After your mom has the 7-millimeter aneurysm in her right middle cranial artery fixed, you’ve watched a You Tube clip of the same procedure on a different brain and your mom starts telling people she’ll be home in a week (the doctors smile and say it will probably be a few days longer), your depth of observation increases.
Life springs forth again with the realization everything is probably going to be okay. Your mom is a 1 percent, an anomaly in the ruptured aneurysm world and when the doctors come through, they don’t look serious or like they just took a deep breath.
You can start to actually read the book you bought rather than look at the words, notice they are in English, then flip the page without socializing with their meaning.
You notice the happy hour tacos at the place your mom told you to eat have lettuce in them, but three days ago wasn’t it a cabbage slaw? You also realize it’s taken you three days and eight happy hour tacos to realize the change in taco greenery.
You notice the fingernail on your right thumb is enormous, like you could probably clean a trout with it. You’ve already noticed the clothing, plus days, divided by washing, equation isn’t in your favor, but you try to forget that one. You vividly notice that the new nurse is an upgraded version of Rachel McAdams from Wedding Crashers. The best part is she is real smart and real, real. Not Rachel McAdams pretending to be your mom’s nurse.
Walking to dinner after nine hours in the ICU, you notice a man wearing a helmet, hospital gown but no shoes. With the help of your brother and Seattle Police Department, you get him returned to the hospital from which he escaped.
After working together, you can have a civil sibling...discussion about the last time you argued. Your brother is still wrong, of course, but at least you two and mom laugh about it.
In short you start living again. You remember there are fish in the rivers and you talk to your recovering mom about catching them. She reminds you she has the record coho salmon in the family which starts a conversation about other family records. Your brother has caught the biggest king salmon but you remind them about your 100 pound halibut.
You remember you have a job which you feel comfortable returning to since the doctors have done theirs. So you choose the first flight option provided by the internet machine because usually the first option is the earliest. You get to the airport at 7:30 in the morning, get through security and discover your flight is at 9:30 p.m. The first Alaska Airlines employee doesn’t want to be bothered by working something out for you, but the second one does. You’ll have to go through Portland, but it’s better than sitting around for twelve hours.
You notice that the girl who sits down next to you at the airport in Portland is reading an actual book, with pages, and words, plus the whole time you talk to her she never gets out her cell phone. Imagine that. After an hour she flies to San Francisco and you fly to Sacramento.
On your flight the girl next to you looks like something Seventeen Magazine threw up and she won’t put her phone away. You then realize further that that the six-foot, bronze-skinned, book-reading, massage therapist you visited with for an hour was impressive and you’ll never see her again.
So you take a deep breath and laugh because life isn’t completely serious anymore.
To contact Jeff Lund, email firstname.lastname@example.org.