Shakespuck
Afterglow

Open Heart

Last night I attended another Girls' Night Out with my high-school pals, and a splendid time was had by all.

This one was special. One of us had a pretty close call with the Grim Reaper recently. Last night was her first night out since her open-heart surgery to repair a faulty valve. She's had this condition since she was a kid; the doctors have been monitoring it closely, lo these many years.

Everything seemed hunky-dory, and she was living her regular normal life. One morning she was doing her regular normal exercise routine on her treadmill and she collapsed in a heap! Luckily, she didn't hit her head or otherwise get hurt, and she felt fine when she came to and picked herself up.

So she went upstairs and told her husband, who hustled her right off to the doctor, who hustled her right off to the hospital, where they cracked open her chest and replaced the valve.

Our friend network is great. Another pal called us all up and left voicemails for us about this event. I, of course, neglected to check voicemail for a couple of days. I gravitate toward email rather than voicemail (go figure). The next day I read my email and there was a message to all of us telling us that our pal had made it through her surgery and was sitting up in a chair in the ICU.

What. The. Fuck.

My rather panicky response to this email was quickly answered and I calmed down. (That ought to teach me to answer the goddamn phone.) Nothing like finding out that a friend your age has had major open-heart surgery to make you feel slightly less than immortal and inspire a good Act of Contrition.

At any rate, she's doing just great. She's all healed up and her ticker's ticking right along just the way it should.

So this dinner was a real celebration of many things, but especially of the joy of being together, still kicking, still laughing, still crazy after these years.

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