Do you publicly moan and groan, at least once in awhile, when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like?
You might have a bad cold or developed a big, bad cavity. Maybe the thermostat isn’t working on a bitter winter day. Or UPS can’t locate the rug you ordered for the living room. When things like this happen, and you’re feeling under the weather or hate the weather, think about Santos.
I met 40-something Santos a few months ago, when he came to my new (old) house to draw up plans to build a kitchen, from scratch. Santos definitely has a way with wood. He created the striking kitchen on the parlor floor, two beautiful closets on the second, as well as new doors for every room (each in a different design). What’s more, he’s self taught, and one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met. He’s dedicated to his two sons and crazy about his six-month-old grandson. You should know, his life has not been easy, not easy at all.
Most recently, Santos was working on bringing back an ancient (1899) entry door in my house from the dead. Then he took ill and almost died himself.
Ignoring the pain he was feeling in his stomach, for a few weeks, Santos continued to work in his shop. He finally went to the doctor when he developed severe diarrhea and couldn’t keep food down. The doctor told him he had a stomach virus and prescribed antibiotics. A week later, Santos wasn’t feeling any better and the pain became so bad, he asked his son to take him to the hospital.
Santos spent over 12 hours in the ER, without complaining or demanding attention, despite his intense pain. He had blood tests and two CT scans. Around 10 pm, he was visited by two doctors, he recounted when I visited him earlier this week.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Berami, the surgeon,” one told Santos.
“And I’m Dr. Cartwright, the anesthesiologist,” said the other.
“And I’m Santos, the carpenter,” answered Santos, with a chuckle, despite his intense pain.
The CT scans revealed that Santos’ small intestine was being telescoped into his large intestine.
The condition is called intussusception (most common in children), and if it wasn’t surgically fixed, pronto, the intestinal wall could lose its blood supply, develop gangrene and become perforated. Santos was so close to that point, the doctors took him into surgery at 1 am. He didn’t go into a tailspin about his situation or ask the doctors a litany of questions. “I know about wood and they know about operations,” Santos told me pragmatically. He trusted they’d do their job as well as he does his.
The operation lasted 3 ½ hours. Santos is looking–and feeling–stronger every day. He doesn’t yet know the biopsy results, but I have no doubt he’d handle a cancer diagnosis as well as he handles everything else. Practically. Without fuss. Although he outwardly may act laid back, however, he’s a worry wart inside, which may have contributed to his current health problems. But, he’d rather spend positive energy on his family and the work he loves than on bemoaning his fate.