I am giving you, John, a public apology! I am VERY late in getting this returned to you AND I am responsible for Yumi being late.
"Things" have shaped up very differently for me recently. My sweetie is facing major surgery soon. He had been complaining of dizziness since the end of May. After two trips to one worthless M.D. he went for the second opinion. One MRI later, we had our diagnosis. A brain tumor. It is a recurrence of an acoustic neuroma he had removed over twenty years ago. It has grown back. An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor on the eight cranial nerve (the one which gives you hearing and balance).
The good news: he already suffers most of the sides effects of the surgery. He is already deaf in that ear and he already has the partial facial paralysis. This surgery will not change these.
The bad news: he has a 1 in 100 chance of dying during surgery, 100 in 100 chance of dying without surgery (the tumor is expanding and destroying his cerebellum - an important part of the brain which keeps you alive), a 1 in 100 chance of being veged after the surgery, and he faces at least four weeks of physical rehabilitation to relearn how to control his body (yes, like walking, holding, writing, eating). Try this on top of JUST starting your own business! If he isn't cutting (he is a veterinary surgeon), he isn't making ANY money.
Writing all this down feels therapeutic for me. The last two weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster. We cry, we curse, we try to joke about the reality of the situation. I think I am still fairly functional at work. Sometimes, however, I feel like shaking and screaming at someone when they tell me about petty, stupid things. Try facing death and see if your stupid problem is really worth the concern!
I know as the surgical date gets closer, I will get more, well, something. Probably less functional. The boss is being as generous as he knows how to be. I have permission to take my vacation days, half day at a time, to help with the rehabilitation. I can't do without my full paycheck. My sweetie is not earning any more money after August 30th. He and I will be living on my salary (which is a joke - try $30,000 for a doctor in California. I can't even buy the car I am driving!) and his savings.
At least the hot tub is ours and we did have a good vacation last July.
[Editor's note: I've talked to Drury and John came through his operation with flying colors. ]