May 28, 2005

Turkey Part I

After surviving this trip to Boston, the next few years are a complete blur in my mind. I know what occurred but I am also unsure which caused which event.

In the early 90’s I begin having cold and hot chills. It was a bizarre symptom and I didn’t know where to go for help. Fortunately my mother graduated top of her class in television diagnosis and pre-med. That is to say, she usually knows the disease du jour before the doctors on television do.

Se suggested I see an endocrinologist and it so happened that a high school classmate’s father was just such a doctor. Dr. Kolodny knew in moments what was bothering me. It seem that the radiation used to treat me twenty years earlier had nicked the pituitary gland was causing ‘pituitary burn’. He began to investigate my problems and took blood samples and other tests to be sure. He started me on medicine and also on injections of testosterone. Finally someone was overseeing my obvious problems. One of the things he found was an abnormal cell count.

This led to further studies, and visits to oncologists and cardiologists and all sorts of fun tests. It was finally confirmed that my spleen was hugely swollen and had to be removed. Surgery was scheduled and out came the spleen. While they were ‘under the hood’ a liver biopsy was also performed. It seemed that problems with the liver were the cause of the problems in the spleen. They found I had cirrhosis.

My first problem was healing after surgery. I was being drained and otherwise cared for, but I was leaking fluid from my belly. It was so bad that in the hospital I would wake, my bed soaked with this liquid. I had the nurses changing my linens constantly and it was disgusting.

However, I am a fervent believer in self-advocacy. When the nurse said, sit up and cough, I was at it constantly. When they told me I could get up and walk, I walked all over the hospital floor. I was ready to leave the hospital and although there was still this leak, they let me go home. I went back to my place and prepared to convalesce. It was very nice. Many people called, sent cards or found ways to show their concern. When one day a letter came from the school, I was touched that someone in the administration had taken the time to write. However, rather than ‘Get Well’ wishes, the letter simply said that they’d no longer need my services for the coming year.

I was devastated. Rather than supporting me through this ordeal, they’d simply decided I was too great a risk to employ. Along with this news was the truth that I simply could not care for myself. They put me back into the hospital where I continued to leak from my abdomen. However, eventually I healed, was back at home and looking for work.

This is where things get very blurry. However there were several events that occurred. My sister met a man, and after due time, they decided to get married. She was so happy and it was lovely to see. A wedding was planned and my parents went all out. A yacht was hired. It was normally docked in Manhattan and the idea was to have the ceremony in the main salon, and then to have the boat circle New York City as the party ensued.
The yacht was big, gorgeous and offered space for everyone and everything. That morning, as my sister prepped, we all got into our finery and a limousine took us into the city. We were less than a mile from the ship when my mother casually asked my sister, “you have the veil, right?”

My sister’s reply was her face exploding into tears. In their haste to get done at home, they’d both assumed that the other had the veil. My sister’s wedding dress was picked out and one of the features was this veil. Suddenly the whole thing rested on a garment back on Long Island. My father however, told the limo driver to drop us all off at the boat, and took the limo into lower Manhattan where there were wedding shops and garment houses. Somehow, miraculously he returned a short time later with a veil. It wasn’t HER veil, it wasn’t even a duplicate of hers, but it was close and it was very special because of my father’s efforts to get a veil for his daughter.

I must tell you about my sister’s groom. He was slightly younger than she, and was from Turkey. He spoke English well, but not perfectly, which led to many occasions where he and we had no idea what the other was saying. For the wedding, his parents, sister and his nephew flew in. They were in town for over a week and as the bride’s family we took it upon ourselves to entertain them. Some days they went to see sites, other times we met for dinner and had a big family feast. At the end of each evening, like many Europeans, they departed with a small kiss on each of our cheeks. It was funny to watch these two families exchange kisses. Like football teams “high fiving” each other, we would go one at a time, “kiss kiss” and then move to the next. It was a bit awkward, but after a few days, it became the expected end of the day.

However, things changed. While we went through this tradition, when I got to John’s sister, instead of a peck on her cheeks, we were kissing with a lot more meaning, and not just on the cheeks. I was flattered and could not deny my attraction to this lady. Gulay was just a bit younger than I, and was gorgeous. However, she spoke virtually no English and I spoke no Turkish. The best we had was whatever her brother could translate and the phrases in a Berlitz travel book.

If I’d wanted to ask whether she accepted Traveler’s Checks, I was in luck, however anything deeper than that, and the book failed me. We did our best however and for the week or so she was around, we did a lot of smiling. The day that the family went back to Turkey was terrible. I had no idea what had begun, but was anxious to continue it. At the airport she told me she’d come back and with that…they left the curb and disappeared into the terminal. This was 1990 and what a way to begin the decade.

Posted by bbrother at May 28, 2005 11:42 PM | TrackBack

Oh my. This oughta be good...

Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 29, 2005 01:41 PM
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