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U Through Z is for Unscheduled Vacation from Writing due to X-ray Yield Zzzzz…

Well, it was a good run.

I’m very proud that I managed to make it to the letter “T” on the “A to Z Challenge” with only a hiccup or two along the way.  I’ve enjoyed sharing my aviation stories with you, and gained new insights into the ebb and flow of my creativity in relation to my work habits, distraction responses, and alcoholic stockpile level.  However, it seems that I’m going to have to cry “uncle” for now and begin training so that I can, once again, take up the gauntlet next year.  But before I tell you why, I want to share one last aviation story with you.

I have diverticulosis.  It is a condition in which, for some reason, small pockets form in my intestines.  Once they form, they are there forever unless I have that portion of my intestines surgically removed, which is something the doctors recommend for someone who has been afflicted as young as I am.  Occasionally, these pockets become infected, and I experience symptoms very much like appendicitis, only on the left side of my abdomen.  This is called diverticulitis, something I have had several times.

During one episode of diverticulitis, I was hospitalized for a few days.  This occurred, of course, when I was scheduled to pilot a trip to the Bahamas the next day.  It was also New Year’s Eve.  I remember that because I was trying to convince the hospital staff that champagne qualified as part of the “clear liquid diet” imposed for my recovery.  I almost had them convinced, until I decided morphine would be better.

I contacted Dispatch at my company as soon as I left for the Emergency Room so they could have as much time as possible to find a replacement for me for my trip the following day.  I also kept them informed of when I would be able to return to work, which, as it turned out, wouldn’t be for almost a week.

When I did return, I was greeted by the company’s head honcho, who told me, “Don’t ever do that again.  Don’t ever work yourself so hard that you end up in the hospital.”  It was a bit disconcerting to hear that from someone so high up on the totem pole, but it was advice that I have never forgotten.  It is also advice that I intend to follow.

For the past few months, I have been feeling symptoms similar to what I would feel if I had another case of diverticulitis.  The pain had been gradually intensifying despite the regimen suggested by my doctor, so shortly after completing my “T” post, I made the decision to go to the Emergency Room for an evaluation.  I know from experience that diverticulitis is diagnosed with a CT scan.  This equipment is readily available in the ER – as opposed to my doctor’s office – and when it comes to abdominal pain, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The good news is that I do not have diverticulitis.  The not-quite-as-good news is that the scan shows that there is something – probably a cyst – located next to my stomach causing all of my symptoms.

The pilot in me is gratified to find the cause of my issues and is eager to find the solution.  The writer in me is distracted by the possibilities and unable to compose properly while hopped up on Vicodin.  While I manage to come up with some good stuff, I tend to fall asleep and forget what I wanted to write.

So, there you have it.  I’m going to concentrate on my health and try this again next year.  I am so grateful for all the new friends I have met, the opportunity to grow and mature as a writer, the chance to rub elbows with so many creative and talented people, and simply the excuse to share my experiences with you.

Stay healthy, my friends, and thank you for reading!

UPDATE:  I wanted to thank everyone for the wishing me well and let you know that, as Arnold would say in “Kindergarten Cop”: It’s not a tumor.  😉  It seems that it’s just some fluid that has accumulated since a surgery last year, and the doctor believes it couldn’t be causing me any distress.  Although, what is causing my symptoms is still under investigation.  Hopefully, it’s nothing more serious than stress.

That being said, I’m still planning to concentrate more on my health by walking more often, eating less processed junk, and stressing out less.  That should get me back on track soon enough.  Oh yeah, and patience.  I gotta work on that one, too.

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