Uncertainty aplenty remains for me when looking ahead to my future.
And these holidays with Tina home from work, my inlaws staying with us, and many friends and family around I feel insulated from the future. Most of each day I feel protected by layers upon layers of soft white cotton emanating healing white light with some heat while protecting me from the unwanted sounds of an uncertain future begging and yapping at my ears.
It's a cocoon that Tina and I put quite a bit of effort building this holiday season to give ourselves a break and to also re-create for us what Christmas used to be about. Spending time with friends and family in good health with plenty of good holiday cheer. A chance to set life back on the rails after the majority of the last six Christmas' being interrupted by surgeries and hospital stays.
So, so far (knock on wood) these holidays have been a true blessing for the both of us. For me I notice a much greater ability to take life one day at a time. When I do get into comparing myself to what life used to be like I more often than not use the new normal as the benchmark instead. The new normal where I am recovering from nine surgeries and giving my digestive system and body time to heal from those violent and yet neccessary acts.
Inside this cocoon I notice yet again that it is quality time with friends and family plus myself allowing me to live one day, one week at a time that allows me to stay connected and comforted within the walls of this cocoon.
Poplar leaves flickering back and forth set against a clear blue Cariboo sky is a very clear memory of mine from my childhood of growing up on my Dad's guest ranch (Big Bar Guest Ranch). It's a deep memory as I spent plenty of time outside on the Guest Ranch either working or playing and a poplar in full bloom set against a clear blue sky was a very common sight.
At just over one year since almost dying in the ICU at Saint Paul's 3-4 times this memory has become even more precious to me as it also reminds me of the fragility of life. It is a reminder to me just how quickly my life can change.
A gust of wind comes along and the poplar leaves have no choice but to flicker back and forth showing the top and the bottom of each leaf with the hope that the wind doesn't blow so strong that the leaf is separated from its tenous connection to the tree. The Cariboo blue sky combined with the colours of the poplar tree is so beautiful that it reminds how beauftiful nature and life can be.
Yes having contact with my own mortality has for the most part been a difficult and unpleaseant experience for myself. And there have been a few gifts.
And this deeper awareness of the fragility of life has been one of them. From being a young adult looking to set myself up as a learning and development contractor working on three videos on Fetal Alchohol and Sex for a friend of mine to being in the worst pain in my life and being dependant on a group of doctors to save my life. Life can change so damned fast. Almost as fast as the leaves on a poplar tree flicker back and forth in the wind of change.
Before this experience I remember hearing the popular saying of not to worry too much about one's health as any of us could be hit by a bus at any moment. I think this isn't a very helpful saying for someone like myself who is in the middle of his own existential anxiety (I'll write more about this later). I do have a deeper and more connected experience with how fast that bus can travel just as I can feel the strength of the Cariboo breeze against my face and the twinkling of the poplar leaves against the clear blue sky of the Cariboo.
I'm home again I say to myself as I let out a sigh of relief and worry. Relief at being home for Christmas, knock on wood (a little bit of superstition is never far away from me these days), and relief for recovering from the infections that brought me into hospital in the first place and had me in there for almost 7 weeks. And worry for the all the uncertainty that I am aware of when it comes to my health/body.
I'll write more of the medical details of what lead me to stay in the hospital and the uncertainty related to my health later. For now I want a break from all of that and an opportunity to to spend time with friends and family over these upcoming holidays.
There are two pieces of learning from this most recent hospital stay that I know will stick with me.
One: Moments, brief or long, spent with friends and family over the phone, in person or a conversation over email does wonders for me as I find it to be very nourishing for myself.
Two: Now that I am out of the hospital one of my mid-term goals is to find hobbies or activities that involve me being with others and doing something that that takes me out of myself and connects me with others.
So if you are wanting to help and are struggling with finding a way to help know that a visit, a phone call, an email, or a Skype call (for those of you abroad) are all things that I look forward to and find to be nourishing.
Hope your Christmas Holidays are shaping up to be what you need them to be.
Lots of Love,
Dan and Company
We got this... This has been the mantra of Dan's friends and family as they help him navigates a difficult medical rodeo ride. This blog contains entries from Dan as well as his friends and family.