He was young, so how could he had been so fat. Nobody was *that* overweight in the ‘50s. And that excess of his never looked natural; with his bulbous face shaped by untrained, supple skin. For so long it made the kind of sense that didn’t, but the unease about it was largely unconscious since he wasn’t—and hadn’t ever been—around to make anyone really care about what exactly had been up with him. But within that something-is-off-here heft, he looked like he had been a decent and gentle man, like grandma had always said. And we didn’t have to share the genes of the asshole who came later—the one who we actually knew and for that reason did not get a funeral.
I never thought about it too much until she came home and said 30%. And then I still didn’t think about it through the ER visits, the precipitous surgeries collection, the marathon years of dialysis, the hopelessness of fixed incomes and never-worthy world views. And all of the medical people—except for the nephrologist—offered the generic treatment and contempt reserved for type II diabetics. Maybe it doesn’t really matter at the end of an organ’s service life; the aftermarket parts listing is the same for everyone. It changed her life all the same. It is what it is. Rather, it was what it was. And unlike with him, life could go on.
I’m not a good snowboarder. I’d just figured out the toe edge and pathetically toddled my way down the mountain thereon as people half my age lapped me time and again. I took one fall, two falls, three falls, to perhaps a total of six falls? The mountain had become sooooooo icy that day. I preferred to fall on my left side. So afterwards, that side was the one that hurt. But I managed to sleep. And the next night it still hurt. And I managed to sleep, get up, go to work, come home.
Then I couldn’t sleep.
I went in and pointed to the left flank. They took pictures. And that night I found out that in patient reporting, a radiologist’s interpretation and perspective is typically summarized by the word ‘unremarkable.’ But when it’s the first time ever hearing a doctor say “You have the most remarkable scan I’ve ever seen,” your 4-in-the-morning mind immediately questions whether you might have superpowers. The reality is, of course, far more boring.
“Did you know you have cysts? You ruptured several of them,” and the brief moment I had in the CT tube thinking ‘maybe this is when I find out for sure’ is then a premonition. A really boring one.
I came home and looked at late granddad’s picture.
Oh, it’s fluid.
God that must have been miserable.