Where Did the Summer Go?

Who IS this strapping guy? J.Hooligan, happily anticipating his final day at the King's Island LaRosa's.

Who IS this strapping guy? J.Hooligan, happily anticipating his final day at the King’s Island LaRosa’s.

We’re already a couple days into September. It’s hard to believe. When I look back over the summer, it’s like peering through a long, shadowy tunnel to a speck of light way back at the opening. What the hell happened? It seems a long way, yet over in a blink.

I didn’t realize just what a painful season it would be when I was all excited to welcome summer back at the start of June. As I posted here and here, increasing pain due to radiation damage necessitated spending every weekday morning in a hyperbaric chamber. I’m still stuck in that drill (forty-eight down, twelve to go if they follow protocol for the full sixty sessions). My overriding images of Summer 2015 have to include early drives over to Bethesda North hospital, changing into an enveloping gown and pants, being glided into the clear hyperbaric chamber, the sounds of the outside world fading away as the door was shut. I hadn’t watched HGTV since the days when shows were more about crafts and creative decorating than curb appeal and extreme homes, but HGTV became my channel of choice while gazing up at the flat screen through the clear dome of the chamber. Seeing people cope with renovation disasters was one thing that made me glad I was dealing with MY problems, not theirs.

The sessions themselves didn’t hurt; but the condition they were treating did, far more and far longer than I was hoping. Too often I had some episode after which I’d think, “God, that’s one of the worst things I’ve ever been through.” Before I knew it, I’d go through another flare-up of shuddering, hyperventilating pain. No, not every minute of every day. But no matter what I look back on, even happy things I did with family or alone, I see it through a scrim of discomfort at best, disorienting anguish at worst.

Misery added another layer when I had surgery for the abdominal hernia at the end of July. The surgeon had said, “It’s going to hurt,” and he didn’t lie. I duped myself into thinking it couldn’t possibly hurt as bad as the hysterectomy, could it? It did; and it hurt longer. I still have bouts of pain. Throw a couple of UTIs into the mix and you have a jolly, exhausting summer of wondering if I’d ever feel “normal” again.

That said, summer had its moments. I had a good trip with Diamondqueen and the Hooligans to Tennessee (I do still plan to blog about that). Mom and I had some very enjoyable lunches and dinners out and ramblings through antique malls. Meteor watching, county fairs…I plan to write something about them yet, just so the summer doesn’t dwindle to sheets and a pillow in a hyperbaric chamber.

And, honestly, it’s been a trying summer for a lot of us. J.Hooligan had his first job ever, working in food services at King’s Island. It was an accomplishment for him, but a trial as well, with many long days. A trial for Diamondqueen, too, who had to drive him to KI and back for each shift. Sometimes she’d no sooner get home than J. would call saying they were sending him home because of weather, slow traffic, whatever. It all made for a radically different summer, far removed from weeks of seasonal outings with the Hooligans when they were younger. It was a transition year, and it felt strange.

The weather didn’t help. Like much of the country, we had plenty of rain and gray, cool days, enough to make it seem as if summer had gone AWOL a few times. Naturally, now we’re in a heat wave, with temps near ninety degrees. Tonight when I was in the backyard planting fall mums, the shrieking crickets seemed to be saying, “Nyeh, you thought summer was done, didn’t you!”

At least I didn’t slide into my August “the kids are back in school, summer is ending” depression; I was too distracted with getting over the surgery. It’s all so after-the-fact by now, even with a late Labor Day stretching things out. Autumn sounds good. Not cold and frost and bare trees, but the ripe golden hue and sense of bounty. I’ll miss summer, although not necessarily this summer.

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