Must Be This Healthy To Ride

I was only hospitalized for 24 hours. But I was sick much longer. I'm sorry for disappearing.

I was only hospitalized for 24 hours. But I was sick much longer. I’m sorry for disappearing.

Because I have a wicked imagination and scare easily, I thought I might be dying.

An infection in one of my tonsils was causing a type of pain I’d never felt before. Visions of Roger Ebert were flashing through my head for more than a week.

Maybe I have a tumor.

Maybe I have throat cancer.

Maybe I’m going to lose my ability to speak.

Maybe I’m going to die.

So, I’m a little dramatic. Sue me. It REALLY hurt.

I saw my third doctor in 10 days, and one quick look at my mouth and she admitted me directly to a local hospital Wednesday morning.

It was my son’s 6th birthday. I was devastated.

The tonsil infection required a very short, very minor, but extraordinarily painful surgery. I mouthed bad words at the surgeon and beamed I hate you messages to her through my tear-filled eyes.

But things got much better after that.

My fear of imminent death dissipated. Intense pressure which had built up in the back of my throat and mouth and jaw and ear, began to release.

I took Percocet for the first time. It’s lovely.

My mother was in town for my son’s birthday. She was an incredible help. My ex-wife graciously visited with my son so he could open presents from me in my hospital room.

The combination of spending that short time with him and seeing him smiling on his birthday, combined with healing and painkillers helped turn things around.

I’m sorry for disappearing.

Before I knew what was happening, I wrote an unpublished post earlier this week titled “If This Is My Last Post.” I wanted to write whatever I thought were appropriate last words in the off-chance I was dying. But there was so much sickness and discomfort, I could never get it ready for publication. Perhaps I’ll revisit it one day.

This is my 300th post.

I wanted to write something special to commemorate it but as the past two weeks—hell, the past 35 years—have taught me, life just happens.

So, I don’t have anything special for #300.

Just this note: I’m still alive.

Maybe it’s an opportunity to think about second chances and to think further about what it is I really want to accomplish in this life.

Maybe it’s an opportunity to zone out on painkillers and watch a bunch of Netflix.

I feel like big changes are coming in my life.

Changes that could be hard, but with lasting benefits—kind of like my hospital procedure.

Dynamics in personal relationships are changing.

My lifestyle may have to change.

My address may have to change.

The only constant in this life is change.

What choice do we have but to rise up and embrace what’s coming? Good or bad, don’t we want every moment to be the best it can possibly be?

I know I do.

I made the mistake of writing on more than one occasion that I “kind of wanted to die.” Just because it all hurt so bad when my family went away.

And I was wrong about that.

Because I was scared of death and more this past week. But not just yet. Breathe. In, then out. Still here.

And that’s a good thing.

As it breaks, the summer will wake

But the winter will wash what is left, of the taste

As it breaks, the summer will warm

But the winter will crave what has gone

Will crave what has all

Gone away

People change

But you know some people never do

You know—when people change

They gain a peace, but they lose one too.

– Future Islands, Seasons Change (Waiting on You)

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66 thoughts on “Must Be This Healthy To Ride

  1. sariscorner says:

    Wow… today I thought about that I haven’t seen a post from you in a while and was wondering what kept you from blogging as I wasn’t used to that long a break… good to know to are on the right track again! And as the Dutchies say: Beterschaap! ;)


  2. “What choice do we have but to rise up and embrace what’s coming?”…..I think I’m still in the “go, kicking and screaming, phase” it’s certainly more dramatic. SO glad you are well and back at the keyboard. I can almost hear The Hallelujah Chorus….and it sounds divine!


  3. completelyinthedark says:

    Glad you’re better! Take care of yourself and heal up. Good to hear change is in the wind. Hoping all boats rise with that change ;-) cheers Mike


  4. Sarah says:

    I was wondering where you’ve been! Glad you’re on the mend!


  5. jeff says:

    Really glad you’re doing better matt. Take it easy for awhile. Hope you are excited for these changes.
    I’m not ready to apologize for wanting to die yet. I still do sometimes. I suppose those feelings may end someday. However, its tough when every time I talk with her I get reminded that, according to her, everything is 100% my fault. Kinda tough when all you ever wanted was to make your family happy, but always felt like I fell short. Maybe it was a self fulfilling prophecy!
    Can’t wait for new and exciting worlds to open up. Thanks again matt for giving me a little clarity.
    Gotta love percocets! Haha


    • Matt says:

      It’s the hardest thing I ever did, being where you are now.

      I don’t know where I am now. A little more than a year later. I just know it’s better. And I very much hope that will be your experience, too.

      Appreciate the note, sir.


