Thursday, September 4, 2014
There's a funny thing that happens soon after you come back from a nice, relaxing vacation in the mountains.
You've got a big, goofy grin on your face, you're looking around and appreciating the great life you're blessed to be living, and then you feel a tap on your shoulder. You turn around with a big smile, only to be faced with a towering figure wearing a neon-green t-shirt that says: REALITY.
"Oh...you," you say. "I wasn't expecting you so soon. I mean, I guess I knew you'd be back sooner or later, but I honestly thought I'd have more time."
Reality smiles a big, goofy grin of his own, and then takes your arm to lead you away from your temporary bliss of forgetfulness. He brings you back over to your aching knees, the work waiting on your desk, your bills, your dramas, your struggles, and your stresses of every shape and size.
Now for me, my stresses are many, but none of them are really that big. I do handle things well for the most part, but certain people and events do of course make my blood pressure spike quickly. And these past few weeks, if there's one stress in particular, it's that surrounding Andy's Uncle Fai.
Fai's been in horrible shape in the ICU for over three weeks now. Patients have come and gone from various bed locations in this time, and besides the nursing staff we've gotten to know, only Fai in Bed letter "I" has been in the same place there each evening when we visit. The elevator dings as we reach the second floor, we enter the quieter ICU area, we walk past the first hallway for beds A-E, and we find Fai, unconscious, waiting for us in Bed "I".
It's always the same, as are all the uncomfortable noises (and smells) in the area. Someone's blood pressure starts rising rapidly, and an alarm goes off...an alarm with two apparent purposes: 1) To alert the nurses to make sure a given patient is okay, and 2) To successfully raise the blood pressure of everyone else nearby. And all of this, once again, forces me to put things in perspective.
I gripe, moan, and even bitch my way through moments of annoyance all the time, and then I come back to see Fai, and I remember. I remember to just shut up.
Venting is good. It's healthy. But when you see someone going through something horrible like this, tubes going in and out all over his body, machines and bags of medication hooked up all around him, beeps and blips and a bevvy of boisterous bells and whistles sounding all the time? It really puts things in perspective! Life's too short for us to be bitching and moaning about the most insane little trifles all the time, and life's too sweet to be chewing on so much of the sour.
There but for the grace of God go "I". And "I" needs all our prayers right now. I on the other hand? I'm doing just fine. Venting is healthy, but perspective is vital. And my perspective tells me clearly in times like this to just shut the hell up, and appreciate all the good days, while I have them.