Quiet moments in the middle of the night.
Recently, a friend reminded me of the 1990 movie featuring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn called Bird on a Wire. If you haven’t seen the movie, imagine Witness Protection client Gibson going on the run when his identity is discovered (partly through what is supposed to be Wisconsin — including a hilarious chase scene in faux Racine). Gibson connects with old girlfriend played by Hawn, bullets follow laughter as they make their way to safety. They don’t save the world but it’s still a fun movie. However, with all the attention being paid to my heart I have been thinking a little about the visual of a bird on a wire.
There’s something fascinating about how birds achieve balance on what appear to be the most delicate of perches in all manner of weather and wind. Whether it’s a wire that they have chosen or a wispy branch they rarely seem off balance. I’ve seen them light on a branch, realize it’s not heavy enough, and take off right away, but I can’t recall ever seeing a bird fall off it’s perch.
Humans, on the other hand, are not quite as graceful. Not even the most graceful and skilled of us. I’ve seen quite of few of us fall! Heck — I did it this past summer! And I admit that I often feel like life is a great balancing challenge.
I have never been very coordinated — as in sports and gymnastics — even though I went to gymnastics class after school for a few years. I tried and tried but I just never got very good. I’d never be a tightrope walker, but sometimes I feel more like I’m balancing on a railing like this heron. It’s not quite as precarious, but one still needs to pay attention! Womens’ Gymnastics were on TV last weekend (I think it was last weekend). Anyway… watching young folks do all those maneuvers on a 4 inch wide beam boggles my mind. I sucked on the beam. I was pretty good on the parallel bars. And I hated the rings.
As a Christian I have been conscious of my mortality for decades, my own conversion was a stunning (to me) point in my life. They say that when a person comes in contact with their own mortality they are forever changed. For me, the events of the past couple weeks take that sensation to a different level. Being told I have the same kind of condition that causes young, trained athletes to drop dead on the playing field is a wakeup call. For those to whom it happens they almost always are unaware that they have it. For myself, I have the advantage of knowing and having good professionals to help me deal with it.
I am a lifelong control freak. During my hospital stay last weekend I became part of a conversation which, perhaps, a patient might not be part of. I happened to be talking with the nurse when the doctor called in to talk with the nurse and commented to her that the insurance company was objecting to paying for certain meds they were prescribing for me…
Now, not only am I a control freak, I’m also a process guy. I have always needed to understand how things are going to be done. What’s involved? How long? Why? It’s part of my makeup. Which explains why I’m the route planner in the family. And the researcher. But as for that conversation, I should not have heard that what was going on in the background because my anxiety levels went up through the roof. I’ve never been great about trusting other people. My experience of teams and group behavior has not been all that great. And in a couple cases I have been hurt terribly by the failure of others to perform. Not lost limb or catastrophic body injury terrible, but emotionally devastated.The next time I got a chance to speak with the doctor I referenced his conversation with my nurse and we talked for quite a while. I wanted to understand my options if this combination of meds was refused or if it just didn’t accomplish the end result. As he talked about doing a heart catheterization intended to induce a heart attack that would shrink the problem or open heart surgery where they would cut out tissue from within the heart the seriousness of the condition finally began to sink in.
Clearly, the addressing the problem using meds was a much to be preferred starting off point and the idea that this option might be off the table made me angry, not frightened. And the idea that both of the alternatives were choices that would force me to trust the team of doctors & nurses with my life brought me up short. But I realized something while letting all this information sink in. That was that I really did have confidence in the medical team that is caring for me. For me, that was a huge realization. Suddenly, instead of perching on a wire, or even a railing for a 4” balance beam — I was walking down a wide sidewalk or a freeway. What a feeling of peace overcame me.
The reality that I can’t do a lot to change what the cells in my body to beyond being reasonably careful about diet, exercise, and living intelligently — and if anyone can do anything to extend my natural lifespan it will be someone else — well, knowing I am not driving the bus sort of freed me. Which make absolutely no rational sense for a control freak — but there you have it — I’m not always rational.
As you know, the insurance company finally agreed to the meds, I went home with a small supply, I’ll get scripts to last me through the year and we’ll get to work on watching the waistline. I still have to go into the office on Friday for another EKG and a ‘mini’ echocardiogram to monitor the effect of the meds.
In the meantime, we have a few weeks to spend here and I’m pondering ideas for day trips. I have yet to replace that water line that leaked over the weekend. And I haven’t yet finished the MiFi changes — I have plenty to do — all I need is the motivation to get around to all of the items on the list.
I know there’s not much about RV’ing lately — but life isn’t monotoned and we don’t get to predict how it’s going to play out. Thanks for stopping by today, and what say we talk tomorrow.