What a difference a day makes. First we got a hurricane hitting Florida right now and the winds picking here in Alamo, Ga. But the skies here are still clear, but the birds and critters are hunkering down like they know something’s going to happen. I’m outside enjoying the cool breeze calling up everybody getting my “ducks in a row” for my surgery next week. Yes, we finally have a definitive date and time for my cardiac ablation procedure. So the first week in October I head down to Savannah Georgia to have it done.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been having AFib problems with my heart for a while now. I was taking a strong medication to counteract it, but the side effects finally outweighed to good. So for the past year or so I’ve been living with frequent AFib issues. So my cardiologist recommended me for a new procedure and after a number of months, I finally got approved. Over the last few months my anxiety levels have ramping up. Partly due to inflation, but mostly due to rising health issues such as AFib. But since getting approval for the surgery and a slight change in my medication. I’m feeling a whole lot better mentally and physically.
At the moment I’m a little woozy from my recent flu and omicron booster shots. But I wanted to get those out of the way before going to the hospital. But even with the upcoming procedure and of course the storm, I’m feeling good and I’m feeling positive. I’ve pretty much covered all my bases as far as hospital’s, hotels, and travel arrangements. I got Lisa coming with me and her lodging and groceries covered. Hopefully this won’t be an overly complicated thing. Recovery should be fairly quick, the procedure isn’t too evasive. So while the wind continues to whip around me, I’m reminded that calmer heads always prevail. When caught in an unknown situation rely on the facts and not on hearsay. Because nature has a way of creating order to what otherwise seems to be chaos.
There’s not a lick of wind blowing so it’s just a matter of time before the gnats show up. It’s a not so calm Sunday morning. The Baptist next door are showing up and a large number of log trucks are on the highway. We’re supposed to have a hurricane come visit us by the end of the week. I assume that’s why all these trucks are out on the road today. Knowing that by the middle of the week the logging roads will be soaked.
Lisa’s got my daughter’s laundry on the line. Glad I got it picked up yesterday cause of the upcoming rain. Hanging clothes on a line may sound like a quaint old custom. But for many like ourselves, it’s the only opinion you got. Many of us loose ourselves in the name of convenience. We order dinner from a drive thru or have our them delivered by FedEx or UPS. Precut, prepackaged, and ready to go. I don’t know, maybe I just lingered too long in the previous generation. But while I understand convenience, I’d much rather work my magic around the house, then pause and watch the clothes dry.
Life’s too crazy as it is. Every time I leave the house I feel I have to change from cruising speed to overdrive. It’s in those moments that I have to ask myself, why the hell do we do this? One of the blessings on my ongoing heart issues is that it has forced me to slowdown. Not many of us take the time to find a positive in the face of a negative. But life often forces you to pause and take assessment of what’s going on. There are so many distractions out there, that we need to be careful where we invest our time. But without time to think or reflect, the skills we need to learn fade away. Leaving us vulnerable to the deceit and agenda of others.
Within life’s grey pastures are the elements of life, of surviving. Where things don’t look as pretty and life gets mighty damn hard. In my 59+ years I thought I’d wasted a lot of time. But in reality it was simply spent in dutiful repetition. Living a routine meant to sustain us and keep us going.
We often speak of “living in the moment”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean excitement and accessibility. It can mean focus on the task at hand, the mundane and the common. Too often we look at our lives as wasted moments or missed opportunities. But continuing to believe that only cheapens the graceful periods you’ve actually received.
As I approach my 6th decade I’m just learning to appreciate moments of sweet serendipity. When happenstance and routine bring about some of life’s greatest gifts. So my advice too you is, spend less time worrying about pursuit of the “brass ring” and more time appreciating the quieter moments life gives.
Lord, I am a pitiful sight. I’m laying here on the bed, under a blanket with an ice pack on my head. My sugar was a little low this morning, so I eat myself an early lunch. Now I’m sleepy and my sinuses are starting to demand some attention. Recently a friend of mine brought up how the death of loved one can leave such a void in ones life. I replied that while that maybe true, it is the impression that a loved one leaves that will always remain.
With the recent death of the British Queen I suppose death has been front and center on many peoples minds. For years death was a major fear that stood front and center in my own heart. I worried mainly about what would happen to my family, especially my wife and special needs son. But for the last seven years after I actually faced death. For whatever reason, that fear has left me. No I don’t think it was some spiritual experience that erased it or some sort of gotcha moment.
I think it had more to do with witnessing my family spring into action. Seeing how my boys and girls rallied themselves to see about the needs of their mother and for my own needs for that matter. It made me realize for all the bad parenting I thought I had done. That somewhere in all that chaos a little good came out. The moral I suppose beyond just being a decent parent is, to also be a decent human being. Both Christian and Zen Buddhist traditions ask that we be kind to one another. To greet each other with encouraging words and to listen compassionately. So if you think about it, how much better would life be if we all lived that way?
