Where to begin? I guess it all started with my poor old damaged heart. And because of my weakened heart I developed Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). My cardiologist prescribed me medication to help with the AFib which worked. But the medication came with side effects that may have created other medical problems to which I suffer. So my cardiologist pulled me off that medication and the AFib has come back. So now we are exploring other procedures to help with the AFib.
At the moment I’m wearing a heart monitor to continuously measure my heart rate. Then after a couple of weeks of that, I go the a cardiologist that specializes in handling AFib cases. It the moment it looks like I’ll be having a cardiac ablation procedure done to help with my heart. But all this is a little ways down the road. At the moment I’m trying to absorb all this new information. I’m feeling much more optimistic then I have for the last few weeks. But still the anxiety creeps in and everything around me is starting to sound like noise.
The whole thing in a way is frustrating. The funky way my heart will beat, the continuing fatigue, and my biggest fear the shortness of breath. You try to tell yourself to be patient that we’ve played this game with fear and anxiety way too many times. It seems the more I fight mentally, the more my body defies me. I just sigh and say, “it is what it is”. But that’s what’s happening right now. Hopefully over the next few days I’ll gain a little more perspective and my raw emotions will settle. So for now I’ll kick it into autopilot and go with the flow.
Another one of my blood blisters busted on my arm yesterday It run a stream of bright red blood down my arm before I ever noticed it. But don’t worry I’m more than used to this and I keep a ample supply of Band-Aids with me. I’ve been told this is just a sad side effect of the large volume of blood thinners I must take. So I do my best not bump my arms, but most of the time the blisters just appear on their own.
Life is all about the conditions that it places on us. Rather it’s being mindful of cuts and scraps. Or to know which side of the street to walk on to keep from being killed. Some of us are lucky to have few stipulations placed upon us. Rather by our gender, race, or social standing; we can move about freely with no real fear of consequence. I often see this every day with my classification as white and male. But what if I wasn’t, what if I were black or female or both? I like to think of myself as “color blind”, but what if somewhere conditioned in me are still those racist tendencies? The same can hold true for class or educational status.
I often find myself guilty of judging others by their upbringing or political standing. Labelling some as ignorant or selfish just by their political or religious affiliation. I was raised at the beginning of the Evangelical or Pentecostal movement of the 1970’s. These independent churches usually made up their own rules of spiritual interpretation as they went along. I personally stepped away from the particular type of theology a few decades ago. But like I said, we are all conditioned to think and live as our surroundings often dictate.
I guess what I’m trying too say is, things can change. We can ask forgiveness for the wrongs we’ve done. We can fight against the injustice we see placed upon others. Or look at the situations in which we all live and do our best to live despite them. Sitting out here while a scab begins to form over my latest wound, I’m reminded. This to shall pass. And that no matter the condition, we all must willing to fight for what is just of all.
Sitting here I’m listening to one particular bird song. It’s one I’ve heard at least a hundred times. It’s funny how I seem to remember each note as it’s repeated until it’s done. The wind is blowing from the northeast a change from yesterday’s westerly flow. I assume that means the low pressure we were under is moving. Maybe the birds are having the same conversation. Like old man on a park bench talking about the weather or politics. But I assume that conversation would be way more animated.
I still find myself asking questions of love and purpose. Questions about obligation and the depths to which taking care of one’s needs simply becomes selfishness. I find comfort in where I am, yet I also find myself desiring more. Wondering if the absence of one truly is the absence of wholeness? Maybe I’m stepping over the bounds of comfort and longevity. But these are the questions I find myself asking every day.
To those that may feel like minded, I have no concrete response. On many occasions I’ve found myself teetering over the edge of safe judgement and blind faith. Hovering ever so close to chaos, yet always finding myself pulling back. Maybe it’s as we’ve told each other a thousand times. To cross the line would somehow ruin the perfection we see. But we know good a damn well that’s not the reason. The true reason is that we were never really separated. Physically yes, but never spiritually. Love like the dance of the wind, is ever present. Love like the song of the birds, that bears repeating every day.
With the laundry hanging under overcast skies, I hear the activity going on around me. From the sawing of a down tree to the called each other by name. A quiet breeze blows out of the west gently moving the clothes. Almost like a stationary group of soldiers on parade.
