I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Day today with my family. First of all, my wife and I had lunch with her mom and her husband. It was a magnificent dinner with ham, Lima beans, potato salad, cheesy tomatoes (a special recipe from my mother in law) and corn. We even had lemon pie for dessert, but I had to decline (a rarity) since I was so full from the main courses.
Later in the day my wife and I visited my father, brother, sister and their extended families. We mainly ate sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and taco chips with dip. Not being overly full from this meal, I ventured out and had some caramel cake and some fudge for dessert. Afterwards we opened up a few gifts from the mob that was in attendance (by my count, eighteen people in all).
So, December 25th, 2013, was a routine Christmas Day for me. There was good food, good company and some obligatory gifts.
However, December 25th, 2004, was a different story. Having had major surgery for bladder cancer in August 2004, I struggled with frequent urinary tract infections afterwards, many which took me to the emergency room for special treatment. I remember on December 23rd, 2004, having a high fever and heading once again to the emergency room. The medical team who treated me felt that I should be admitted into the hospital for intravenous antibiotics, meaning I would be hospitalized on Christmas Day. I remember watching Christmas television specials from my hospital bed. Later in the day, my family visited me for a few precious moments in my hospital room. Consequently, it was sad not seeing my daughters open their Christmas presents that day. In addition, my Christmas meal consisted of basic hospital food, usually not quite as elaborate as my mother in law's meals. Nevertheless, cancer (or at least the treatment for it) had once again thrown a wrench in my plans. What should have been a holiday instead was a horrible day.
That was then. This is now. Although I still have to work some holidays as a nurse practitioner, since I am cancer free, the horribleness of December 25th, 2004, is now a distant memory. It seems like it has been several years since I have had a bad urinary tract infection, at least not bad enough to take me to the hospital.
It truly is a merry Christmas for me.