Perhaps, if you’ve read the two recent postings on this blog, you’ve wondered why I seem to be examining my life so minutely. The answer I think lies in the major back surgery I underwent in mid-March. During my time in the hospital rehab unit, I had an Easter experience.
For four days I was unable to eat anything. The nurses encouraged me to at least eat applesauce, but I simply couldn’t swallow. The fifth day—a Monday—went awry. My blood pressure fluctuated disturbingly. I fainted and was out for some time. I could answer only “Anna Dolores Ready” to all the questions the nurses asked while trying to revive me. Repeatedly I vomited. My spirits plummeted, imprisoned in a gray cloud. I dwelt in a miasma of nothingness.
In late afternoon, my eldest niece visited after work. Seeing me pitch forward and nearly fall, then faint, then throw up, she stayed several hours. She asked the nurse to monitor me closely during the night; the nurse assured her I would be well taken care of.
Needing to feed her cat and dogs, my niece kissed my left cheek and reluctantly left. As she passed through the doorway, I thought, “I’ll never see her again.”
The nurse turned off the light. I lay on my right side and began to talk inwardly to all those who had already entered Life beyond the reality I knew—all those who had raised me, taught me, befriended me. They and I dwelt in Oneness.
Trusting their infinite love for me, I said something like “I’m scared that I’m going to die. If living is for my good and the good of the Universe, then I trust you will wake me in the morning. If not, then I embrace death. Not my will, but the will of Oneness be done.”
I began reciting names: Mom, Dad, Jan, John, Jim . . . name after name after name of those who have touched my life with goodness.
Several times during the night I woke, still feeling lost within myself, still praying to Oneness to keep me in this life or to welcome me to the path of Light. More names: Florence, Al, Mary, Annette, Nicole, Mary Alice.
I slept again. When next I woke, I thought of all the cats who'd blessed my life: Dulcy, Bartleby, Tybalt, Noah, Jeremiah, Eliza Doolittle, Laz, Raissa. I called on each to be with me.
Once more I slept, then woke again and invoked name after name after name of those for whom I felt deep and abiding gratitude. The names passed like ticker-tape through my heart: Miriam, Robert, Andrew, Lon, Scholastica, Dunstan.
The next morning, I awoke to sunlight. I was alive.
Two days later I came home.
Now what does this have to do with the introspection evident in this posting and the last two?
Since that March morning, I’ve found myself feeling not only physically, but emotionally, imbalanced. The doctor tells me that this is a common response of patients who have serious spinal surgery or whose chest has been cracked open for open-heart surgery. I, myself, think that the possibility of saying good-bye to life as we know it can accompany any major surgery.
I am alive, yet I find myself reevaluating my whole life.
Perhaps the anesthesia has something to do with this. Perhaps my age. Perhaps the weariness resulting from the months of pain before the operation. Perhaps all of that.
And perhaps what I’m experiencing is the opportunity to truly let go of the past and embrace something new in my life. Time will tell.