Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How I Met Teri - Part 2 - A Fel Wind Blows

So how did my shooting a crazy, late winter jaunt into the world of indoor arena bull riding lead me to marrying this amazing woman? Let me see if I can explain something about myself as I illustrate how one lead to the other.

The Monday after that shoot I went back to work at the museum, like I had for going on 15 years. That's not quit accurate, buy this time I was well underway in trying to find a viable avenue out. I wanted to be a shooter, and I carried my Canon 10D everywhere I went. I'd also made friends with a proshooter, who seemed interested in giving me pointers and advice. We'd even begun to talk about long range business goals. Of course, I also had a major dose of the excitement I usually get when I'm on the cusp of a new direction. In the past, it's been know to cause headaches.

So anyway, two weeks passed and I'd begun to feel very ill. More than usual, but being stubborn I kept pushing on. I'd spend at day working at the museum, then at night spend as much time as possible shooting, exploring. I didn't want to admit I was really feeling down. Then, at the end of those two weeks, I hit a wall.

As I sat in my office I realized I couldn't breath. Seems I'd caught bronchitis from breathing in all those wonderful bluish hazed manure clouds. I called my doctor and they instructed me to call an ambulance. Ambulance? What drama, I don't think so.

I decided I was going to walk. The hospital was only a few blocks away. Unfortunately, I'd neglected to consider it was also uphill. A walk that usually takes all of 10 minutes, if that, took me 45!

So they admit right away when they saw I couldn't breath at all. Security also took my camera, which was in my hand as usual. A short time later an intern is telling me I had bronchitis but he wanted to run a CAT Scan, as routine.

Not long afterward, as I sat in a room with two other folks, I spotted my intern. He was in tow of another, older man and looked worried. Looking into the eyes of the older Doctor I knew it was going to be bad news. After asking me a number of questions, and lots of poking around my chest he said something that changed my life.

"Mr. Lutz, the CAT Scan has revealed a massive tumor the size of a softball under your ribs. I don't want to alarm you, but we're keeping you over night."

When the doctor actually went to get my camera from security I knew he saw a dead man walking. The other two patients, who'd been constantly bitching and moaning before I was told this, were so quiet I couldn't hear them breath. I remember calling my mother...

The only bed they could find me for the night was in the liver transplant ward. After some medication, I could breath again and I was feeling a lot better. I couldn't sleep of course, I never even undressed from my street clothes. I just walked around and around, talking to patients, all of whom were so ill. One poor soul was in for his second tranplant. They'd all ask me what I was doing there. After saying they'd found a mass in my chest, these so very ill people would give me that look. The one that says, "damn, you've had it."

I watched the sun rise over Oakland, Pittsburgh. A section of the city I'd spent nearly 20 years of my life existing. The storms from the previous night, which I'd watched to intently, had blown away. I didn't panic, I just waited until they released me so I could go home.

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