It has been a long, long while….. tardis distance, galaxy far far away, you get the picture. It’s been a long time to be silent. I’m sorry. It’s not like this blog has a rabid fan base, but I started a story, and every village story teller must finish the story. Why I stopped is hard to explain. My reasons changed the further I got away from it. My heart changed the longer I let it beat. But the story has not changed, and the truth (As I know it) must be told.
I am trying to do my experience justice. I have struggled since post #3. I wanted to write and continue on, but I just didn’t have the heart. I hurt to remember, to know what I learned, to know what I lost, to see what I gained. I thank God for my chance he gave me. Yet at times I hate him for the choices he put in front of me. I want this to be written, but like the petulant child, I don’t want to do the writing. I don’t want to do the homework. I find it very hard to connect my experience with people. My ego says that people cannot understand, cannot care enough for it to be worth my while. And like an ego it needs to be deflated.
I was worried that after writing it all out none of it would matter. No one would remember me for this. No one would remember this for me. I feel the pain of Nephi who struggled as he finished his record. I find it fitting to paraphrase him and hope none think ill of me for doing so. Book of Mormon, 2nd Nephi, Chapter 33
“And now I cannot write all the things which I learned; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
But behold, there are many who will cast these things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
But I have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.”
I came across the testimony of a man who did not search for god until after he had his own personal peace. He only then searched for god because realized he was not yet truly at peace. His Searching took him to many churches, many faiths, many religions. And when he found the peace he studied it, he partook of it, he spread it to others. He testified of his appreciation for receiving the “Peace which passeth all understanding” . Having felt that peace in my experience, I realized that in my arrogance, I thought that no one would understand. In my pain, I thought I could not give it to others. In my humility, I will continue to try.
Leighton Ford — “God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way”
I remember the room.
A room of such simpleness that it neither drew the attention of the eye, nor a desire to study it further. It was so plain as to be both unknowingly large and small. Yet that does not mean it was void of beauty. And by beauty I don’t speak of garishness, nor sparkling fountains, or wondrous visages. It was beauty… That which is of deep peace, and not just skin deep. And not of starkness and cool edges but… simplicity. Things WERE. There was nothing about this place which held fear or concern, confusion or consternation. I was in a place older than time. It left the feeling of having been there more than eon’s, just more. Longer than human history, longer than elder Daemons or forbidden gods, longer than time.
I rember that there was a set of doors in the wall, or at least connected to the floor. I say that only because I don’t remember the walls, but there must (no, might) have been since I was in a room. There were benches, simply ordained with people sitting upon them. An there were others, with me. Not Dante’sque puppets acting upon the marionette strings of eternal justice. Just people who WERE. Like me they were there and they didn’t know me or I them. And the fact that there were passing strangers was of NO importance to me.
If a tree falls in a forest, does it even matter whether or not it makes a sound?
I sat and I….. Well, I just sat there. Stump on a log, stone in the henge, tree in the forest. I just sat and let time ebb and flow around me. It was with this passage of time that I became aware of my feelings. I was at peace. I was not granted all knowledge and all reason. I am as stupid, more or less than before going to the hospital. I simply felt loved. I knew my life was imperfect, blurred, marred and stained by the choices of every day. But I knew I was loved. I could feel the love of my father. I could feel the compassion and care of some one who was always watching, always existing, ever present. He knew me through and through. Yet with all that, he loved me as if I was just brought into existence. I felt the existence of so many things. The stars in the heavens, the void, the all that is all. I understand that I am a speck of a side, of the corner, of the mote of dust in the existence that is the universe. But even more, I understood the how inimitable I was. I lived the words of Abraham when he was shown the whole of heaven, so much that he could not comprehend it all. I feel the hope and pain of the fictional character, Eleanor Arroway when she says:
“I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my wish.
How rare and precious I felt. I knew I could have done better in my life, but I knew I was loved just the same. How this impacted me from that point on was a matter left up to the person who was watching over me. While there was a tepid sense of loss to what could be gained from a better life lived, I was not wanting more than what I had lived up to. I knew where ever I was, that I was Loved. I found peace spoken of in Phillipian’s that passeth ALL understanding.
Having that peace I stood up and was walking around, enjoying the love I felt and continuing to think about my life. It was at this time that I felt a light touch on my shoulder. I had been approached from behind and a women stood there. She simply told me “Tell my mother that I love her”. I knew her name was Tracee, and I knew her mother Carol who lived across the street from my parents house. I don’t remember saying yes, or responding to her. I don’t remember how much longer I was in that place I just know that some time after that, I woke up after my first surgery.
And now the punch line…. or was that punch in the gut.
I woke up without peace, I was in pain and disoriented. The Peace that passeth all understanding had passed. Attached to a bed, cut open, peoples concern was evident. It felt panic incarnate. AS everything fell out of place and then back in, Kaylene was there to comfort me, my parents were looking over me, I was being watched and cared for. It was not until that day had died down and night had come that I remembered what had happened to me and what I needed to do. In the morning I struggled to let my mom know what was happening and have her send Tracee’s message to her mother. From there it was off to more surgery.
As you all can tell, I’ve been putting this off… My next few entries are my hardest, both emotionally and eidetically (memories). As before some, if not most of what I share with you will be other peoples recollections that have been shared over the last year and some more recently by request.
They performed the Emergency Surgery and I woke up on Saturday.
It’s all Fuzzy… Wuzzy had a bear, but he was hairless, wait, what was I talking about?
