The weekend with my old college roommates was exactly what I needed. It took my mind off the fact that Cayden was so far away and that most of my close girlfriends were either moving in with their boyfriends or getting married. I tried not to let it get me down.
Joey was almost completely moved in by the time I got back. With some creative rearranging, Joyce's room became Joey and Joyce's room. And mine and Joyce's bathroom became mine, Joyce's and Joey's bathroom.
I was actually pretty excited to have Joey living with us. He'd become one of my really good friends, but best of all: he loved to cook. Steak, BBQ chicken, chili, ribs, you name it. Joey and the grill were one. Joyce and I had been surviving off of frozen dinner and to-go meals for the better part of the year (OK, so maybe I'd been doing it for the better part of, oh, 8 years), so it was a welcomed change.
Another perk to our new roommate was that I had a live-in workout buddy. Joyce and Terry had joined a yoga studio I couldn't afford past my free 10-day trial, so I was odd man out when it came to our workout routines. Lucky for me, Addison offered a lifetime membership to the athletic center to every resident town for only $10, so I really had no excuse not to work out. After Cayden left, I'd been spending almost every night in the gym anyway, but with Joey around, I had someone to count my reps and toss the medicine ball to me as I grunted through my sit ups on the inclined bench.
We had a really nice routine going: work, gym, protein shakes, sleep, repeat. After two weeks of our strict workout regimin, I had to call it quits for a full three weeks. It was Sept.1. The days of my tonsillectomy. I'd heard so many horror stories and read article after article about the lengthy, excruciating recovery, I almost cancelled my surgery. But then I remembered Rome. I was so sick I was sure I was dying. My strep-infected tonsils had almost made Cayden doubt my feelings for him. Not cool. They had to go.
"You'll be in severe pain for the first 10 or 11 days, but by about day 9 you'll realize that you're not actually going to die," my doctor had told me during my pre-op appointment a few days before surgery. "Make sure you take off work the week of your surgery and the entire week after. Trust me. You'll need it."
My surgery was scheduled on a Thursday. I'd planned on working from home the following Tuesday and being back in the office that Wednesday. It's not like a little sore throat was going to stop me from sending out a few tweets for my clients, right?
When I'd woken up from my sinus surgery a few months prior, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck and then run over four times and struck by lightning. I remember my mom saying, "See that girl over there? She just got her tonsils out. She looks fine." She was making fun of my pathetic, half-conscious state, as I lay there unable to hold my own eyelids open, bobbing my head around with what looked like a bloody tampon taped across my upper lip like a mustache. A bloody tampon mustache. All the while the tonsillectomy girl was up walking around and talking to the nurses while chomping on a popsicle.
This time, I was tonsillectomy girl. I was eating popsicles, chugging water and ice chips, and taking multiple trips to the bathroom to pee it all out. I was awake. I felt alive. A middle aged man with a tampon mustache wheeled by my recovery bed and my mom and I exchanged looks of sympathy for him.
"If it makes you feel any better, you'll be OK in a few days and I'll be on my death bed," I wanted to yell to him.
My nurses confirmed that fact before they released me from recovery prison.
Mom and Dad took me home and set me up on the recliner and surrounded me with ice chips, electrolyte-enhanced water, banana popsicles (they're the least acidic, so they burn less), gum, ice packs, and a spray bottle to keep my throat moist at all times. But there was only one thing I wanted: Cayden.
I propped my MacBook Air up on the arm of the couch and logged into Gmail. Cayden was online waiting to hear from me. I assumed I wouldn't be able to talk, but I was feeling fine, so I launched Google Video.
"You heard the doctor," my mom said when she heard my computer ringing. "That's going to hurt later."
It will be worth it, I thought to myself.
"Baby!" he said when his face popped up on the screen. "You don't look as bad as I expected!"
"I don't feel as bad as I expected," I was surprised that my voice didn't even sound raspy. "I feel kind of awesome."
He laughed. We both knew I was drugged up beyond belief. I could have gotten a Brazilian wax right then and not felt a thing.
"Everything went well," I said, and then stopped to spray my throat with cool water. "Oh, but my doctor said my sinuses had shut down again and blocked off and filled with... well, nasty stuff.... so she had to open them back up and drain them. So, that's not cool."
"I wonder why that hap--" Cayden started to say. But I didn't hear the rest.
Without any warning, I fell asleep. Passed out. Zonked.
"Whitney...Are you asleep?"
I came to almost as quickly as I'd fallen asleep.
"What? Huh?" I said, pulling my eyes open. Each eyelid seemed to weigh 10 pounds.
Cayden bursted out laughing. "You fell asleep on me! One second you were fine, and then you were just out. Asleep. I thought you died."
I felt my eyelids slipping south again.
"Cayden," I said. "I can't... I can't stay awake."
I don't remember if I said bye before I fell asleep again, but when I woke up, my laptop was closed and sitting on the table in front of me. I sprayed my throat and went back to sleep.