Halloween — one of my favorite holidays. It’s been hard to read everyone’s accounts on Facebook of their costumes and how they’re getting ready for the big day. I’m also waxing nostalgic about last year’s zombie costumes with my brother, which were such an unexpected hit. Maybe next year we’ll be able to build on them and take their amazingness to even greater heights.

As far as I can tell though, Halloween is really not a big deal over here. We have seen a few little kids dressed up, clearly for school parties, and we ran into someone who works at our gym on the metro last night, who said she was heading to a mandatory Halloween party at work. (They really take their fun very seriously at that place.) We’ll see what tonight brings, but I’m not holding my breath for anything spectacular. Compared to Santa Cruz though, where Halloween is practically a national holiday, anything else can only disappoint.

Back to the story at hand. Very happy to report that Gabe spent yesterday completely pain-free. What a relief that was, to both of us. It’s incredible how you take the default setting, i.e. freedom from pain, so much for granted… until it’s gone. And then once it’s back, it’s like a whole fresh new perspective on the world. I’ve always felt that way after having a migraine, and I can only imagine how many more times it’s true in this case.

We went in to the lab for tests in the morning, and then spent the afternoon quietly at home, recovering from the physical (his) and emotional (mine) trauma of the day before. We then saw a urologist in the late afternoon, who was hugely helpful, patient, and willing to explain and answer all of our questions, even down to drawing a rudimentary diagram of the kidney.

So far, I am very impressed with the quality of their health care here, even if it is somewhat laissez faire at times. The doctor had also had kidney stones in the past (which we’re now finding more and more people who have done so), and was able both to sympathize and to prescribe Gabe a panoply of meds in case it comes back again. I very adamantly hope that it does not, but it’s nice to know that we’re armed if it does.

To celebrate a day free of pain, but mostly for some sheer escapism, we then went to see the new Bruce Willis movie, which was playing at a cinema near the doctor’s office. We had a quick dinner at the food court there, and then left this crazy world for an even crazier (albeit fictional) one, a near future distopia wherein people send their “synths” out into the world to interact for them, free of danger or pain or self-consciousness. After this week, let me tell you, the idea definitely appealed!

So we spent two hours safely ensconced in another world, which made all the difference to our own when we emerged. Sometimes, there’s really nothing like escapism for making you feel better.

Happy Halloween, everyone!