Friday, November 6, 2009

First Friday Flashbacks


Fading To Black.....

We often times forget about the experiences that really define our lives, until the universe tapes us on the shoulder and forces us to remember

First Published on December 1, 2005

[A special note, the images are tombstones from the Arizona Memorial Cemetary here in Phoenix Arizona. I used to go there a lot for inspiration and reflection.]





Arizona Memorial


I got sick last week during the Thanksgiving holidays. Don't remember much of it. Actually, Sue got sick first and then after 36 hours the bug made the leap to a new host. The price I pay for loving her, but hey, it is worth it.

This was a good bug. Not that it was a mild illness, it was anything but that. This germ really kicked my ass. Haven't had my mind, body and soul worked over like this since I got a 104 degree fever in high school. When I have no arguments about going to Urgent Care and waiting for 2 hours to fill out paperwork just to get some antibiotics, you know I have thrown in the towel.



Arizona Memorial


While there was not a lot of pain involved with this illness, there was a lot of coughing, running nose and some extreme muscle weakness which made just getting out of bed to make it to the TV almost a triathlon event. So the predominant thing that that I did for 72 hours was sleep for about 60 of them. And brother, let me tell you, that is all I wanted to do.

With this sort of extreme exhaustion and fever, the things that go through your mind are not really under your control. I recall trying to lie down and think about things, but my thoughts eventually ended up on some really weird subjects as I lapsed in and out of consciousness for 10 hours at a stretch.

My overly analytical brain had enough power left to speculate that this is what the start of the 'final journey' must be like. That slow descent into the afterlife as the present life slowly drains from your body. There isn't a lot of fear or pain here. It is pretty much the most relaxing thing you can do. I recall struggling to crawl between the sheets just so I would not have to tax my brain to keep my balance anymore and the relief I felt after getting all cozy and just letting gravity do all the work once I was laying there.



Arizona Memorial


All the thoughts that kept running through my mind were some sort of bizarre "life passes before your eyes" movie with no particular order or reason and with a Fellini-like twist of surrealism. Inside the womb of the bed, I was relaxed, tired, and had this strange catalog of video memories that seemed to be stuck in the 'random view' mode. These were not visions of material wealth or great accomplishment, they were recollections of emotions and what had caused them. It was that whole sort of life's lesson movie that Frank Capra tried to teach us in 'It's A Wonderful Life'. All that stuff about virtue and value and the things you leave behind that can't fit in your coffin / urn because they are intangible.

In a way it was almost enjoyable (except for the hacking and the sweating, not to mention the inability to eat anything). These scenes from marriage, childhood and work would float through my mind and then I would cock an eye open and look at the alarm clock by the bed. It read 2:37pm, and I thought I should get up and get something to drink. After 'thinking' about getting up for about 12 minutes, I dozed back into the movie theater of life for another 25 minute screening. I was finding it enjoyable to be able to be totally exhausted and totally content in that bed and let my deeply stored subconscious just play away.



Arizona Memorial


I was thankful that this was a holiday week since I was not missing much work and could just let this virus run its course.

It has been over a week since that fun filled and fever induced experience, and I am still not quite over this thing. The concrete that formed in my sinus is still being chipped away at with medication and deep breaths still make me cough, but I am getting back to normal slowly. I guess sometimes, Mother Nature has more than one way of forcing you to slow down and re-examine things.