Much has happened since I last wrote! Now, with less than two inches of ocean water glistening over my go-to summer O*P*I Cajun Shrimp pedicure, it is time to write how God has taken care of me over the past few weeks. First, please recall the AXO house (where I served as house director) is closing for renovation. I was blessed with four job offers within five days and chose the most “out-of-the-box” for me.
I am happy to announce that this very conservative, southern belle, Georgia peach is pursuing what I consider popular now ~ a study abroad program ~ and am going to the Ivy League school, Cornell, where I will be the house director for Alpha Xi Delta. The campus has a European feel and, though not overseas, it is above the Mason Dixon line and that is foreign enough to me since I have only lived in the southeastern states of Virginia, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. An adventure up north where the average snowfall is 60 to 65 inches in Ithaca, New York will challenge my southern charms. Fortunately, between my hunting, winter and skiing gear, I should be able to stay warm with the plunging temperatures. My father gave me his blessing to take the opportunity as an adventure since Mama passed earlier this year.
For the first time in y-e-a-r-s, I attended two weddings held in the spring. The trend lately has been to marry in the fall. So, to my pleasant surprise, my recent law school graduate cousin, Zach, married his medical doctor sweetie, Kristen, in Morristown, New Jersey one weekend followed by the ambassador and his wife’s oldest daughter, Cameron, who married her Canadian law school graduate, Jeremiah, in Linville, North Carolina in the Eseeola Resort. Daddy, Jennifer (my sister) and I flew to New Jersey and enjoyed a huge Italian weekend, with great food, dancing and family time. No, we are not Italian, but my cousin married an Italian beauty who belongs to a very hospitable and lovely family. The next weekend, I traveled by myself to Blowing Rock for the second exchange of vows.
I had not felt well since my return to Athens. By the time I arrived at the Blowing Rock Country Club on Friday night for the welcoming reception, I was miserable but kept thinking I would feel better. On Saturday, I arose for one hour, went back to bed and set my clock for plenty of time to prepare for the wedding and meet the shuttle that was leaving at 4 p.m. I did not wake until 4:20 and dashed getting ready in a “what’s wrong with me?” daze. Drove myself to Linville and, after saying my congratulations, was happy I had for I could not participate in the dinner nor celebratory festivities, so I drove back. Was exhausted though could not sleep all night. The next morning, I was worse and knocked on the door next to me where a nurse from Raleigh, Lydia, was also attending the wedding festivities. One look at me and she said, “I am taking you to the Urgent Care right now!” I agreed. Triage caused a frenzy of activity and I was asked if I had ever had heart trouble. “No, and I just had a physical in March where all numbers were great.”
To make a long story short and unbeknownst to me, my heart was thumping out-of-sorts and I was rushed to the ER in nearby Boone by ambulance. After many, many tests and three ultrasounds, I was told my gallbladder was causing all the pain and discomfort that I had been feeling and it had caused my heart to go into A-fib … WHAT?! So, without family or friends, I was checked into the hospital and was told my gallbladder needed to be removed. Thoughts of, “Could I make it back to Athens to have surgery?” raced through my mind. However, when I learned the general surgeon had studied in Augusta, Georgia, and his wife went to veterinary school at the University of Georgia, I knew God wanted me to stay put. Meanwhile, Lydia ~ whom I had just met ~ packed all my belongings in my hotel room and checked out for me. She brought everything to the hospital. I had asked her not to share this news yet with Jim and Helen (parents of bride) so they could concentrate on the festivities around the last day of the wedding weekend. Another confirmation I had made the right decision was when on the gurney and all woozy ready for surgery, I learned my anesthesiologist grew up in Ithaca, New York ~ small world! He whipped out his cell phone to share pictures of beautiful waterfalls I need to visit in the area and went on to share that outside the five-mile radius of the campus, that most everyone is very conservative. Surgery went well. All the nurses and their assistants were excellent and seemed genuine in their support for the “orphan” for whom they were administering care.
Meanwhile, the sorority house was being vacated for a 14-month renovation. Seven of my sweet house director and bridge friends packed my suite for me. Everywhere I faced a challenge, God provided a solution. I am so blessed to be loved so much and have people just step up during my challenging time of need whether it was through prayers, calls, cards, texts, driving, packing and/or visits.
OK ~ so my numbers during my physical were good except for those that could be deleted from my weight. However, through this health challenge, I am seeing some shedding and my pedicure still looks great! That’s the good news. My summer saga continues, however, and I'd go way over my allotted word count for one column if I tried to tell it all here. So, please look for the second part of this story ~ yes, more surgery and moves ~ in next month’s column! God has this! Meanwhile, Happy Fourth of July and enjoy Fun Fest!
Oh, and (tongue-in-cheek) when planning wedding dates, perhaps consider not doing it during football season (unless there’s an open date because even if it’s an away game, it will be on TV). Same goes for bowl season and Super Bowl Sunday, March Madness, Master’s weekend, triple crown Saturdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, Stanley Cup Playoffs, World Series, British Open, U.S. Open (tennis and golf). That leaves the month of August, most weekends before noon, a fun destination wedding between Christmas and New Year’s, and the last part of the month of January through February. No matter how close you are, sports fans will be distracted!
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month. Email her at [email protected]