Stand by for re-entry. Might be a bumpy ride.
I still can’t get my head around the fact that we die. That we die comma period.Â This, this very this, astonishes me every day of my long legged life.Â But I suppose it’s better to wait for that grim bastard standing on my own two feet.Â Not dragging some oxygen tank over to the nickel slots.Â Eh?
He worked as meat cutter for Purity Supreme Supermarket in the Boston area for more than 30 years before his retirement in 1980. Henry had been a longtime …
(Started off as a comment on this post over here.)
sort of setting the mood here
You will never hear those words spoken in a television ad. Yet this central fact of human existence colors our world and how we perceive ourselves within it.
“Life is too short,” we say, and it is. Too short for office politics, for busywork and pointless paper chases, for jumping through hoops and covering our asses, for trying to please, to not offend, for constantly struggling to achieve some ever-receding definition of success. Too short as well for worrying whether we bought the right suit, the right breakfast cereal, the right laptop computer, the right brand of underarm deodorant.
Life is too short because we die. Alone with ourselves, we sometimes stop to wonder what’s important, really. Our kids, our friends, our lovers, our losses? Things change and change is often painful. People get “downsized,” move away, the old neighborhood isn’t what it used to be. Children get sick, get better, get bored, get on our nerves. They grow up hearing news of a world more frightening than anything in ancient fairy tales. The wicked witch won’t really push you into the oven, honey, but watch out for AK-47s at recess.
Amazingly, we learn to live with it. Human beings are incredibly resilient. We know it’s all temporary, that we can’t freeze the good times or hold back the bad. We roll with the punches, regroup, rebuild, pick up the pieces, take another shot. We come to understand that life is just like that. And this seemingly simple understanding is the seed of a profound wisdom.
Why beat around the bush? I had a heart attack this week. I was incredibly short of breath, but didn’t have any pain. I thought. Since my fall on my back on the ice I’ve had a lot of pain in all the muscles around my shoulder blades and some has bled over into the chest muscles too. How much of the pain I felt Tuesday morning was residual pain from the fall, and how much was actually the pain associated with a myocardial infarction I guess I’ll never know.
When my breathing slowed and I got my wind back I figured I was back to normal. Beth was persistent and insistent and finally I got in the car and we went to the hospital. Beth drove.
We began with a visit to the Emergency Room, a test that showed Troponin in my blood, a gurney ride to the cardiac care unit, lots more blood tests and IV punctures, bags of saline and bags of heparin and the most uncomfortable night I have had sleeping since we slept in jungle hammocks in Bulovsky’s woods. Next morning they put me in line for a cardiac catheterization. I confessed my anxiety to the nurse. She said not to worry, I would get over it quickly enough, and I did. Get over it. Whatever they put in my IV had me packing up my cares and woes and whistling Bye-bye Blackbird. They found that my arteries are about as atherosclerotic as you might expect in a man my age, but no blockages, nothing requiring bypass or stents or balloons or whatever. They monitored me for several hours after they pulled the catheter out of my heart via the puncture they’d made in my femoral artery. Finally, they sent me home with prescriptions for three different drugs.
I was at first totally in denial. No elephant sitting on my chest, therefore no heart attack. The Troponin was probably the other kind of Troponin, the kind that comes fromâ€”oh, I dunno, falling on the ice for example. Fortunately we have the google at my house, so I was able to read a little and learn that the many physicians, technicians, and nurses were probably right in their diagnosis and my intuition that I really hadn’t had a heart attack was likely quite wrong.
There are so many things to write about that even a moment’s reflection on my own mortality seems kind of cheesy. And while I have a health problem, so do a lot of other people and you don’t hear them whining and kvetching. Let’s close the door on the cardiac ward and get out of here. Let’s get back to talking about politics and the economy, to sharing some links to enjoyable art, and to poking fun at the self important buffoons who surround us.
Speaking of which, here’s a guy who’s doing it right… Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good day.