  6. C.C. says:

    “I’m still alive” is as good a commemoration as any for your 300th post. Beats the alternative :-) Glad to hear you’re on the mend.


    • Matt says:

      Many thanks. A #300 announcing my demise from the Great Beyond would have been pretty rad, too. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t been done before!


  7. elainecanham says:

    Yes, I too was wondering where you where. Honestly. Tonsils! Get better soon


  8. Glad the surgery helped and hope you are well on the path of recovery!


  9. Verity says:

    SO GOOD to see you Matt, I was about to send out the search parties!!. And so glad you are on the mend.

    ‘The only constant is change’ is just too true. If we can accept that and embrace it then we should consider ourselves incredibly lucky. It means that we are much better prepared for the shit that life can throw at us!!

    Well done too on post #300


    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Verity. It’s so nice that people don’t wish me dead.

      I am on the mend, and should be all the way back to health in a couple days. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I can live with this because it’s much better than before.

      I hope all is well for you and that you’re in the midst of creating something wonderful. Talk to you.


  10. RR says:

    Kudos, for making it through – fear is only as crippling as you allow it to be; a change in perspective may come whether you want it to or not and may be all the change you need.


  11. So glad you’re on the road to recovery. I was missing your posts and thinking it was unlike you to just vanish, so I’m relieved you’re back in action. And I can’t think of anything MORE special to celebrate post #300 than appreciating the fact that you’re alive. After my brush with the reaper in 1999, I REALLY appreciate birthdays :)


    • Matt says:

      It is unlike me to just vanish. I promise to try and not do that again.

      We like to complain about birthdays as we age. But we really should celebrate them. We’re so lucky to be alive.


  12. Congratulations with your post no. 300, might be today your new life will begin. Good to see you back Matt :-)


  13. I remember six months post separation I had a read and swollen foot and all sorts of life-threatening images came into my mind. I too myself off to the emergency room only to lose it when they asked me ‘who is your next of kin’.
    Whatever the health issue, it is much harder when alone and you have soldiered your ordeal admirably. I am glad you are feeling better and congratulations on 300 posts.


    • Matt says:

      Thank you. It’s nice to be feeling better.

      It does put your life in perspective a little when you check yourself into the hospital and list your ex-wife as your emergency contact because there’s no one else.

      Made me pause and think.


  14. suzjones says:

    I’m glad that you have been treated and are on the mend now. So all the forces in the universe aligned to have your mother there at that time? That is such a blessing. And it is also a blessing that your ex brought your son up to the hospital to be with you on his birthday. Wow! From pain and sadness, good things come.
    Be well my friend.


  15. I’m glad you are alive and well. I was looking for your post last night. Wow! Talk about getting some perspective. Best wishes. Johanna


  16. DailyMusings says:

    I actually checked your blog yesterday because I thought I had missed your posts. Glad you are recovering from what sounds like a scary ordeal. You definitely were missed. Feel better .


    • Matt says:

      It wasn’t as scary once the doctor knew what we were looking at and explained it to me. But when I didn’t have any information? I was certainly worried.

      Thank you for the well wishes! I think all will be well.


  17. jgroeber says:

    Ice cream? Beer? Napping with your son? Whatever will help you to a speedy recovery, I wish for you. Congrats on 300. Cheers to 300 more. You were missed.


    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Jen. I hope I have 300 more rattling around in here somewhere. Have a beautiful weekend with your family, please!


      • jgroeber says:

        Wonderful weekend to you, too. Hopefully some father’s day magic headed your way. And even the lousy weekends are fodder for figuring something out blog-style. (In fact, sometimes they’re especially reflection-worthy.)


  18. mel says:

    Oh my, that sounds horrible! I get tonsilitis every now and then, drs always want to take them out, but I don’t want surgery. Yuck.

    I hope you heal very quickly!! <3


    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Mel! As I understand it, the surgery is very, very, very unpleasant for adults.

      Two-week recovery is what I’m hearing. That may still have to happen one day. We’ll see.


      • mel says:

        If you go through with it, let me know… A friend of mine had her tonsils removed at 29, 1 year after Cesarean surgery. She said she would’ve rather had the C-section 10 more times… Ugh.


  19. garden2day says:

    Matt, what a post! So sorry to hear of this. Wishing you the best! To feel so out of control is the worst and to not know what is happening (the cause)…that’s awful, too. But, fixing the problem …and… percocet…. that is PRICELESS!

    The belly shots were the worst to me–even worse than IVs and getting stuck every so many times a day. I’m still recouping from my little stay last month. Hoping for a brighter tomorrow :) . Take care!!! – Amy


    • Matt says:

      It’s a gorgeous day. I have a little lawn work to do, then it’s off to my son’s birthday party later this afternoon.

