My friend, Terry, scared the living SNOT out of me over the last couple of weeks (and don’t argue about the “living” part of snot because if you don’t think there are organisms in one’s mucus that are ALIVE then you reside in a world of DENIAL – so don’t make me get all scientific on you). In the first place, she just disappeared. And she just doesn’t do that. She emails, she blogs REGULARLY (not only because she’s a writer and a translator but because she works at home), she is a presence.

I emailed. I worried. I mulled over calling her, but as I was already concerned that something had happened to her health or well-being, I resisted for her own good (it’s a long story – let’s just say I talked on the phone at length with her once and during our conversation she had TWO attacks of some sort – one in which she could not breathe for a bit – all very unusual for her – and I just KNOW it was my fault and I couldn’t take THAT chance). Then, about a week ago, I received an email that she’d sent to a few folks in which she indicated – oh hell – here’s the whole thing:

I have to make this fast cuz I’m in the hospital piggy backing on someone else’s network….and the connection’s a bit iffy

I want to try to get to my blog but for now, I thought I’d let you know that the MOST RIDICULOUS THING HAPPENED — I had my own heart attack!

Incredible, eh?[Canadians say, “eh.” They’re funny that way.] Incredibly ironic and stupid.

Anyway I hope to be out of this hell hole soon.

I also hope to get into my blog soon with all the gory details

Still alive and pissed off,


The irony is two-fold: First off, she’s a YOUNG thing and eats many vegetables and lives in the bucolic countryside where it’s lovely and quiet. Secondly, she has spent the last number of months attending to her roommate after SHE had what was originally thought to be a heart attack (turns out it was a pulmonary embolism); she’s waited on that woman hand and foot. Okay, so perhaps the idyllic countrified life can contain SOME stress…

Well, I figured if Terry was furtively emailing she was not in the ICU or critical care ward (I’ve worked in health care – I can figure THAT much out). Besides, she was PISSED OFF. That’s always a good sign.

So I began a great adventure: I called hospitals in Quebec and tried to figure out WHERE SHE WAS. I had started with a proximity search in which I called the closest hospitals radiating out from where she lives. I’m going to write all about that another time (because this post is not about MY festive humiliation du jour – or should I say de la semaine or even du mois, but about gratitude for someone’s recovery and so on – see, perhaps it ISN’T all about me). Let me just tell you that she was NOT in the L’HÎpital Sainte-Baguette as someone on the phone so kindly suggested (well it SOUNDED like that; I did not fall for it).
Here's to Terry's HEART!

I gave up, finally, on what Terry called, my “intrepid trek through the Quebec hospital telephone system” after the appropriate quota of sheer mortifications on my part and when logic dictated that I was no doubt calling much farther away than they would have taken her.

Today we received word that Terry is HOME, and will not, I imagine, be wantonly plied with carrots at every single meal in some demented form of repetitive vegetable torture – that’s socialized medicine for you – and is looking forward to the peace and quiet of the pastoral landscape (which I gather sometimes means “in the middle of nowhere,” but right now is literally and delightfully heavy on the peace and tranquility quotient).

So this deferred Valentine goes out to Terry and her BEATING HEART!!! I may be whatever the Scrooge-like character equivalent is when it comes to Valentine’s Day right now (?), but all of this got me thinking. And you know, this is what it’s really all about: The people I care about seem to be hanging in there, bless them.

Oh – and I LOVE YOU ALL! (Clever, eh? This way I haven’t accidentally excluded anyone for whom I have great affection and for anyone who I DON’T esteem all that much, you’re probably too stupid to know any better, so no harm, no foul.)
Happy Slightly Belated Valentine’s Day!