Heaviness weighs on my chest, literally. Angina makes it difficult to take deep breaths, leaves me without a sense of much air at the slightest exertion. My brain at times feels leaden, befuddled. And so the pink beta-blocker and the little blue aspirin and Lipitor, that tiny white rugby-ball, become a daily ritual. And next week the angiogram will reveal this or that, and the cardiologist will do this or that, and soon enough i shall be yet more alive again. In the meantime, there is a definite limitation to my energy.
Alarmist sensibilities will provoke sentiments. We live in the now, no matter what the current state of our journey, and we wish each other health and happy birthday, or merry Christmas, or even good day as if it were some special and distinct delineation deserving apportionment to be set apart from every other day. But to those of us with an actual struggle to breathe and thereby living with a somewhat foreboding sense of immanent foreclosure, one resorts to treasuring the moment by moment existence of air and light and movement itself. There is a checking in of memories, of regrets, of things left undone. But why, were i to be more alive again, should it be any different? Does one not take the baggage along with oneself, the love-letters unsent, the stitches dropped, the unsigned canvases, the photos in the mind, the scars of our past, the joys and loves that sustained us?
Death is not to be feared; Living is, particularly if "feared" is understood in terms of apprehension, dealing with uncertainties. Death completely releases; Living constantly requires. Death leaves all of the self, of a thee or me, for others to deal with; Living requires the self to participate. Now that i am alive it takes something of an effort to be, to breathe, to take my medications, to watch my diet, to watch what i say, to be responsible for my actions, to consider my impact on others, to focus clearly. Regret to say, Death leaves others with the sorrow and the ache of grief and the loneliness of moments insufficient by themselves, but for the self death is mayhap a release into the ethereal, free from pain. At least one hopes so! The cartoon of the fellow in hell whistling at his wheelbarrow of work while the devil prods at him, saying “we just can’t seem to get through to you”, resonates. Does one still have to put up with pain after death? Is that where we get our concept of hell? Ha!
Thing is, as I now lie here in this hospital bed awaiting the invasive procedures into my heart, I am quite aware that the day shall end with yet some further recommendations to live more better. More exercise, more water, more cardboard-tasting foodstuffs, more rest, more care of the self. Amen. Should there be more meds or more surgery, well, all that is designed to make one well too. But between last week (with the first paragraph of this current missive and the typing of this current sentence) there lay the long hours of the journey of days from there to here, literally and figuratively. So too for each of us. We journey from now to now, day to day, and being alive, we do but give unto the moment. Let such moments then be special. Once we are gone what would we have of those remaining but that they should appreciate and enjoy and love and be more better too, day by day. Amen.
And now, as I type but eight hours later, I'm pleased to say the angiogram revealed an essentially good heart, ha!, and provided that the prescribed medical path of pill-taking is followed, it's been given a clean bill to go on ticking! Amen! What a fuss!