I’ve just come out of hospital, following emergency heart surgery to prevent my aorta from rupturing. Had it done so, I would not be sitting writing a blog. My life would have ended about a fortnight ago. and many things would be different. Thankfully, however, everything is well and I’m having to slow down a bit-which is never something I do well.(It was only the awareness of how at risk I had become that kept me in hospital as long as the ten days of my stay. My last surgical encounter saw me taking my own discharge after four days. This time I tried hard to be sensible and patient.
Given an event like this one the big questions come. Why me? (Why not me?) What would have happened if X,Y, or Z had been different? Do I now have a responsibility to change my life? To try to be a different person? (Notions of Redemption and second chances.) Big events do prompt big questions. I have no idea, yet, what impact this crisis will have on me. At the moment I feel a little fraudulent. I had a narrow escape. Fine. But so what? How long do I go around singing Hallelujah’s in my head? I have things to do.
Alongside al the fanfare of emergency surgery etc another small drama gets played out .It is my bowels. Everyday, several times a day, I am asked if I have opened my bowels. After a week of constipation I was given a couple of suppositories which meant I got a star for achievement. (All the nurses have what look like phones on which they record their patient’s data. It was disconcerting to be shown thumb nail images of faeces and asked to point to the picture that most clearly resembled my recent achievement.)
It was this juxtaposition of High and Low; shit and stars that summed up my experience and put me in my place.Yes, i have lots of big thoughts about Meaning and Purpose. But also a reminder that the shitty stuff is as important.