Bear Week 2013 is over. Well, at least the in-person experience.The Beginning of OUR Bear Week
Our vacation started off with the "exciting", long, soul-sucking drive through Connecticut, as usual, no matter what time we leave on Friday. There are always road blocks, construction sites, traffic, delays without explanation, and then SUDDENLY everything clears up around exits 72 or 86 right around a nearby prison (there are 93 exits in CT on I-95 and WE start before exit 1...).
In the car ride, we munched on baked sesame sticks (YUM!!), grapes, pork sandwiches that Matthew had made the night before (EXTRA YUM!), rice chips (blech), Chinese crackers, and peanuts. We brought only filtered and seltzer waters with us to drink all the way up, but didn't drink a lot of it. Matthew was happy that we didn't feel the need to stop to go to the bathroom, since we weren't drinking that much. We checked into the Gifford House for the Friday night by about 8:30 - a 7-hour drive for what should normally take about 5 hours. Thanks, Connecticut! We were mellowing over a martini at the Porch Side Bar at the Gifford House by 9:15PM and stayed there till about midnight. We were tired, so went to bed; Matthew had a small tummy ache when we got to the room.Matthew's Birthday
At 5 AM, Matthew woke me up to tell me to call for an ambulance. He hadn't slept much the previous 2 hours because of major abdominal pain that had woken him up. He felt that he had an abdominal obstruction. The EMT who heard Matthew's description said, "It's probably his gall bladder," which seemed really off - Matthew's never had gall bladder issues and our regular diet is perfect for a healthy gall bladder.
By 5:30 AM, distraught and bleary-eyed, I stood watching the love of my life get into the vehicle, knowing he'd be on the road for no less than an hour to the nearest hospital down the Cape. I had to stay behind to move our stuff from the Gifford House to the condo across the street and get things settled for the week, which I did. We wouldn't hear his prognosis till about 9 or 10. It took them 2+ hrs to admit him and then he went for an ultra-sound. They found gall stones, but nothing to report in his abdomen; there was no infection and he had no fever - just pain. The doctors from hell didn't prescribe any pain medication for him or anti-biotics. Nothing. They wanted to remove his gall bladder - FOR NO REASON! So, he promptly grabbed the CD from his ultra-sound and made a mad dash back to Provincetown in a cab. Three Cheers For Equality!!
I will say this: I was greatly encouraged by the Massachusetts health care system and the level of equality/acceptance I experience in MA - on a regular basis. At about 10:30 am, I called the hospital to check up on Matthew, because the last text at that point from him was, "I'm running out of blood, TTYL!" I called and said, "My partner was admitted there at 6:30 this morning and I would like to speak with his nurse about his status and why his blood is running out." They put me right through to Matthew's nurse, Frank, who gave me an update.
Once I hung up, Frank went to Matthew and introduced himself and relayed my information; Matthew had not met his nurse until I called asking for information - WHICH I GOT WITHOUT QUESTION!! But, because I, his partner, called to check up on Matthew, his nurse got more on the ball - Matthew wasn't alone. I can pretty much guarantee that that experience would not happen in any of the states that currently do not recognize same-sex couples as equal in the eyes of the law - no matter what the hospital employee-patient manuals say.
My Matthew was safely and soundly back in my arms by 3 PM. I had gone shopping for all our food, including vodka and rum. I had everything set up for him for his birthday - all the decorations throughout the house - and set up his suitcase, hanging shirts, and our Internet for the week, so that we'd be WiFi-enabled. He didn't have to lift a finger. Instead, we both took a nice, long nap and went to Tea Dance by 5:30. Then we had dinner at the Red Inn and enjoyed a slice of cake that I had delivered from Relish Bakery down the street. Steve's Events
For this Bear Week, my Facebook group
suggested some get-togethers and I picked two to host: One on Sunday for the Facebook group at large, and one on Monday for the "Bear Week Virgins" to meet some veterans. The Sunday morning coffee house get-together went over GREAT. Matthew and I wore t-shirts that we had made with the logo of the group that Matthew constructed. I had also gotten a huge banner made up for the events and hung that up, too. Over the course of about 2.5 hours, about 50+ people made their way by us for the get-together out of about 200+ people who'd responded as "Going!". A 25% turnout is pretty successful.
