The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Mon. Aug 23, 2010

Waiting and Contemplating

Responding to a comment late last night once again set me to contemplating. The waiting is the hardest part. In part because it makes you think.

I’ve read the stories of many people facing a brain aneurysm like I am. Some of them were paralyzed by fear after finding out, spending their days waiting for their head to blow up.

I refuse to be that guy. I will not ruin the “now” spending it worrying about a “tomorrow” that I don’t control. But it is also foolish not to think about all the potential outcomes.

I’ve recently quoted several people … Christopher Hitchens, Mary Elizabeth Williams, and Mike Celizic … who are facing cancer. Cancer is a Dirty Beast, and attempts to cure that beast (chemotherapy, radiation) often seem as bad as the disease. It teases; goes into remission, only to sometimes come back with a vengeance. Fighting it can be a murderous marathon.

By comparison, what I face is a short walk in the park.

But these stories point out that, sadly, the best way to appreciate what you’ve got … is to be faced with the possiblity of losing it all.

In a way, I’ve been here before. 27 years ago I was in a car accident which resulted in a broken neck. I fractured the second cervical vertebra, the same one Christopher Reeves broke. I was very lucky, my fracture was far less severe than his, and I recovered fully with no after effects. But it made me appreciate all that I had, including life itself. I’ve considered every day since then a gift.

I wouldn’t wish such circumstances on anyone, but if you should face them, use them. Come out the other side appreciating how very lucky you are, and how much you have.

Such a condition can sometimes have side effects that are not listed in any medical papers. I get less aggravated by the minute BS we all face every day. At the same time, certain emotions seem closer to surface. I get choked up very easily.

I look forward to watching my granddaughter and niece grow into the wonderful young ladies they show every sign of becoming. I look forward to a long life by my wife’s side. And I will appreciate every minute of those things so much more because of what I’ve faced.

However, it would be foolish to take such things for granted. To not take a knowing glance at the slim but horrid possibilities. In a way, it feels like an immunization.

Because I fully expect a happy outcome. I gladly put my future in the hands of one of the best neurosurgeons in the country, one of the best wives a man could have, a very supportive family, lots of friends who care, and “The Almighty,” by whatever name you might call Him.

I can only await what’s next. And in the meantime, as Warren Zevon (and Jim) have said, “enjoy every sandwich.”

Peanut Gallery

1  Susan wrote:

Any questions as to why I married this man? Call me I would love to tell you. I think he said it all with one thing I can add: He is his father’s son.

I Love You!

2  Jim wrote:

Oh, Susan. I certainly have questions about why you married Reid — just as I have questions about why Sandi married me.

That said, I am 100% in his camp. When I was sick (and, in retrospect, I believe that I was sicker than my idiot mind would let on), I 100% believed that I would get through it and that everything was going to be fine. That being sick was just a bump in the road.

I was sitting in ICU wondering why everyone was making a fuss. “This is all going to be fine. Don’t worry,” I told friends and family. I was sincere. I wasn’t talking myself into it. I believed it with everything in me.

It certainly took the edge off my kids (especially my 19-year-old daughter who has a little more insight into real-life than my 13 and 6-year-olds). My wife was still scared — I think she took it the worst; but she was an ICU/CCU nurse; she knows things.

I think Reid has that same attitude. He’s sincere — he knows the seriousness of the task at hand and what he faces, but KNOWS he’ll get through. And he’s not going to waste time fretting about it.

Bravo, Reid! I applaud you, but I don’t think you know any other way.

Enjoy every sandwich. I sure do.

Comment by Jim · 09/02/2010 01:45 PM
3  Susan wrote:

I knew from the way the story began this one will end as a story of inspiration. I still believe that with all that I am. I feel that more each day and having people who care and give words like yours are what make it an easier road.

Your wife and I have a lot in common. Men who are not common.

4  Reid wrote:

Really … I’m just fine!

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