Honest to God
It’s kinda hard to describe, the feelings are so real. The sensation that something is very wrong. For a long time I was told I was a hydrocondriac. Because whenever I’d get my symptoms checked out they would often fade. I’d always been overweight and I smoked. But even then, I usually stayed pretty active physically. So my earliest health issues didn’t appear till after I developed Panic Disorder. My panic often displays itself in the form of health anxiety. Rather it’s shortness of breath or rapid heartbeat, in the beginning it would quickly appear then disappear. I blame my worsening symptoms on increased stress and my own shitty lifestyle. But 23 years after my initial PD diagnosis, there are times when it’s hard to distinguish between a panic attack and an honest to God health situation.
There are other mental health issues I suffer from like General Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Depression. But my panic is the granddaddy of them all. I’ve quit and lost jobs because of it. I’ve made foolish financial and life decision because of it. Effecting not only the quality of my life, but the life of my family. The months of initial madness spending days and weeks under the covers of my bed. My bouts with depression and agoraphobia, and the clinic’s tendency throw treatments against the wall to see if they'd stick; it’s a damn wonder I’m still around. But through trial and error, and a great deal of therapy. I’ve survival but all be it with more than my share of scars.
This journey is much more than I can sum up in just 300 words or less. But lately my old friend panic has been back to torment my nights. I think it all has to do with an upcoming surgery I will be having in October. The surgery will hopefully correct my AFib situation. It’s a new type of surgery that is going through it’s clinical trials. So basically I’m going to be a guinea pig or at least a lab rat. But while I still approach this with my usual cynical humor. Down deep my old nemesis panic has found opening. Lord knows why I’m even bring any of this up. It’s a subject I’ve brought up more times than I care to mention. Still it feels important that I say, there are no easy answers. But a fight worth fighting often last a lifetime, just ask any of my friends working on their sobriety. Life’s often never easy nor is it ever drawn with a straight line. The point is to keep trying. There were so many moments when I could have just given up. But for some crazy I chose to fight. And to be honest, I believe you want to as well.
Make a Deposit
As you can see I’m finally outside again, after a week of endless rain showers. I had to go to my hematologist and give them about a pint of love. This makes the third time in the last week I’ve had blood drawn. I’m starting to run out of places to make a deposit. Sitting here the waiting room is full of patients. It is here I noticed I that I was quite possibly the youngest person in the room by at least a good ten years. Now this has nothing to do with ageism or anything critical about growing old. It was just an interesting observation about others and myself and this movement in time.
Sitting here now under a canopy of fading leaves, listening to the quiet of nature and the distant sounds of man. I can’t help but wonder where my life is heading. I mean I’ll be 60 years old on my upcoming birthday. And while many of my peers have achieved a certain amount of success materially, I seem to have stepped backwards. Acquiring less and less material wealth as I get older. It’s this kinda shit that used to stress me out. But as I step farther and farther away from the world and it’s over dramatic concerns. I find myself more in focus with myself and more at peace.
But over the last few months of this self-imposed isolation, I’ve found myself worrying about more things than I had any control over. When my focus should have been drawn inward. Working to overcome the inner demons that are haunting my life. So often we forget about the world that we can control. And that by making peace with our own shortcomings we in turn make peace with rest of the world. It’s funny how just a few moments of inner reflection can open you up less confusion, less fear, and less anxiety. By investing (making a deposit) in one’s own well-being, you are taking the first steps in creating a better world of yourself and everyone else.
As I have reported for the last several days, this humid weather has left my sinuses draining and my eyes watery. It’s given me a scratchy throat and skin itchy. Not to mention a low-grade fever and some restless nights of sleep. It has also not done much for my attitude or my overall creativity, let alone my “charming personality”. Still I’m trying to be consistent with usual correspondence and encouragement to others. I mean just because I feel like shit, doesn’t mean everyone has too, right?
Within my immediate family I’m considered a “bull in a china shop “. If you ask my extended family, I’m one of the more quieter ones in the bunch. My oldest is constantly arguing with me about my brash Gen X attitude. But I like to think of myself as more of a late Boomer. Stuck somewhere between a Leave it to Beaver suburbia and a Married with Children dystopia. However you label me I will admit I’m a bit crusty around the edges.
I’d like to think that gives me a hint of realism when I look at life. Because we all damn well know life is often just a soggy sandwich. But it doesn’t mean you can’t wash it down with a good cold beer. The Bible says to be of good cheer and to greet someone with respect and encouraging words (1 Thessalonians 5:11). I like to think I do that most of the time, even if I don’t do it for myself. Kind words are seldom found in today’s world. So risk the cliché of being laughed at while giving encouraging words. You never know who may need it more than they are letting on. Right?
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.