Monday's turnout at the Aqua Bar was about the same and I was very happy to introduce people to a bar that seems to get lost in the shuffle between all the other bars in town. The Aqua Bar has great views of the bay and the wharves, as well as other bars' decks. For this event, we wore the t-shirts, I hung the banner, and I passed out Pride beads; I had bought 4 bags of 6 dozen beaded necklaces; I gave out 1.5 bags at the Monday event, which was about 85-100 necklaces. That means about 33-50% of the people who responded came!! Even more successful - and some people from the Sunday event came to the Monday one, which was even better. The bartenders (Brecken and Morgan - loving their names) made up a summery, fruity cocktail special for the event. But, I didn't drink any alcohol on Monday, which I'll explain next.Steve's Tummy
Sunday evening after Tea, we went out to dinner with some friends. I was playing it "safe" by ordering mussels, a salad, and a Provincetown staple: fish soup. That dinner at 7:30 pm was practically all I had eaten all day except some store-bought hummus late in the afternoon. Sunday night I could tell something wasn't right and it seemed that I had eaten something bad. By Monday around noon, just before my "Like A Bear Week Virgin" event, I started feeling odder and a little queasy. By the time the event was over, I really needed to be back at the apartment because I was getting delirious and dizzy. So, we went back and we took a 2-hour nap, skipping Tea.
We had dinner reservations for 7 pm at one of our favorite restaurants, Ross' Grill. Every hot appetizer or entree I saw on the menu made me feel nauseous. So, we ordered the raw bar (which for some reason didn't disgust me) and I got a salad as an entree. Matthew got the mussels and chicken (he felt fine) and I ended up not finishing my half of the BEAUTIFUL and delicious raw bar or my salad. The waitress brought me ginger ale after ginger ale and then THAT made me ill.
When we got home, my tummy was really bad, but nothing was moving. I got a fever in the restaurant and it got up to around 101.8 at one point in the evening. I dozed off and on for 3 hours and went to bed around midnight. The fever broke around 2:30 and I ended up sleeping till around 9 AM Tuesday and napped from 11:30-1:00. I didn't feel like eating anything at all and by no means was I drinking alcohol. I ended up not having any alcohol for three days!Matthew's Tummy
Matthew started getting my
symptoms from Sunday by Tuesday evening after dinner of Greek salad with chicken. That night we had another salad and chicken gyros because we were both kind of hungry. His tummy ache and fever kicked in later Wednesday afternoon. We both made sure that his tummy aches were definitely not
the same as the ones from Saturday. We were quadruple-booked for Wednesday evening events and parties. I went to Tea on his insistence, and came back with a light dinner for us both at home by 6pm. Matthew insisted that I go out and have fun with some folks, so I went out for about 2 hours, checking on his temp from time to time, which held steady at around 100 degrees (thankfully, less than mine). I brought him back some Tylenol and by midnight, his temp was down to almost normal.A Godsend - All Tummy Issues Aside
In the end, Matthew and I spent a lot of time together this last vacation, making sure the other was on the mend and back on his feet. Since I got my new job in May, we've both been feeling lots of separation anxiety and the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) of each other's presence. We haven't spent this much time apart for almost the last 5 years!! So, having time together on a vacation, where we usually are out and about all day in town spending time with friends, we would have felt like we spent no time together. In a way, it was a godsend that we got food poisoning.
It might be strange to say, but there's no one I'd rather be sick with than Matthew and he feels the same way. We take care of each other and know each other's needs. The main thing I never want to experience again is watching him leave in an ambulance by himself. That was probably the worst and most helpless I've felt in a long, long time. No matter how much he insisted that we had to do it that way and no matter how it all turned out, it was awful. Seeing my love, in pain, leaving without me to an unknown place with unfamiliar people was awful.
All in all, we relish in the fact that we did, actually, have a great time!!