December 19, 2010

Starring in a Sit-Com

Ever have a meltdown? Well, I had a fun one yesterday. I tell this not to whine about the adventures of the last week or so, but to share how important it is to keep the big picture in focus.

While I was very glad to be able to spend the three days and nights with Ken in ICU, obviously there come with that a few inconveniences. To say that I was operating on a minimal amount of food and sleep would be an understatement. So when we got settled into a normal room on Friday and our friends brought Camille and Caroline by, my first priority was to gobble down the lunch they brought me, then take a nap. The nap turned into an all day affair that lasted all night as well, so dinner wasn’t so important.

I say all that to explain that I came into Saturday in a food deficit. I realized at lunchtime that I’d really like to have some good old Paraguayan pizza, rather than the fried food offered in the hospital restaurant. The nurse told me I could request pizza from the restaurant if I called a certain number. Ten minutes and four or five phone calls and transfers later, I learned that no one in the hospital would make pizza or alter the menu to help me get something I thought my belly could tolerate.

Like any good American, I got online and found three pizzerias that made deliveries and began calling around. It was about 2:00 by then. Let me mention that I have an allergy to tomatoes, so I never eat pizza in the States. But here, most pizza doesn’t have the red sauce and is basically cheesy bread with oregano, olives, and corn. At least, that’s my favorite version of it. So the only place that would deliver at that hour was Pizza Hut. They told me they would not, could not sell me the pizza without sauce. I suspect that they get their pizzas directly from the US and just pop them in an oven, because they are EXACTLY like pizzas from home.

The next place I tried said they wouldn’t be open until 5:30 PM, and the third one at 7:00 PM. I decided to wait it out. At dead on 5:30, I called back only to be told that they’d not be getting started until 7:30 this time around. Okay, let’s wait till the third one opens at 7. On the dot, I called this place that advertised selling pizza by the meter (about a yard), and found that the minimum for delivery was ½ yard. Cool. I could eat some now, save the rest for tomorrow.

I waited the 30 minutes they told me to, then 45, then I went downstairs to hang out in the lobby. After a very lengthy phone conversation with the pizza operator, I was told that the delivery man was already there at the hospital somewhere, and I should try to find him. I walked all over some really shady places with some really shady people, before finding a motorcycle with the name of the restaurant on a box behind the driver, parked in the unlit back parking lot down a flight of stairs. I called out to the guy, who told me I’d have to come there because he couldn’t leave his motorcycle. And how is this termed delivery? At this point, I decided that my hunger was primal and I could fight off any attacker with sheer force of will to get to the food.

The guy handed over the pizza, and out of habit, I opened the box to see if it was correct. No need in getting back up a few flights of stairs and finding that it’s covered in sauce that I can’t eat, right? Well, the box was taped all the way around it, and when I tried to pull it open, the tape turned out to be stronger than the box. What I mean is, I pulled the tape and the bottom of the box ripped open. As I stared in disbelief at the pizza that dropped onto the filthy sidewalk, I just about lost it. No more strong girl holding it all together.

I felt like one of those movies where the chic runs off crying and everything on the screen is blurry. I held it in as best as possible as I ran up, up, up the stairs, opened the door, flung the box with the few remaining cold, hard pieces of pizza on the bedside table, and promptly shut myself into the bathroom to cry on the toilet. Poor Ken. He couldn’t figure out what was happening, and I couldn’t get enough breath to tell him.

After a few minutes of selfish pity, I remembered something a friend sent me when Ken was coming out of surgery… “Don’t let anything steal your joy in the Lord, because it will be your strength.” I remembered it the message and the scripture as plain as day and thanked the Lord for bringing it to my mind, and asked forgiveness for my silliness. Okay, enough whining Christie. Get out there and enjoy the pizza that DIDN’T fall out, with the man who DIDN’T have a heart attack, in the hospital room that DOES have a couch for you to sleep on and a hot shower for you to enjoy later. Perspective. I spent some time that night reading psalms of thanksgiving and counting my blessings. But I have to admit that I felt like one of those sit-coms where, just when you think the problem is going to resolve, it just keeps getting crazier and crazier. Ever have one of those days?


  1. OH MAN!!! What an experience!!! Well, I hope everything is now going well and that you folks have been able to have a quiet and peaceful Christmas holiday! :) We're praying for all of you and we send thoughts and hugs! Take care, enjoy the holiday week, and God bless!


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