That pretty well sums up this horrid season for the Toronto Blue Jays, and the last few months for me, following my surgery. My recovery has been slow and largely unsuccessful, and signs of improvement have been small and somewhat rare. My start-stop recovery has been marked with good experiences that get my hopes up, and setbacks that almost immediately follow those positive moments.
Let’s take last Sunday as an example. The day sort of unfolded as a setback sandwich (not to be confused with a compliment sandwich) – two upsetting experiences on either side of a fun experience. In the early hours of Sunday, around 1:15 a.m., I felt something wet on the side of my stomach. Startled, I flung off the covers, lifted my shirt, and noticed a leak from my ostomy appliance. I jumped out of bed and raced to the bathroom to survey the damage. Some liquid stool had seeped through the flange that covers my stoma. My yellow t-shirt had a few wet, brown spots on it. As I examined the area around the appliance, I noticed that my wound was oozing through its dressing. Yuck. Here’s the kicker – my homecare nurse had applied both the wound dressing and the ostomy appliance on Saturday morning. Neither covering lasted 24 hours. So in the middle of the night, I had to peel off my ostomy appliance and wound dressing, clean both areas, and stick some new shit back on my body. I put on a new t-shirt and sat on the edge of my bed at 2 a.m. I held my ostomy appliance against my stomach for about 15 minutes, trying to ensure a good seal, then nervously laid down to sleep.
I awoke Sunday morning with a sense of resolve to put last night’s shit behind me and enjoy what I had been looking forward to for weeks – a Blue Jays game with Jayee. We had decent seats on the third base side of the 200 level, where the seats are padded and easier on the drainage tube still stuck in my right buttock. After running a little behind schedule, Jayee’s friends Jameson and Ryan came to the rescue and gave us a ride to the ballpark. We arrived an hour ahead of the first pitch, ensuring we were among the first 20,000 fans to receive a Brett Lawrie bobblehead, the third and final bobblehead the Jays gave away this season. Yay! Of course I wasn’t looking forward to the game just because of the free figurine. I had a chance to sit back with Jayee and enjoy a live baseball game. We ate overly priced hot dogs, watched R.A. Dickey toss knuckleballs, yelled “happy birthday!” to Colby Rasmus, and cheered on an exciting bottom of the 9th inning comeback that ultimately fell short. The Oakland A’s came away with the win, but it was still an enjoyable game, made a little less enjoyable by two trips to the bathroom to empty my ostomy bag.
When Jayee and I made our way out of the stadium, I was dealing with a headache and some cramps. Figures, eh? We walked down Front Street from the Rogers Centre to Chipotle Mexican Grill. We ate tasty burritos – I had a bean-free chicken fajita burrito – and sat in the restaurant for a bit before I made another trip to the bathroom. We had planned on going back to Jayee’s house to hang out for a while after the game, but I was feeling lousy, crampy. I could tell that my stoma was going to have an active evening, as it usually does, not just after the consumption of a burrito. Jayee was disappointed, even more disappointed than when José Bautista left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 4th when he popped out to catcher Stephen Vogt to end the inning. But as patient and understanding as she is, she didn’t stay upset for long. Still, my stupid intestines got in the way of what should have been an enjoyable evening. Instead of hanging out with my girlfriend, I spent the evening at home in my room, hoping my ostomy appliance wouldn’t spring another leak and cursing Fox for airing the Teen Choice Awards instead of Family Guy.
So there, the setback sandwich – crappy start to the day, some fun in the middle, crappy end to the day. It would be great if I could string together a few good days to gather some positive momentum, but right now my body just doesn’t want me to get too happy. For now, it seems as though my little victories will be neutralized with losses, and then I’ll lose some more. Sort of like how the Blue Jays won 11 games in a row back in June and then stunk it up in the weeks that followed.
But hey, I’ll take the victories when I can get them. For example, Jayee and I completed our bobblehead collections for the 2013 season!