The last week and a half of my life has been at times both a personal hell and salvation. And the same I believe, can be said for the Red Sox.
On Monday I suffered a severe seizure that landed me in the hospital. No one knew what was wrong with me, except that a CT scan performed that night found there was a lump in my brain. I felt like crap and I was getting paranoid that it was a tumor. The anti-seizure drugs the doctors were giving me were awful and the testing they were doing was a headache.
On top of this ordeal, my beloved Red Sox were in the process of losing three straight games to the hated New York Yankees. Not a fun week, to say the least.
I hardly noticed the first three losses Boston suffered as I spent those days convalescing from the “electrical storm” in my brain, barely cognizant of anything except an incredible pounding in my head and a nasty haze that prevented me from thinking clearly. Needless to say, the articles I wrote for last week’s issues of the Vanguard are probably not my finest work.
By Saturday I was feeling alright, except for a severe pain that now dominated my back due to my new neurologist’s insistence on performing a spinal tap on me the day before, in order to test for the “C” word. Cancer.
The result of the game sickened me more than the procedure, as I watched the Yanks pound the Sox 19-8 at Fenway for a game three win. The Sox were in trouble and the looked as depressed as I was feeling.
With New York holding a commanding 3-0 lead I had resigned myself to another year of what-ifs and a long winter of rebuilding for my beloved Boston team. But the Red Sox fought back on Sunday in a 12- inning thriller that ended with a David Ortiz homer and staved off elimination for one more day. Another extra inning marathon, again ended by “Big Papi” Ortiz, this time in the bottom of the 14th inning, shrank New York’s lead to 3-2 and had the Sox faithful talking about a comeback, baby.
Tuesday marked a full week since the seizure and I wasn’t doing too well. The medicine I’d been taking was killing my stomach and causing me grinding headaches. Still, I stayed up and watched Curt Schilling pitch that night on one ankle and I couldn’t quite believe that he’d really given Red Sox Nation one last chance at history. Seven innings, one run and the win.
Not a bad night of work for someone with three sutures holding their foot to their ankle. Now that the series was tied up at three games apiece there was serious discussion of a Red Sox win on Wednesday night. I have to say, I wasn’t sure I believed quite yet.
On Wednesday morning I got some good news of my own. The results of the spinal tap were in. The testing had been worth the pain, because they confirmed that the lump in my brain wasn’t cancerous. I wasn’t going to die. Beyond simple relief I can’t explain how it felt to get that news, except to say that now I believed anything was possible, even a Boston win in game seven and the biggest upset in the history of the sport.
Wednesday night the critics were temporarily silenced and some of my own demons were sent packing along with them as the Red Sox won a game in which they led throughout and won with a final score of 10-3.
They won on the strength of oft-maligned Derek Lowe’s superb pitching on just two days rest and six RBI from Johnny Damon, who had been frosty in the series up to that point. Four of his RBI came off of a majestic grand slam that Damon sent into the right field bleachers of Yankee Stadium. Red Sox fans, me included, were waiting all week for something to spoil the perfect ending we were all rooting for while secretly preparing for heartbreak. But this time the underdog could not be denied, and nothing will ever be sweeter. Except perhaps being able to live to see the Sox repeat next year after they win the World Series.