Some of you might remember that after returning from Northern Africa in 1998 I was hammered by a disease that left me as pretty much a burned-out husk. Seeing as I've never been much more than a husk anyway, this was fairly traumatic. I'd been unable to eat or to keep food down and I just withered away. After this illness seemed to burn itself out, I ended up taking the whole summer to get my full strength and weight back. The doctors presumed that I had picked up some kind of bug in Tunisia and, my body having dealt with it, that was that.
Then, this Labor Day, it returned. I hadn't been eating much the last month anyway, but during the heat of the summer, I often lose some of my appetite so I didn't really take note of it. But over the weekend I began throwing up again and I realized that the bug was back. It wasn't as strong this time, but I ended up missing some days of school and when I did return to teaching, I did so propped up in a chair at the front of my class, teaching ex cathedra. I became terribly behind in my work, but muddled along. It was a bit tough at this time, as I began to wonder if my symptoms might be indicative of something more serious, such as colon cancer, which I'm more susceptable to because of a colon disease I have. I continued to consult with my physicians and this time, interior examinations (for which I was mercifully doped out of my mind) revealed that instead of having some African virus as originally supposed, I was merely suffering from some silly disorder of the stomach called Acid Reflux. No exotic African hoopla. I am medicated and seem to be doing pretty well. In fact, the drug therapy I had to undergo included a generous dose of steroids and I've become bigger than I've ever been which, of course, considering me, means that I'm still as skinny as your typical giraffe.
It was a strange experience, starving in an apartment full of food. I dropped down to a meager 115 pounds and found myself barely able to walk at times. I found that real hunger leaves a person so without energy that even desire and emotion don't seem possible: it's simply too much work. At one point, before the doctors finally figured out what was wrong with me, I began to wonder if I may really die. I have no fear of death as such. I am convinced more and more as the years go on of the reality of the Resurrection, but I found myself overwhelmed by sadness at the thought of a life that somehow seemed incomplete. Perhaps the saddest thing is that now that I write this, I have no idea what that incompleteness is--what it is that I feel that I lack. I know that I simply want to live my life more. Maybe that's enough, but there's a new restlessness that I've been feeling since I was sick. It's got me considering new paths and opportunities....