Still dwelling on the after effects of last night’s dreams, I wonder if their meaning. Or even if there’s any meaning at all. I wonder too much, often giving in to my own flight’s of fancy. Thinking myself too elevated for casual conversation.
But I am just a man, a man who’s world as shaped by the influence of good and evil. A man who’s words maybe too blunt for his own good. So I sit here and dissect myself too completely. Till there’s hardly a man left to see. Picking through the scraps of what was once potential. Just to find a little peace of mind. Wrapped within a skin so frail.
After three perfectly sunny days of being stuck in the house I’m finally back outside. Ever since the big rains of last week my head has been pounding and my body itching to death from allergies. Honestly this has been the worst bout with allergies I’ve had in years. But I suppose now that the dust has settled and l can once again enjoy the outdoors. Sitting here under my blooming shade, I can smell where someone is burning underbrush. While still closer, I can hear the songs of migrating birds settling in their springtime nests.
As the earth moves across the sun, the shade I enjoyed an hour ago now sits behind me. Pulling my rocker back under the shade, I get a different view of my surroundings. Much like you would get if you allowed yourself to understand else’s point of view. But as with many, most all my life has been filled with absolutes. Dealing with most everything from my station in life, to my faith, and even the choices of who I can love. Everything is painted in either black or white, yes or no, right or wrong.
But I don’t know anymore, I just don’t see things in such a limited way anymore. Now it seems that if I walked around with such blinders on, I wouldn’t be able to take in the beauty and wonder that is around me. I’d simply be stuck on an established, predictable path with no allowances for change or growth. But I don’t know, maybe these are just the ramblings of a failed man with a gift for gab. A storyteller with no real story to tell. But however you want to look at it, life should be a kaleidoscope colors, of choices, and discoveries. Nature is always in motion. Rather it's in the growth and color of spring or the death and decay fall. Don’t let the grass settle under your feet live a life of uncharted discovery. Don’t let circumstance steal your joy.
It’s physically exhausting to feel the rapid pitter patter of a heart gone crazy. It makes me nervous, but it doesn’t hurt. It just makes drawing a breath or focusing pretty difficult. I really haven’t done anything to bring this on. It usually just appears out of nowhere. My cardiologist says it due to a damaged left ventricle not pumping enough blood. Whatever’s causing it, it’s a damn nuisance that really pisses me off.
I’ve written a many a word about the limitations my body has placed on me. The mental illnesses that plague me. The circumstances that trouble my soul. I do my damnedest not so much to ignore these things, but to accept them, then work to make things better. But believe me, under all this accepting façade, is a man who is often exhausted and afraid. So what do you do?, you may ask.
For me the thing that drove was my responsibility to others. The caretaking of my family and my responsibility to myself. Despite whatever shortcomings I feel about myself, my mindfulness training has taught me to love myself. That fear is an accepted by-product of abuse and neglect. That when examined and forgiven can take you beyond any circumstance. So as I lay here, my old heart chilling just a bit. Reminding myself that just a small act of perseverance can pull you through any perceived trouble.
I’m doing something I rarely do anymore, I’m sitting on the front porch. I guess because it was my smoking spot for so long. And even though the ashtray and pipes are long gone, I can’t help but remember the pleasure it brought me. It’s raining right now and it is nice to breathe clear air for the moment. The squall line from the storm hasn’t made it here quite yet, but the winds picking up and the rain’s falling a little harder.
I sit here feeling a little flush. Not sure if I have a slight fever or if it’s just humid. But considering I already have two fever blisters in my mouth, I’m betting on a fever. Well in a world of transition, news and social media do their damnest to keep us paranoid and afraid. All in the name of the almighty advertising dollar. Now I’m not saying there isn’t some “hidden agenda” somewhere. But considering, money seems to be the obvious motivation.
Desire and wants aren’t always for our best interest. Take pipe smoking, the pleasure of the taste and smell were very comforting. But the price I’ve paid through my declining health and mouth like a meth head is the price I paid for that pleasure. Just because something feels right, doesn’t make it good for you. Be mindful of your words and actions. Something that may feel right to you may be harmful to those around you. Sacrifice and respect are also components of freedom. We are a community, something that benefits the one shouldn’t be damned the whole because it makes you uncomfortable.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.