BLOG: Being Thankful

It’s 2 AM, Thanksgiving is officially over, and I now lay in bed hammering away at my keyboard. It’s one of those nights where your brain is so full that sleep is not an option…aided by the food coma nap that I took earlier this evening.

After the past couple of months I’ve had, I’m thankful I was able to eat.

Some readers (one reader? Who actually reads this?) may not know this, but I took a two-week hiatus almost immediately after the InstaRamSU launch. After intense pains in my head and throat, lots of vomiting, and the inability to move, I was rushed to the emergency room at the end of this September. I was diagnosed with a peritonsillar abscess – an infection that formed behind my tonsil had caused a growth. The growth irritated my tonsils to the point that they were touching each other and almost completely blocking my airway. After one surgery and a bit of observation, I was discharged with a prescription. Mere hours later, I began vomiting blood and was in tears with severe chest pains. Worse than before, I could not move from my bed. I was taken in an ambulance – all while my friends sat in class, as nobody knew about my condition. I was rushed into a busy ward and immediately given a room. The abscess had reformed, and another surgery was necessary.

I was officially admitted to Mass General Hospital. After the first relapse, doctors were concerned about letting me go again. Because of this, I remained there for a full week. In this time, I had a catscan, an X-ray, an ultrasound, and at least a dozen blood tests. For the first four days, my only nutrients came from an IV, and I was unable to eat on my own. I was given large doses of morphine multiple times a day. I didn’t walk until day 6. Worst of all, I was lonely.

I lost almost 10 pounds in the hospital. It took a full three weeks for my eating habits to recover. For the first week, I struggled to get down soup and yogurt and watched as my weight continued to slip. For THAT reason, I am beyond thankful that I was able to gorge myself this afternoon.

That time I spent in the hospital, though insignificant to most of my friends (a week of absence wasn’t much in their eyes, since they were busy), completely changed my life.

I am thankful for my fellow InstaRammer, Erica. She visited me three times, bringing me a jar of Nutella and a stuffed animal that we named something NSFW. When she visited, it was never out of charity or pity, but out of genuine desire to spend time with me and make me feel better. Having her around, I was actually able to laugh at my situation. Erica was like sunshine in a giant cloud of unhappiness during this whole experience.

I am thankful for the PAO office staff – not only for the beautiful flowers they sent, but actually calling me and paying me for an hour of work as I sat helplessly and watched the program continue without me. They made me realize that somewhere, I was genuinely missed, and that I was still needed.

I am thankful for Breanna, who ran Sketch Comedy auditions without my presence, after we had planned them out together. She’s the reason we have the remarkable cast we have now.

I am thankful for my beautiful friend Anna, the most genuine soul I have ever met, for waiting in the waiting room for over an hour until I was able to have visitors. For coming to visit me multiple times, and bringing me the most fantastically unique gift I’ve ever received. Her friendship means more to me than she realizes.

I am thankful for my parents, who each drove a couple of hours every day to come in to see me, despite the fact that they divorced almost 17 years ago. I am thankful for my dad who took the entire week off work just to be there to keep me company. I am thankful for his games of Scrabble and for holding my hand as I sobbed. I am thankful for Mom, who has always been my rock, for coming up just to be there as I slept, and bringing me dozens of cards from all of her students. She always makes me smile, and the strength I have found in her over the 16 years we spent with just the two of us gives me something I aspire to be someday.

One person I actually have to thank, who I will never have enough words for, is Andy Cataluna. After my first release, when I began vomiting blood, I was unable to speak or even move. It was him who dialed 911 on my behalf, which may have saved my life. And during my recovery – For coming over to my apartment and doing my laundry when I was too weak to do it myself. For coming over multiple nights to help me with meaningless tasks I was too weak to complete myself. For being patient with me when my pain and lack of nutrient made me angry. I’ve never had such a remarkable man in my life before. To this day, he still puts up with my yelling at him on days that I’m stressed out, and my 3 AM phonecalls on nights I can’t sleep. I don’t know why anyone would do that for me (I certainly don’t deserve it) but to have someone like him in my life, I am eternally grateful.

Thank you to all of these people who have made me feel like I belonged somewhere, and for giving me strength in my time of need. Most of you I’ve mentioned, I haven’t known longer than a year, but the love I have found makes me hopeful that there really are genuinely wonderful people in this world.

They are what I am thankful for.
~ Corinne DeCost