      Hard to imagine it being anything but good. :)


  20. Just don’t stop.


  21. ivansblogworld says:

    Excellent post as always. Glad you saw doctor number 3, who sorted you out. Glad you saw your son with your ex wife, glad your Mom in town. And glad that I can read you posts. Get well soon. Ivan


    • Matt says:


      Good to see you, sir! Thank you. Really appreciate you taking a minute to say hi. Things are getting better. All the time.

      Hope the same is true in your life.


      • ivansblogworld says:

        All good on my side, and because of one your blog postings I did a post today on hope. So I thank you sir, because of your blog it got me thinking about something which led to my post on HOPE. And lastly hope that you well on your well to a full recovery. Ivan.


  22. tuttotace says:

    Welcome back, I’m glad you’re still alive 😄


  23. It’s the curse of a creative imagination running wild… I think I have cancer at least a few times a year. :) And yes, I call it being creative and not being neurotic! Glad you’re feeling better, that sounds like it was pretty miserable!


    • Matt says:

      Right!?!? I’m glad you know what I’m talking about.

      Extreme pain, combined with the unknown, combined with my imagination?


      Just how my brain works. *shrug*

      Thanks for the note, Gretchen. :)


  24. I am glad to see you are healthy and recovering. I am also glad to see you are a normal male, that is a jab at the normal (pain and sickness thing you all do).

    Sorry you had to see three docs to get sorted.

    Glad you saw your son!

    Now, sit with a good iced tequila and you will be just fine, promise.


    • Matt says:

      I don’t think I’m supposed to drink tequila with the percocets… I think that’s REALLY fun.

      I’m just going to behave myself and get better, I think. But the tequila will resume soon enough. I have a 4th of July trip planned to the place where we sip it frequently.


  25. Samara says:

    I have a low threshold for pain, and a high sense of drama. I’d have thought I was dying, too.

    I’m glad you’re weren’t, and you didn’t, and you’re back. Yay!


    • Matt says:

      Thank you. This entire week has been a blur. It really has. I slept ’til 11 a.m. this morning. 11 a.m.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I was in college the last time that happened.

      So, things are a little “off.” But looking up, I think.

      Thank you for saying hi. I’m pleased to not be dead.


  26. Samara says:

    “You’re weren’t”? Ugh. And I’m not even on Percocet.


  27. Matt says:

    I liked it.

    I’m glad you’re weren’t.

    Four words. Three contractions.

    It’s good shit.


  28. anitvan says:

    Almost didn’t check the feed today (cuz it’s the Saturday Post, which apparently no one reads :p) but I’m glad I did. So sorry to hear about your recent troubles! Hope it’s a smooth recovery for you.

    I missed my first grandchild’s first birthday having emergency surgery. That sucked.


  29. Dawn says:

    Glad to have you back. Glad you didn’t die. I had my tonsils out when I was 32. Sucked big time…me alone with two toddlers, unable to speak, unable (but determined) to eat. My ex took the day of the surgery off, that was it. His mother came and stayed one day, she didn’t talk to me the whole time she was here. Aaahhh….the memories.

    BTW…did I mention it’s nice to have you back :)


  30. OHkls says:

    Missed you, Matt. Happy you are feeling better. Tonsils suck! Mine were removed (thankfully) in the fifth grade, but I remember all too well the pain of getting sick when I had them.

    Gorgeous day for a birthday party. Glad you are feeling well enough to enjoy it. Happy B-Day to your little man.


  31. Roxanne says:

    Glad you’re back! I hope you continue to feel better! I was dealing with a really bad sickness in April and it was HELL so I could not wait to feel better and get back to normal life. I told myself then to never unappreciate being healthy. TRUST ME. being healthy is the most important thing. cause when you feel like shit, you just feel DOWN. or at least i did… i cried every day for like 3 weeks.

    BUT i’m better now. and I am so happy. And SO THANKFUL for a day that i wake up happy & healthy,
    Happy 300th post!


  32. JujyCakes says:

    I was wondering where you were. Here I was thinking you were writing a wonderful story about Father’s Day…Hope you feel better soon, maybe this was a sign from the universe.

    Ha ha…I’ve had those. Once, I spent a whole day in the ER only to find out after all the tests for the pain that was 8 (on a scale from 1-10), that I had appendicitis without all the usual presenting symptoms. It wasn’t a funny day by any means.

    Take good care of you, and have a nice Father’s Day! I’m sure your little boy wants to spoil you like crazy. Enjoy!


  33. dawnkinster says:

    I think “I’m still alive.” is an excellent way to celebrate #300. Happy Father’s Day a day late.


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