My last day of work was April 26. I decided to leave my job as a social media marketer to focus on my upcoming surgeries and their respective recovery periods. From April 27 to today, I’ve sometimes felt as though I was a dying man, living out his final days. What things would I like to see? What would I like to do? What would I like to eat? Who would I want to spend time with?
Over the last week and a half, I’ve gone on long walks in a local park, relaxed with a really good book, did a little writing, spent time with family and friends, and I’ve seized the opportunity to eat burritos and pizza and burgers and fries while I still have my digestive system in its entirety. It’s not as though I’ll be precluded from doing any or all of these things after my surgeries, but it feels as though I’m approaching some sort of end. Not an end to life as a whole, but an end to the kind of life I’ve largely enjoyed for the last 28 years. A life in which I could eat with impunity, shit once a day, and look and feel like the majority of the population.
On Sunday, day two of my “last” weekend, I spent the afternoon with Jayee in High Park. Before that day, she asked if we could go to Ikea and Kitchen Stuff Plus, but she later sent me a text message that read, “Nevermind. Pick a park.” I think Jayee felt – as I did – that it was sort of a “last” Sunday together, and surrounding ourselves with Swedish furniture and horse-meatballs wouldn’t have been the best way to utilize it. So High Park it was. A chance to wander through the trees, meander near the water, and eat scrambled eggs, sausage, homefries, and toast at Lunchbox, a wonderful eatery located near the northeast corner of the park. We talked and laughed and took photos and fawned over the adorable dogs being walked by their humans. Then we found a shady spot beneath the pine trees, cuddled together, and stared up at the blue sky beyond the treetops. Jayee took the beautiful photo above. As much as I loved our day out, it still had its moments ulcerative colitis-related worry. I had to settle a couple of urges to use the bathroom, but managed to avoid any accidents. Before we hopped on the subway to head home, I had to use an appalling bathroom inside a Pizza Pizza. Usually I buy something from a store or restaurant when I use their facilities, but I didn’t think that gesture was warranted this time.
The day was simple, but just what I wanted – time outside the house, inside the greenery, on the dirt paths, and around the cherry blossoms. Most importantly, I spent it with who I wanted to spend my “remaining” time with. I don’t think something horrible will happen tomorrow, but in the very slight chance it does, I had my day out in the park with Jayee, and that’s what I’m going to remember tomorrow as I walk into the admitting department at Mount Sinai Hospital. I’ll remember it because I want it to drive me to get well and spend more days with her, staring at the sky above the treetops.