every right to indulge. That sounds beyond awful. Here’s to hoping that you’re just getting through all of your illness karma in one giant mofo of a year and will be long healthy for ions after. If it’s any consolation, the love and gratitude you have for your family shines through so very sweetly in your posts.

  12. Salem

    Firstly, (insert Hamster joke, wherein Doctor is impressed).
    Secondly, though slightly more importantly, I am so grateful that I am reading your words of this fucking miserable ordeal, not a guest blogger explaining an extended hospital stay.
    If the love and appreciation of your friends was a vaccine, you would have powers of invincibility, but since that doesn’t seem to prevent this bullshit, I’m hoping it speeds your recovery and provides a little extra push in the direction of that fundamental shift. Love ya- get well.

  13. Annie

    We are all behind you a thousandfold. And remembering hard days you helped us through. And sending love.

  14. Anne

    That is one epic rough patch, Ian. I am so sorry for your suffering… I have almost zero pain-tolerance myself, so I was cringing in empathy as I read your sorry tale.
    Hope they fixed whatever was amiss in your lower GI and you can recover and start being healthy.
    This may sound ridiculous, but I wonder if there is any chance that taking dex. daily, if you’re still doing so, is causing your body to be in extended overdrive and thus exhausted/susceptible to crap. I took Concerta for a year when I still had insurance that covered it, and while it definitely helped me stay alert and productive during the day, I began to have this … stretched-out feeling. As if my mind was churning on and on, whoopee, but my body was flagging. I would go off the med every Saturday and sleep almost all day. Anyway, just a bizarre thought from a lifelong hypochondriac.
    We’re rooting for you!


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