I spent this past Sunday night into Monday morning in the emergency room at HUP in Philadelphia. If this is something you didn’t know, don’t feel badly because very few people did. I don’t like emergency rooms and I never go unless there’s something happening that I feel unable to manage any other way. And to be honest, I’ve always been blessed with amazing health, and any concerns I’ve ever had usually turn out to be unfounded. When that happens, I feel a bit ridiculous, like I wasted everyone’s time by hitting the panic button when it wasn’t necessary. At all. This time around was no exception. Although I was presenting with some fairly alarming symptoms, I once again have been pronounced to be as healthy as a horse. I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly relieved. The way I was feeling had all the earmarkings of a Triple A, or an abdominal aortic aneurysm, something that I’m at risk for because my dad had one. That possibility was ruled out, conclusively, with a CT scan, and my diagnosis was that I most likely have a muscle strain that I keep reinjuring because of the type of workout that I do, and have been doing for the past 10 years. My amazing massage therapist was able to address this for me and I feel much better. Remarkably so.
So where’s the Friday Musings post here? Have some patience. When I followed up with my primary yesterday, she pointed out something in the CT scan that I’d read but didn’t realize the significance of. My arteries (and they looked at all of them – that was the main purpose of the scan) show zero evidence of any kind of plaque. There’s just none to be found anywhere and apparently that’s highly unusual for someone my age, and with my hereditary risk factors for heart disease and stroke. If I continue my diet, and I continue to exercise the way I do, there’s no reason for any of that to change over the course of the next 10 years or beyond. So, barring anything unforeseen, I really do have a shot at sticking around for quite some time. That’s something that I’ve always wanted, that I’ve always dreamed of, in fact. How wonderful would it be to be able to continue to watch my life unfold into whatever it’s going to be next? How wonderful to be able to have that much time with my family to celebrate everything that the future holds with them? This was the best possible news, and yet it threw me for a bit of a loop. I didn’t orchestrate the first 56 years of my life. I just let them happen to me. I followed all the rules, went to school, did well, got a job, got married, had kids and then lost the next 15 years in a blur of homework, Catholic school fundraisers, and after school sports. I have some very dear friends who are shaking their heads right now. From there my kids went on to college and jobs, one wedding, one grandchild. And now my life looms before me and what exactly will it be? It’s different now because if I let it happen to me there’s no formula to follow. I’ve learned that in the last two years. It’s wide open and I can be the one who takes charge. I want to reinvent myself. I want to allow my heart to rule, instead of my head. I want to take the risk of being everything that I ever wanted to be. And, apparently I have some time to get that all figured out. So this seemingly unnecessary and unremarkable trip to the ER (accompanied by my middle son Zachary who insisted that he be the one to take me) has poked me a bit. It’s made me think and it’s made me feel. I could have 40 years ahead of me. I want every one of them to be amazing.
Today’s cocktail celebrates the three letters that sent me to the ER and thankfully ended up no where in my diagnosis. Laird’s Applejack, Amaro Nonino, and Ancho Reyes in an equal parts cocktail that becomes a riff on a Negroni. Cheers everyone… to whatever’s next.
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until very cold. Serve up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Express and garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy!