Zach's PEN #45: From Pennsylvania Hospital

2021 Week 22: An exciting twist ending to vacation week

Dear PENpals,

I’m in the hospital. Got here via ambulance Friday night, in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Since I’ve never experienced pain like that, I didn’t know what pain like that does to you.

I won’t get graphic with the details of that night now, though I’ve written it all down. I’ll just say it was a lot of firsts for me.

  • First time thinking for a moment that I could (actually) die

  • First time panicking and uttering the words “call 9-1-1”

  • First time in an ambulance

  • First time in an ER

  • First time with an IV in my arm

  • First time a nurse failed to get a vein (5 times, I look like a junkie right now)

  • First time getting a CAT scan

  • First time in my own hospital room

  • First time considering surgery

But the most important and consequential first for me is this: It’s the first time I’ve experienced an immediate, acute, very painful consequence for neglecting my body. I’ve spent my whole life in my head, taking my body for granted, and repeatedly treating it terribly in clumsy and ineffectual attempts to soothe my psychology (which haven’t worked, by the way).

Then, ironically, when my body hasn’t performed perfectly, I get mad at it. It’s like an abused child. Under the circumstances, my body has actually been remarkably resilient and capable. It can still do amazing things that it has no business being able to do. It has taken whatever I’ve thrown at it (or not thrown at it) and mostly not complained at all.

It’s time that my body get some much-deserved loving attention, however late it may be.

Much love, PENpals,


P. S. I’m okay. It was a gallstone. I super appreciate everyone’s love and concern but I probably don’t want to talk anymore about it. I hate talking about medical things. Hate. Everything about it.

P. P. S. Next week it’ll be back to pictures of these babies, hopefully some good ones I got on the beach.