It's Too Much

When I look at my life six months from now, I don't know what I see. I've never had that experience. It's always been another semester of college, another summer spent home or abroad, another quarter of work with new challenges.

Maybe because it'll be summer and there are fewer definitive holidays to break up the time. Maybe because I still won't be working quite yet and so there won't be as many professional goals to optimally aim for.

Maybe it's because there is an 80% chance that in the next six months I will need surgery again.

Frankly I can't fucking fathom the idea at the moment. My mind is too full of diabetes sticks, morning noon and night and then late night meds, how I gained four pounds yesterday and then dropped them today, and did I also remember to do breathing practice and write down all of this for clinic.

As I write now the "roids rage" or what I call the nice little rush of physically shaking anxiety hits. The rage crops up when I'm nervous and scared and sometimes in the middle of watching Netflix for no reason at all. It'll pass soon enough, unlike this nice little grey cloud that will hang over my head until we get a definitive answer on the prospect of another sternotomy, another hospital stay, another surgery.

I've always tried to take the high road when it comes to my health, think positively, remind myself that there is literally nothing I can do to ameliorate certain parts of my body that will do as they wish. But it's hard. It just is.

The transplant surgeon himself says that the regurgitation could be from a clipped leaking tricuspid valve, but the latest echocardiogram suggests lessened regurgitation, thus it could be the source originated from the right heart, which would now appear to be improving. If you understood any of that then you gleaned that what we had originally thought may be different and thus, in his words, "it kind of confuses us." Comforting, right?

Yet, the 20% chance that it is the right heart improving and not a biopsy-clipped valve would be incredible. It feels like even tempting fate to put these thoughts to paper, but I don't know how else to cope right now. I don't know how to try to get better and heal these scars and get my physical strength back and then return to normal life for a few months before, again, starting over.

And granted, it wouldn't be starting over in all ways. There wouldn't be a resurgence of the old steroid levels. I'd be over the 3-month intensity of initial immunosuppression. The pneumonia would be gone (and it better be, they won't operate while it persists).

But there will be another cutting of the sternum. A new scar. More chest tubes. It would be little under a week in the hospital, no lifting or swimming, no driving for 12 weeks, etc. It's a daunt I've known not of for, as naive as I was about the intensity of the heart transplant stay, I was not quite so scared then as I am now of this even less-intense procedure.

And right now, it's too much.


Currently Listening To:



"Arrivals N1" by Dustin O'Halloran from Like Crazy 

Like Crazy is perhaps one of the most heart-cleaving films I've seen, mostly because of this score.

As the main character Anna puts it, "it's the halves that halve you in half." Jacob and Anna are star-crossed college students brought together by their love of poetry and spontaneity, torn apart by their graduation and Anna's impending deportation back to the UK. When Anna violates her visa and remains in the US for the summer she is then not allowed back into the US. She and Jacob decide to marry so that she can stay, but before the knot is tied the two face a difficult trial of seeing other people, seeing each other, and seeing no end in sight.

What drew me to this film initially is that is was mostly unscripted. With an outline for the story and presumed directions for the scene these two actors ran with their chemistry and as such a most rare and beautiful performance emerged. One feels as if their relationship is developing and straining in real time. It is clear that this passion is genuine, the heat felt between them is vivid, and their coolness towards each other never reads as prescribed; you genuinely feel like you are in the hallway having accidentally stumbled upon an argument you'd rather not have heard.

O'Halloran's simple score, repetitive piano, and twists between descending moments and continuous tones makes one feel rather anxious. It is as if they are waiting for something that keeps escaping them each time the upper tones change. The carrot just out of reach. Though a short piece in itself it conveys so much of Anna and Jacob's experience as they wait and hope and worry and fear for what their relationship will be. They can try as they might to stay in love and keep their hope going, but they also know that some things are out of their control.*

*This review sounds rather weighty and may make you not wish to see this film. I am choosing to address a particularly difficult moment and song from this score. Please do not let this dissuade you from watching this movie which is cinematically, musically, and artistically excellent (and not quite as depressing as it seems).