Can I go to Colima, now, please?
My good friend Jennifer sent me this Woody Allen quote a number of years ago; she said it reminded her of me. We have been friends since our raucous days at Ohio State University (way back in the ‘80s).
Our friendship is a bit unusual, not only do I have a thirty-five year friendship with her; I also have a great friendship with her sister and I know her little brother as well.
We joke that I am really the fourth child – the fourth D’Amico kid.
I must concede that I have a reputation for being a slight neurotic. OK, if I am truthful, I am very neurotic. I am always concerned that I will die in some dreadful plague.
As a consequence, during the golden age of promiscuity – our twenties – I abstained from sex because I was certain that would catch a disease and die.
How much I regret it now!
My primary care physician calls me the African American Woody Allen because my behavior and responses remind him so much of his character.
After the initial shock of being “restructured” (otherwise known as slash middle management); I had resolved to accelerate my plans to move to Colima, Mexico.
It simply made sense; it’s now or never.
Unfortunately, I would experience an intersection of post traumatic job loss and my annual physical that would stun and change me – probably forever.
Colima? Where do I begin?
Somewhere towards the end of my thirties and the beginning of my forties; I became obsessed with looming mortality.
I read that between the ages of 40 and 60 is the peak period for a heart attack for men.
A most dangerous time.
Every physical I had taken came back with positive results.
Okay, I’m overweight, but I exercise five times a week and my doctor was very satisfied with my all of my results, but the neurotic in me wasn’t satisfied.
What didn’t I know?
Because of this, I asked and paid for an extensive study of my heart; believing that a heart attack is the thing that kills most men.
So great, my studies proved that I had very little chance of having a heart attack, but the base of my aorta was slightly larger than normal – just large enough to be “officially” categorized as an aneurysm. Huh?
Happy, happy. Joy, joy.
Finally, at long last, I have a true medical condition. Not only is it an anguishing medical issue with a scary name, but it also has scarier prospects.
My imagination is now like a kitten with a ball of twine. Immediately, my neurosis has plenty of entertainment including annual measurements (just in case surgery was required).
By happenstance, my annual test was scheduled two weeks after I had been given the boot.
But, I was planning to move to Colima.
I almost fainted when the cardiologist phoned to say that it appears as if my aorta had increased rapidly and I would require surgery.
I couldn’t believe it.
It was a shock to lose my job and an outright tragedy to be faced with open heart surgery.
Time stopped and I collapsed into depression and dissolved into tears.
My husband is in Mexico and out of his mind with worry. He knows me well and imagines that I’m terrified.
All of my in laws from Colima and Los Angeles are ready to hop on planes to visit and support me; my sisters spring into action and my roommate Tim and his family comfort me every single day.
Forget about moving to Colima – I want to live.
Tim and his sister Kathleen (my guardian angel) hold me up and hold my hands as I break down into a fragile heap of tears and sighs.
Additional tests are ordered by the cardiac surgeon (in preparation for the surgery) and the doctor says the new (accurate) results prove that nothing has changed and the measurements are not correct.
As a consequence, I have less than one percent chance of a change in the size of my aorta – have a nice day
Also, he chides me for be so paranoid and ordering the original test.
The surgeon says, “You have no history of this condition in your family; your heart is in excellent shape….you would have been better off not having the original test.”
“Unfortunately, now that we have a measurement that is outside of normal, you are subject to testing for the rest of your life; also, it’s very difficult to measure in this location,” he continues “Sometimes, Sid, ignorance is bliss.”
Looking at his watch, the doctor shakes my hand and disappears into another waiting room.
That is it? A mistake? I didn’t need a funeral shroud?
Back from the dead – My Resurrection. Colima here I come!
Jim Morrison wrote, “Five to One. One in five. No one here gets out alive.”
Well, I guess it’s true, but I in the meantime I am moving to Colima and fulfilling my dream.”
Sometimes it takes a major upheaval like “a brush with death” to help you see the endless possibilities life provides.
If you are considering being an expat – do it. Today is an adventure and tomorrow is not promised.
Next up: Buying a home in Colima, Mexico.