How Did He Do It?
At least I’m not keeping him awake. In the past, when I would get this wretched bronchitis every year or two, I would sleep in another room so the incessant coughing didn’t keep Pete awake. We were realistic people. Neither one of us wanted to sleep apart, but we also knew that sleep was a key to success, so I would volunteer to sleep elsewhere until the steroids and cough syrup kicked in. Then I’d move back into the bedroom.
Things are different now. (Understatement of the century). I can hack my lungs, up and I’m not keeping anyone awake except myself.
I don’t know how Pete did it. How did he avoid complaining and keep a positive outlook when he was going through such catastrophic medical issues with so much discomfort? How did he maintain such optimism?
I’ve been fighting this bronchitis for well over a month now, and anybody who knows me has heard me whining about it. Seriously whining. They’ve heard me complain about the illness, the “Why me?,” the way steroids make me crazy, the side effects of the antibiotics, the side effects of the aforementioned steroids, the lack of sleep, the sadness of feeling sick through the holidays. You name it, I’ve whined about it. In fact, it seems like I’m doing it again here.
So, how did Pete do it? How did he live to age 54 with his rare heart condition and never complain? Granted, I only knew him for the last 18 years of the 54, but they were the worst for him health-wise. Living alone, there’s more than enough time to feel sorry for myself, but I made myself stop and really think about it.
The last five years of Pete’s life, he had to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and see a small cable coming out of an incision in his belly. That wire was connected to myriad portable medical devices inside and outside of his body. Then he’d cover his midsection with Saran wrap, put his medical gear in a waterproof bag that he’d put over his shoulder, and jump in the shower and happily begin his day.
How did he come home, after having been hospitalized for 10 days following a massive stroke and practice his guitar with any level of belief that it would get better? He could barely write his name.
How did he have two open heart surgeries, two surgeries for his pacemaker/defibrillator, angiograms by the dozens, brain surgery, and endless “procedures?” This is not to say he wasn’t stressed by them, unhappy about them, nervous about them, or uncomfortable. It’s just that he didn’t complain. He did what was required of him to get better and get on to the next thing. He didn’t whine. He didn’t seek pity. In fact, he moved as fast as he could away from whatever mess he was in, and moved toward being normal. Fake it til you make it.
There’s so much I still have to learn from him. I’m starting today. NO more whining, and if you catch me doing it, let me know.