You know how they say “Waking Up is hard to do” (Or was that “Breaking”)? Waking up after the first surgery was a night terror, one that I couldn’t wake up from. I still have bad dreams about waking up like that. It’s like bliss and then all of a sudden Atlas puts the world on your shoulders and your’e being flattened to the floor. I am no Titan. It is a psychological weight so heavy that you feel it. You know those advertisements that use the phrase “Depression hurts”, I don’t remember waking up hurting, I remember waking up broken.
Of all the stupid things I could have worried about at that time, the first words out of my mouth were “Call Marco!!!”. Now Marco is a wonderful guy, and had been my manager for the last 10 months. I was sure I was losing my job, my benefits wouldn’t cover this, my body had failed me, I had failed my family (By having Crohn’s, how stupid is that – And yet I still suffer from that thought daily). I had to stay there, with a ventilator on and whisper thinsg. I saw my world crashing around me. Mostly it was an emotional crash, but I physically crashed. I lay there feeling broken in body and mind, and my spirit was… well I thought it was in the same boat.
To Quote my Parents: “Sunday afternoon, for whatever reason, you came out of sedation enough to gag on the breathing tube, and pulled it out. The doctors had hoped to keep you sedated till your second surgery on Monday, but now you were awake and struggling, frantic. You were overwhelmed by what had happened to you, having missed two days of your life, and were extremely concerned about the immediate future. What was going to happen to you. Would LANDesk fire you because you were so sick? Would insurance cover the cost of hospital and surgeries? How would you be able to meet your family’s needs? We and others assured you that companies typically didn’t work like that, that you would be ok with employment and insurance, but it was difficult to tell how much this reassured you or not.”
You just need to calm down…. HA!
I had been through some tough times and during my surgery my doctors had Resuccitated me twice. I didn’t find this out until a month or so after being released. I was “Circling the drain” as my surgeon so kindly put it. With all the stressors, I was focusing on the “here and now” and not the “what had just happened”. Some people thing that might be my pragmatism kicking in, but I think it was my pessimistic side. Lucky for me I was a moron and I had pulled my ventilator tube out. This meant that the doctors woudo delay the surgery to let my throat “heal” before they could re-insert the tube . So in the meantime I had to calm down. I had a day to think about everything, give up and leave everything in everyone else’s hands. You know what does come clear, how mad I was, frustrated at my circumstances, my curse, my crohn’s, my bad fortune, even the people around me who were trying to help. I was blinded, I’m sorry for my foolishness.
Sunday things were different I had had time to think, and while I was still in bad shape, I felt more calmed. I had time to reflect on the things that had happened to me and my experiences over the last few days. I also had time to remember that something wonderful had happened to me while I had been in surgery. My mother was there and I got her attention. The attending nurse helped me speak by lifting up one side of the breathing mask a little. In as softly loud of a voice as my wracked wind pipe could muster I told my mother “Mom, I saw Tracee Thomas, and she wanted me to make sure her mom knew that she loved her.” The was the extent of our conversation since they wanted me to be rested and stable for the operation. My mother left shortly after.
Who is Tracee Thomas?
In many ways the correct answer to this question is “I don’t know”? Carol and Ernie Thomas have been our neighbors since we moved to American Fork, Utah my senior year of high school. I knew their son James and their daughter Susan, but even then they were older than me and I only knew them in passing. I wasn’t aware of it but they had more children and one of them was a daughter Tracee and she had passed away on Wednesday. When I was down during the first surgery I met Tracee, having never seen her before I new who she was, and all she did was tell me to let her mother know that she loved her. How much that has changed my life. It’s a short intro but I’ll cover it in the next post.
I get the feeling this post is going to be very short. Truth be told I don’t remember much about the before and after of my first surgery. Please understand I’m sharing this from my year old memory of a set of moments that came and went in a pain and medicine induced haze. ALSO- If I get some of this wrong, let me know with a and I’ll approve it and then make an Editorial change with all of them.
From what I’ve told, Nathan got us to Timpanogos Regional Hospital in record time. I can only imagine him using the speed and care of a professional Rally Car driver. He’s crazy good like that. 😉 I on the other hand was in the back seat ready to go to sleep with Kaylene in the front passenger seat keeping me awake and out of shock. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t sleepy, it was the shock. Either way i think we got there in record time. Thanks Nate!
Sorry, George Clooney already finished his shift:
When we got to the ER they got me inside, not sure if I walked in or what?!? I know the nurses could see I was in bad shape and they rushed me back into the ER. They tried to get my blood pressure 3 times with no success. Kaylene tells me they pumped me full of IV fluids, and then turned me upside down! My blood pressure at that point was 55/22. This is below any sustainable level. When blood pressure is too low, the first organ to malfunction is usually the brain. Needless to say I scared some people.
- Stumbling to the car
- Me wanting to lie down in the back, and my wife kept talking to me to keep me awake.
- 4 seconds of walking from the waiting room through the doors into the ER.
- Wheeling to the CAT scan
- The Doctor telling us that my Kidneys and Liver were failing. ( This stands out most)
And there is part 2.
Thanks, Dad, for the thought.
Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
If you like, “Tag” at least 15 friends including me or post here, because I’m interested in seeing what authors you choose. To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the note.?
Kevin’s List of Favorite Authors (not necessarily in order):
- Jim Butcher
- Larry Niven
- C.S. Lewis
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- Stephen King
- Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Co-authored books)
- H.P. Lovecraft
- Daniel Quinn
- Dante Alighieri
- Terry Brooks
- Robert Heinlein
- Snorri Sturulson
- Stephen R. Lawhead
- Said Salah (Sah-eed Sah-Law)
Who are your fifteen? What does this list tell about me?