Songwriters: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart
Original Release: Grace Under Pressure
Definitive Version: Grace Under Pressure, 1984 Tour, 2009. As I think I mentioned, I had a bootleg copy of this album decades before Rush finally released it officially.
When I got to Cleveland in 2003, to a certain extent, I felt lucky just to be there. The move was more perilous than it should have been.
I started my lease March 1 and moved over a couple of weekends before my last day at The Dispatch. I wasn’t taking much in the way of furniture, as I think I mentioned, and one weekend, I had Scott’s futon, which would be my bed, my papasan and maybe a table or two loaded in Laura’s Durango.
I was an hour out of Columbus on I-71 when the Durango began to shudder wildly doing about 70. I hit the breaks and kept it under control before pulling off to the side of the road. Fortunately, there was no traffic immediately around me except for a guy in a car behind me who pulled over.
As I tried to catch my breath and start my heart, the guy came up and asked if I was all right. Yeah. I think so. He said, I saw your tire blow and I knew you were in trouble. The back right tire was completely shredded—a rag of rubber. He was surprised I didn’t roll it. I guess I was, too, now that I saw the situation.
He took off, and I called a tow truck to help me with the spare, but I was pretty shook up and just turned around and went home. My move to Cleveland was off to a rousing start.
I eventually got my stuff up there, but then my body decided to have a blow out of its own. Feeling sick to my stomach or having abdominal pain was old hat—I’d suffered that really my whole life but particularly since I was 17. But the feeling that woke me up early one morning was different. This felt like my breath was being crushed out of me.
I recognized right away that this wasn’t a normal situation where I’d take a Tums or merely go to the bathroom and those would take care of things. In fact, this pain seemed all too familiar—echoes of March 1994, because it didn’t go away and only seemed to get worse.
Now, I’m not a pain freak by any means, but I have a fairly high tolerance to it because of my cluster headaches. If I can handle pain that feels like I want someone to relieve it by blowing my head off, I can handle a lot. But this was getting to be too much. OK, I better head to the hospital.
Lakewood Hospital was only a few blocks from my apartment. I was OK enough to drive myself, so I did. I was hopeful that this would be like the last time I had been in the hospital in December 1994—something temporary that would work its way out, and that would be that.
It wasn’t. I was admitted and ended up sharing a room with a biker guy who was on the edge of serious heart and digestive problems but who also had a girlfriend visit him, whom, shall we just say, had a penchant for feeding him yogurt in an interesting way. (And who doesn’t want to overhear that when they’re lonely and feeling like crap?)
It wasn’t all bad, I suppose. I did show perfect comedic timing at one point when a wave of nausea hit me hard. A doctor—one of several who visited me that day—came in and asked when the last time was that I got sick. Hearing my cue, I grabbed my bucket, said how about now and promptly threw up.
I spent the night, and the next day, the diagnosis was neither expected nor surprising—diverticulitis. Dad had it, so did my grandfather. The gastroentreologist ruled out surgery, thank goodness, but he wanted me to have a colonoscopy to rule out anything more serious. One problem: I would have to stay in the hospital until Monday to have the procedure.
I had had a colonoscopy before, so that was no big deal, but it was Easter Sunday weekend. I had planned on heading back to Columbus for family dinner, and after this experience, I wanted to get home. I said no.
I was OK to leave—I felt fine by this time—so the doctor discharged me with the direction to set up an appointment for the colonoscopy the next week. I said I would and headed back to my apartment, packed up and drove to Columbus.
My move to Cleveland was REALLY off to a rousing start now.