Thursday, June 30, 2011

On the Couch Again

Having suffered the setback over the weekend of a catheter re-inserted up my urethra, I wallow in a state of confusion, not sure if I should stand up and go for a spirit-rallying walk or just lie down and sleep it all away. Sitting is still not an option.

Awakening so alertly from the nine hour surgery a few weeks ago and leaving the hospital two days early created an ebullience that looked like fireworks. Even in pain and making up for lost time at the urinals, to be bag and tube free for that one day was a remarkable joy, confirmation that the universe does provide miracles.

Now the message appears to be I pushed myself too hard feeling so fine, risking serious damage even as it seemed I could have danced all night into next year, maybe even into the next millennium. The joy has caused pain and I have to suffer another week now with the catheter, reminded like a parolee, if I am not careful, it could be for a lifetime.

Home again, I slept nearly thirty hours with interruptions of wakefulness. More like I was in the months after the original accident, I start in on a project and end up on the couch, breathing deeply and staring far into nothing. I gaze absent-mindedly at this yellow pad for long stretches between these sentences.

At the same time, my father, already nearly deaf, blind and frail, has taken a turn for the worse this week and contemplates moving from his independent apartment into the assisted-living section of his community. I am particularly struck by his resistance to the move because he enjoys so much his long hours sitting in the summer shade of his terrace quietly staring into nothing.

This is a man who faces something far more significant than the twelve hours of anesthesia that had caused me such fear. No matter his resignation to the concept that death is just a never-ending sleep and his willingness to go there now that my mother has gone, it makes me wonder and a bit ashamed around my own unease and discomfort.

Compounding the comparison is the fact that his work is done and a part of that financial success is supporting my two year recovery on my own couch (actually, even that is his—a wedding present 65 years ago). He is impatient with the help and wants to see me on my feet with a good job as quickly as I can.

Understanding that our thoughts and fears can manifest our circumstances, I have worried that the accident originally and the delay in surgery subsequently are direct results of not knowing how to go about the rest of my life. Having been afraid and going so slowly for so long, part of my immediate joy post-surgery was feeling I could finally proceed without further distraction, my book complete and ready to find a publisher.

The relapse onto the couch terrifies me that I am actually no further along, no clearer about my future, and the hole I have dug for myself is too deep to ever climb out. I can easily feel old, tired and wounded beyond repair, without the energy to stand up and make something of myself. I fight depression as heartily as my body works to reduce the swelling that will allow them to pull out the catheter once more.

Then the local urologist’s office calls to inform me that I do have an infection after all and will change the antibiotic to be more effective. My spirit lightens a little to know there is a physical reason for this lethargy and I am not just the lazy loser that waiting for my father’s check makes me feel.

Also, as I have been writing this today, the first of what will likely be many rejections of my book arrived in a form letter that indicates my proposal made not the slightest favorable impression, not even enough to get a personal signature. Shortly after, an email just as neutral rejects a short story. My other rationale for staying home and focused is sorely tested. Having no tube in the belly, apparently does not automatically make all things flow.

I scan employment opportunities and contemplate my efforts to pursue insurance sales and financial planning, but return to my couch instead and scribble these words. No matter the life long parental pressure and lack of an agent’s response, my heart knows I love this work more than anything but a good woman and my children.

I have given my all to the recommended and established route and it has served me only half-well. Now is the time to pay attention, settle into the battle for my health, both mental and physical, and prosperity, wielding my pen ferociously and pushing “send” on the keyboard over and over again until I am able to create my own miracle…with God’s blessing and the help of all of you surrounding me with love.

I will soon be off this couch and able to help you in the same way.

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