I don’t mean to bother you with this but I don’t have anyone else to talk to and I really don’t need a response so your end of the situation is minimal. I only need to verbalize my dilemma so that it will stop boring a hole in my head.
There was a day back in the hospital in January, the day after my heart had stopped for 10 seconds, when I was alone in a room on the ninth floor. I had already been through the aftermath of the bleeding in my brain, one heart surgery, the trauma of all of the blood clots in my legs and hips, and I had just been told I would need to get a pacemaker.
This is going to sound silly but I guess life is silly. There is a part in Catch-22 when Yossarian is in the infirmary and a discussion opens up among the soldiers concerning life and fate. They debate about how each has been dealt the others’ fates and they surmise that when life deals things thick on one end it inevitably pulls the strings on some other end to assure each of us draws even.
I was fascinated that my heart should have stopped for ten seconds and, on account of the relentless nature of one sour turn after another, I became convinced that my last days were unfolding. I closed my eyes and accepted in an instant that life was behind me and that, if I shouldn’t see another day, it was just. I thought that life had given me so much to love, ponder, laugh at, and be sympathetic towards. I was convinced that all of the beautiful moments I have experienced were the heavy end of the fate that had been dealt to me and that the strings were now being pulled so that I wouldn’t get more than my fair share of… whatever we truly cherish.
After this wholehearted acceptance, with my eyes shut, I sensed that I was rising out of my body. I don’t want to sound like a nut but this rising was so real and it went on, up and up. It was so peaceful because I had left behind all of what was broken. My body became inconsequential- all of its sicknesses, desires, and needs. I don’t know how long this went on, it could have been 10 seconds or 10 minutes, but at some point I believed I was leaving all things earthly and it was then that I had this moment of vertigo. I felt that I would fall if I went any further and my vertigo scared me so I opened my eyes and I was back in the hospital bed. Since then, I have been unable to shake the peace of that feeling. I long for it but in real terms, the terms of life, it must be occasioned by death.
It seems that University Hospital, the doctors, all think I am healthy- bodily healthy. Yet I am chronically tired, I have strange muscle soreness, daylight hurts my eyes, I have acne or rashes on my back, head, and face for the first time in years, there is a ringing in my ears, my feet burn, I can only read a few pages of my books without being mentally tired, my hands and feet tingle often when I am sitting down, and I keep thinking that I am going to attack my latest writing project the way I have always attacked writing projects but it all seems so burdensome. My mind is constantly drawn to consider the visual hallucinations I was experiencing during the time I was off of my anti-depressant and what that means with regards to how I would be in a natural state.
It becomes overwhelming to continue to voice these issues at the hospital when they seem convinced that I am “recovered.” I don’t want to be dependent or to appear to be prolonging all of what I am experiencing but I feel accused of doing just that. I would trade all that I have to be as I was a year ago.
Measure all of this stress and these symptoms against the incredible peace that I felt for those few moments when I thought that I would not be here much longer…
I don’t intend to scare you and I assure you this is not some threat of suicide. I only wish that my physical health would be addressed and that I would be listened to so that I can get on the downside of this hill. It is invaluable and fascinating knowing that there is peace in “the end,” as it were, but I have faith that that end is a long long ways off. Still, I can’t fathom 50 years of what the past 10 months have held.
I can’t tell you what an emotional half hour it has been putting this into words. Thank you for being on the other end of this and for all you have done to let me feel the freedom to say these things to you. I hope all is going good.