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Get busy living!

Okay, a lot of people already know, so this is no secret in Cuenca. I’ve been in the U.S. for the past three weeks dealing with cardiac issues. Originally, I thought it was going to be a walk in the park.  A day in, a day out. But, unfortunately complications arose and I spent a full week in the hospital and got poked and prodded more than my grandmother’s old fake tomato pincushion.

The doctors kept ordering more and more tests. It seemed we were constantly chasing numbers to see if my health was getting worse or better. It started to get the best of me and I vaguely remember—after being woken up for the 5th time in one night —snapping at a nurse’s aide who woke me at 5:30 a.m. to weigh me. Seriously.

I was told that it was so the doctor’s would have all the information they would need when they came on rounds. That would have made sense if it wasn’t for the fact that cardiology did not do rounds until 10 a.m. Maybe they just wanted my weight BEFORE I ate that wonderful bowl of bran flakes with almond milk (remember, I was on the cardiac unit).

Anyway, I finally got out and headed to my friend’s house, only to have to return that same day in “cardiac distress,” (the ER term, more affectionately known as having a heart attack). More days in the hospital, more pokes, more “suspicions” about what was going on. Three days later I was eventually released again, still with problems, but without an immediate solution. So we chased more numbers.

Still doing that today. I’ve taken my pulse about 15 times already. I’ve swallowed a whole bunch of new meds they put me on. And I’ve worried every moment what might happen next. Because the numbers all look good, but I still don’t feel good. Nonetheless, I’ll keep chasing those numbers hoping that the only number that might matter, time, will “heal all wounds.” Or at least the five wounds I have from this past week.

So what has all this taught me?

Well, let’s see. I eat healthy. I don’t really drink. I never smoked. I work out. I keep my weight down. And yet, I was the first of my friends to have to go through through two cardiac procedures in the same week (two days apart). It all comes to this: my doctor says this problem is genetic and there is only so much I can do about it.

My conclusion from it all? Life IS short. For a moment last week it seemed shorter than it ever had. And boy, has the week since I got out made me think about that. A lot. A real lot.

All the other bullshit, all the whining and moaning about this or that, all the useless petty little crap that we worry about, it all doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you compare it to being here or not. It’s just wasted breath, wasted worry, wasted words and wasted time.

And something popped into my mind when I realized that. It was one of my favorite lines from Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” That just about says all I want to say.

Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t keep chasing these numbers the doctors are worried about. I will. And I’ll keep taking the meds they want me to. But I’m not going to keep worrying about what it means for the future. Because that is more on the “get busy dying” side than on the “get busy living” side. And that would be a foolish way to live.

I’m just sayin.’