The Eye of the Storm

I recently watched an interview with one of Hurricane Isaac’s victims. An exhausted, frail and very sad woman stood in front of her devastated home, the ragged remnant of what was once her life. Blue skies overhead and balmy breezes belied what was to come; she was in the eye of the storm.

She told the story of how the storm hammered her home and thus her life. It did not care that it wiped out all she knew, hurling her and her loved ones to and fro with an indescribable fury, slamming them all into stunned silence – shock. And then it stopped.  For the moment it was rather peaceful but she knew what was to come; the storm was not finished with her yet. Standing there trying to wrap her mind around the reporter’s inane question – “How frightened were you?” I could sense her fear; it was primal, visceral, and real.  There, in the eye of the storm, she had but a short window of time to assess the damage, salvage what she could, and muster her strength before insanity rained down on her and her family again. Her eyes, boring into the reporter like a Black & Decker drill spoke volumes – “You’ll never know until you’ve been there, Honey. You’ll never know.”

Except for a five hour stint in the ER this week, Anthony has been hospital free for over forty days now. His infusion treatments are kicking in; he is gaining weight. He is reaching out and socializing again with his friends – small forays of fun, but forays just the same. He is in the eye of the storm. While we know there will be challenges ahead, especially after they put him back together later this year, he has a long road ahead working with his medical team to find his new normal.  We are taking this time of relative calm to look back, assess what the heck happened, and then to plan ahead as best we can. Every nook and cranny of his diet and lifestyle is under scrutiny as we search for the slightest threat to his compromised health. It is pretty much a crap shoot with this disease – you just never really know when the eye of the storm will pass or what is going to happen, or when it is going to happen or to what extent it is going to happen; so you do what you can in the moment and you do it in blind faith.

In the eye of the storm Anthony is not tethered to an IV, bound to an alarmed hospital bed where he can only peer at the outside world from a 6th floor hospital window. He has started putting his life back together, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. His house has been redecorated, representing his new beginnings – an outward manifestation of what is going on inside – a re-creation. He revels in the occasional cheese pizza, a food now severely limited for him, and he is back to leaping excitedly from his chair when Payton Manning throws yet another amazing pass. We are working together with Trudy, Bridget, Amber and Jo to build a Crohn’s community in our area; we look forward to our first fundraising walk just days away. He is, once again, on speaking terms with God.

The other day I watched him standing in our garden. I watched him lift his face to the sun, close his eyes and breathe deeply; I could see his soul reconstitute itself as he did so. Then, snapping on his trusty Yankees hat he flipped the bill to the back, donned his Ray Bans and headed out in his Jeep with a rightful, well-earned swagger.

It is only a matter of time when you are in the eye of the storm.