Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Heart Of The Matter

Did you miss me? Oh, wait, you didn’t know I was away. Well, friends, I took one of those unplanned brief vacations at Hospital Hotel. You know the place. It’s where all the folks scurry around trying to take care of your every need and see that you have personal care right down to the food you are served. Yessir, that’s where I was from Saturday night until I was released this morning.

While at the Hospital Hotel I had at least four doctors and double that in nurses and nurse’s aides popping me pills, feeding me, giving me volumes to read so I could take better care of myself after I left their hospitality. (Hospital-ity! Get it?) They even gave me a DVD that I had to watch before I left and could watch again at home. Now I call that door to door service!

So, what was this trip all about? Well, it seems--and no real surprise to me--that I had let enough stress build up and a growing lack of interest in much of life that it finally knocked me upside the head and said, “Now, you will pay attention. Or else!” It’s the “Or else” that gets you. I knew that I had a developing case of heart trouble. It has been around, undiagnosed, for a number of years. I simply chose not to pay attention to the signs, describing the heaviness in my chest and pain down my arms as being out of breath. It got to the point that going up the one flight of stairs in my apartment building left me “out of breath” and in pain. It all came to a head right after my doctor’s appointment. She realized the gravity of the situation and prescribed a nitroglycerin patch and those dynamite pills for emergencies. I also scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist for July 1. The pill worked the first time I tried them. But Saturday night three of them didn’t. 911 here I come!

The resolution of the first part of this story consisted of discovering that both main arteries in front and in back of my heart were totally clogged. That left one other that was still suitable for a stent placement. The procedure was easily accomplished and the next day I came home.

The heart of the matter, and what needs to be the rest of the story, is that I realized how I had set myself up for this condition. In fact, I really have felt that there wasn’t anything else I needed to do in this life experience and I was ready to move on. Of course, that took my focus off of living and onto how do I get things in order so as to cause the least difficulty to those who might be picking up the pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I was not, am not, talking about taking my life. At least not in some overt manner. However, you and I both know that you cannot dispense with your interest in new life experiences and continuing growth and still be living.

The saving grace for me in all of this is that I had just recently recovered my interest in writing, so I was journalizing and adding posts to my blog. This is my creative interest and even during the hospital stay my mind was working on meaning and purpose and how to turn this into a positive learning experience. I was helped immeasurably by the fact that I have several very special friends and special relatives who always make it clear--if I will listen--that I am not only loved, but needed around here. To do what, I might easily ask. To be here comes the answer.

I am so grateful to those who refuse to give up on me and who urge me to be a part of their lives in some way. My former sister-in-law and her husband, Elaine and Lynn, and their son, Bryan, won’t let me escape the family, even if I wanted to, and I never have. Even now, as they face the transition of their mother and grandmother, they made time for me! It has always been difficult for me to let anyone do anything for me. I was self-sufficient. I could take care of myself. Obviously, I cannot take care of myself as well as I thought.

The lesson is plain and right in front of me, I am not alone! So quit acting like it and enjoy being part of this earthly group of family and friends. That, my friends, is The Heart of the Matter.

1 comment:

Nomi said...

Wow, I am so glad you made the choice to "choose again". You are correct in your analysis as far as I know, you do make it extremely difficult to let others do anything for you. . . not just because you "can do it yourself" but more obviously because you have this horror of putting anyone "out" for you. . . like you are not important. Silly man.
I learned a lesson one time about following the phrase "thank you" with some sort of funny little joke. It was explained to me that when I made a joke from someone's compliment I was actually telling them that they had very poor judgment. I was HORRIFIED. That was NOT what I had intended to do at all. . . I was merely embarrassed that someone should tell me such a wonderful compliment. I did not know how to receive their love! I did know and understand how much I enjoy giving to others, and when I refused to accept the acts of generosity from others I was short changing their joy in being able to "give".
Well, life is just full of all sorts of stuff for us to chew on. . . like cleaning our plates does not help to feed the children in those poor starving countries, it just makes more garbage.
Not allowing others to help us or do things for us, doesn't make us more self sufficient. . . it just takes away someone elses joy. . .
It is a pleasure and joy to be allowed o do something for you . . . you are such a wonderful, gracious receiver (when you can't get out of it) and I think you sincerely mean what you say when you say Thank You. But, give others a little more space, a chance to share that fun feeling of giving to you . .. you are certainly worthy, and you can be joyously willing to accept all of your good. This being humble crap doesn't fill the bill. . you are greater than you know. . .so get out there and go for it!!!
Thank you for taking back the gift of writing. . . it is so enjoyed by many!!! huge hugs, a friend of many years.