Seven days after an emergency flight from Honolulu back to Vancouver, my Pharmacist said to me, “People like you, who acquire that kind of bacteria infection, we usually don’t get to speak with.” Puzzled, yet wanting to feign some degree of humour tucked within a question, I replied, “You usually don’t get to talk to them?”
It’s October 31st, 2010 and the last few days have been very uncomfortable for me. As my eyes open on this sun-drenched morning, in Honolulu, I hear within an energetic presence, this very clear ‘whisper’. Its directive very simply is: ‘Go home.’
I had been on a bit of a whirlwind travel schedule, supporting a friend playing volleyball in Las Vegas and committed to seeing as many Cirque performances within my short stay as possible.
This had been my first trip to Vegas. I am blessed to fly on a friend’s travel companion pass and can jet away at a moment’s notice. My only wish would have been to have what went on in Vegas to stay in Vegas.
After my Vegas trip, I disembarked WestJet’s flight at the Honolulu International Airport. My friend working that flight, as a Flight Attendant said, “That looks like a bed bug bite on your hand. Be careful with that.” I thanked him for his unsolicited medical opinion, wished him a gentle Aloha, and stepped off the plane to the moisture of the Hawaiian air.
I had come to Honolulu to celebrate Halloween. For me it’s kind of like Gay Christmas.
The undiagnosed bed bug bite, although it just looked like a scratch, first showed up in Vegas. I thought nothing of it and continued my foray into the Vegas energy. The scratch became a bit itchy, so of course I rubbed it. That, I would be told, was not a good thing to do.
The scratch, in the midst of the amazing energy of Honolulu and being with many new friends, was beginning to become redder. Plus, I noticed it beginning to swell. It was a bit uncomfortable, but this was Halloween and I was not going to miss any of the festivities.
Later that night, prior to walking through downtown Honolulu to see all the costumes, I decided to apply ice to the now bright red and elevated bump on my hand. It seemed to ease the pain.
Discomfort shifted to extreme pain and suddenly I noticed, although I wanted to panic, a gentle presence around or within me that conveyed a sense of peace. It was familiar, like the comfort of something that had been with me for a long time.
I had just finished a course that Debbie Ford taught called Designed by the Light. The course was intended to support me in connecting with my highest self and create, from that place, a life I had only ever imagined. It was profound the connection I made to my highest self in that three month course. Little did I know what I was preparing myself for.
After contending with the throngs of Halloween revelers, finishing some yummy dessert at a local café, my friend looked my way and said to the group, “It’s time for us to leave.” He noticed I was in trouble.
Although the pain was excruciating, the swelling now resembling the costumed hand of Mickey Mouse, there was still this presence that invited me to breathe and conveyed that I was okay.
I was not interested in the Honolulu General Emergency Ward and returned to icing down my hand. Sleeping came relatively easy, despite the pain, perched 38 floors above Ala Moana Park.
“Go home.” I immediately turned to my friend and asked if he could contact WestJet to get me on the next flight back to Vancouver. Early that afternoon I settled into what would become the longest six hours of flying in my life.
I was met at the Vancouver airport and quickly whisked to St. Paul’s Emergency Ward. The haze of the trip, the pain, the fear and the confusion were rapidly disappearing – morphine does that. What did not leave me was the presence, inviting me to know I was okay.
I would spend the next four days on intravenous antibiotics, morphine and a host of other pharmaceutical goodies all intended to chase down an MRSA – a nasty anti-biotic resistant strain of bacteria. It’s also known as a superbug.
“People like you, who acquire that kind of bacteria infection, we usually don’t get to speak with.” echoed in my memory. “No!” said my pharmacist “They die.” The attending physician at the emergency ward shared that if I waited one more day, I would have been in a lot of trouble.
By acknowledging the ‘presence’ and listening to the ‘whisper’, that morning of October 31st, I helped to save my life. The ‘whisper’, for me, is the voice of the Divine, the Universe, and my Intuition – God.
The ‘presence’ and the ‘whisper’ have been with me since the age of three when I said to Mom, “I won’t be like my brothers.” – that was me coming out to my Mom. It would inspire me in Grade 5 to surround myself with amazing people. The ‘whisper’ would direct me to go to another high school instead of the one none of my siblings graduated from. It would suggest I go to university and ultimately guide me to come out of the closet in 1988.
The ‘presence’ is alive within me and each time I listen to the ‘whisper’ I honour the grandest and greatest version of myself. Today, I acknowledge a clear and present whisper.