For the better part of the last month, I couldn’t do this.
I sat down on Sunday, June 14th and I tried to write a blogpost on my forty eight hour adventure through time that began with a routine six month checkup and went off road from there. I rambled on to the tune of a couple thousand words that proved messier than Picasso’s sketch pad. After which I cried. Sobbed was more like it.
Before I go further, you can chill. I’m not dying. Whatever’s ailing me isn’t likely to be life threatening. A sobering testimony to the fragility of this thing called life? Yeah, it’s been that. Inside the last several weeks I’ve had an ultrasound, a CAT scan, an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram (Admittedly, I didn’t know the diff before now). I’ve had more blood work done than a vampire on commision, not to mention a couple of new doctors who continue to poke and prod me for answers. I halfway expect them to start sending me Hallmark cards if these relationships go any further. Or at least flowers . . to which I’m partial to sunflowers if they’re reading this.
My official diagnosis is hypertension- the gift that keeps on bitching. Unofficially, I consider this period of my life to be a huge pain in the ass. It’s been months since I had a decent night’s sleep, or since I could have a drink (the kind that puts hair on body parts) without suffering through a headache from Hades. I’ve moved through several different BP meds with little change in my elevated levels.
It’s wait and see.
Soooo, my blogless existence hasn’t been the result of a lack of trying. That Sunday morning attempt last month, the one that ended in a great big bawl of delete was followed with a few more attempts at a post. Each and every one of them was more incoherent and rambling than the last. Until I decided to right my brain before I took another shot. Because I wanted to post something and I wanted to make some kind of sense. And most of all, because I wanted to let you all know that I think about you. And I appreciate you. And yes, you all are something I look forward to.
The irony of these last couple weeks is that I have been gravitating to all the things I look forward to. In between work and dates with doctors, I’ve been taking advantage of the moments. Hugs have become akin to breathing. Saying I love you carries the same effect as an adrenaline shot. Travailing the big ideas is one thing, but trespassing into the simple moments of a day is what makes you realize how amazing life truly is.
That original post involved a trip to the ER and the perspective you gain when you have absolutely no control over what is happening to your body. I wrote the post as if an epitaph to the ordeal, rather than what it was- my introduction to a different way of living. Because the truth of the matter is that I’m still not certain as to what is really going on. All I really know, for absolute certainty, is that I will never . .and I mean ever take my health for granted. It’s not cliched to admit this, but that whole thing about health being the most important thing? Alls I would add is this- your health? It’s the only thing.
Over the last several weeks, the material worries have been marginalized into a little corner. It’s what happens when you do an inventory; you peel away the meaningless and you cull those moments I was talking about earlier. The complicated world you find yourself walking through suddenly becomes a simple piece of work. You become the author of the book you’re writing with each waking day, and so the words you pen with everything you do matter. Lots.
Naturally, I’ve done a lot of thinking recently. My search for answers to the things going on inside my body has led me into this metaphysical journey that has proven to be a merciful oasis when my spirit gets tired. I think back to a time when I was five years old and my world went black and I think back to a time in 2001 when I spent a sleepless night in a hospital room after surgery to remove cancerous growths. Life was trying like hell to beat me down and in both instances, I kept my balance well enough to keep moving forward. Because that’s the whole thing. As beautiful a thing as this life can be, it has an ugly side that will kill you long before the lights go out. It’s easy to feel as if life has become too arduous, that it’s easier to just give up. And to this very real and dark place, my advice to you is this.
I was reminded of just how great a thing this life can be yesterday. A day that began with me rescuing a shrieking coworker from, of all things, a grasshopper. I scooped up the little guy and moved him outside, after which I contemplated the karmic exchange rate of such a thing. Grasshoppers are a mystical embodiment of the time and space we encompass seeing as how they can only move forward; a trait we all aspire to, really.
It took all of a day to receive my answer. As my daughter and me were trying- unsuccessfully- to cram a couple of steel frame chairs I’d just purchased into my car and I was cursing up the fact that I’d sold my truck by using words that very much rhymed with fuck.
“Do you live close by?”
The voice came from a girl inside a Rav4 who was passing by. I replied dumbly with “Yeah”, after which she parked in the space next to mine and offered to load it up and follow me home.
Who does that?! Hadn’t she heard that the world is going to hell in a handbasket that was made in China? Where did she come off doing something so fool as a random act of kindness? Especially on a night when storm clouds were moving in fast and they were lugging tornado warnings along with them. I mean . . . who does that?!
This woman, that’s who. A young mother with rings under her eyes, dressed in the workaday clothes of a job that never ends. She opened the back and she moved her stroller and we loaded up the chairs and she followed me home and she refused the ten spot I offered and then we shook hands and then she left and shortly thereafter, as if by some cosmic production, the curtain fell and then so did the rain.
If not for this woman, I would have been schlepping the chairs back into the store after a losing battle with my compact. After which I would have been driving through a storm whilst cursing the fates, despite my newly found perspective inside a trying month.
And that’s where the morning came into my head, and that grasshopper. That beautiful little grasshopper I had delivered to safety. Payback. Just like that. I had granted him the ability to keep moving forward inside the plush grass and weeping trees, and in return, he let me know, “Hey dude, I got your back.”
My advice to you all is simpler than Simon. Keep moving forward. Pay attention to the moments. Be thankful for the smallest favors and always remember to pay them back in kind. It’s all you’re promised, and it’s really all you can ask. I have to go for now, because I’m weeping all over again. I notice that I’m more sentimental than usual of late. I’ll be hitting you back when I get home tonight, but I wanted to post something that ended in publish rather than delete. If you happen upon a grasshopper, feel free to introduce yourself.
Trust me on this.