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When I Grow Old and Wear My Trousers Rolled: The Year of the Black Cloud

December 23rd, 2017 by Michael Dyet

I grow old… I grow old…

I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled

T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Hmmm, when I grow old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled, will 2017 be a year that mercifully fades into the mist of lost memories?

I would normally wait until New Year’s Day to write my year-in-review post. But I am jumping the gun in the hope of banishing the stubborn black cloud that has been hanging over me for the past twelve months. If you follow my blog, you will have heard my tales of woe. Bear with as I feel the need to assemble them in one place and be done with them.

The black cloud forms. There was an early sign that 2017 might be a tough year. My cat was diagnosed with kidney disease in late 2016. Special food and medication seemed initially to be working. But on New Year’s Eve, my big fat cat, as I liked to call him, stopped eating again. Weekly visits to the vet, for treatments that were less and less effective, followed for five weeks.

The black cloud takes hold. In early February, I made the heart-wrenching decision to end his suffering. It still pains me to recall that feared day. By chance, he was cremated on Valentines Day – a fitting farewell for a sweet, affectionate cat who brought me much joy.

Side note: I was working with a naturopath from the beginning of the year to address digestive system problems. This was a precursor, as it turned out, for what was to come later.

The black cloud spews lightening. In March, I received a telephone call at work telling me that a family member had suffered a heart attack. I still recall the clutch of fear in my heart at the news. An emergency angioplasty to insert two stints into heart valves was successful. But a nasty staph infection contracted at the hospital made for a miserable few weeks.

The black cloud spews thunder. In early August, a severe bout of stomach cramps occurred that lasted on and off for three days. Reluctantly, on the evening of the third day, I called 911 and went to the hospital by ambulance. The diagnosis: Volvulus aka, twisted colon, causing a bowel obstruction and requiring surgery to remove a weakened section of colon.

I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital, including a stint in ICU with aspiration pneumonia, preparing for the surgery, the surgery itself and the recovery period. I came home to recover for a few weeks believing that surely this was the final misfortune in my dismal year.

The black cloud spews more thunder. Scar tissue from the surgery caused repeated secondary bowel blockages which landed me in the hospital three more times over the next couple of months. Since then I have been on a restricted diet of pureed and blender-prepared food to reduce the risk of another blockage.

The black cloud spews rain. You would think this would be enough bad luck for one year. But one more low blow was awaiting me. A little over a week ago, I awoke to the sound of gushing water in my townhouse unit. A failed shut off valve allowed a geyser of water to flood my suite. I stayed with friends for several days while a cleaning service dried out my place.

Given this unrelenting black cloud, the metaphor of choice for my 2017 is a tsunami of misfortune that put me down for the count several times and left me very eager for the year to end.

When I grow old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled, I will be grateful if 2017 fades into the mist of lost memories. But I earnestly hope that what lies ahead for me in the coming years, will enable me to see 2017 as the turning point after which my luck changed and great things happened. Stay tuned to find out.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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