Driving my daughter to ride this morning, she hit play on the Richard Thompson CD and when “Don’t Tempt Me” played, a flash of blind rage came over me for having spent the last 10 years like a caged animal. That’s probably a sign of healing because it takes strength to feel rage.
Years ago when I was bedridden, my emotions were blunted. I watched people hiking on trails out my window and longed to be out there, but I didn’t have the energy to be angry. I was more of a wilted plant at the time.
Listen to this song with the volume turned up and maybe you can imagine the rage.
While I imagine myself as a caged lion, the funny thing is, my neighbors see me as the guy next door who complains about his health but looks perfectly normal. Meanwhile, they’re taking their kids camping, they’re biking, hiking, skiing, vacationing and going about their normal lives while I sit at home obsessing about what supplement I should try increasing next.
Jealousy and rage aren’t very useful, though, and after the tears stopped streaming down my face, I quickly switched gears to gratitude for my healing process and for the journey. I’m so thankful for the knowledge and experience I’m carrying which can help other people heal and protect others from getting as sick as I did.
My friend Aaron who nearly died last year from Ulcerative Colitis is helping me develop my sense of gratitude and I can’t recommend his book “There is no bad day” highly enough. His story is so intense, I can’t read it without a lot of tears. It has profoundly changed my thinking about how to experience pain and suffering in life. My habits are changing already. I just wish I had started a long time ago. It looks to me like the price of his book has been reduced from $.99 to zero, but either way, it’s a priceless read.
On the homepage of his website you’ll see this:
My life went from the highest of highs, to an extreme low over less than 2 months. I went from the best shape of my life, happier than ever before, to totally bed-ridden, writhing in pain daily, and my 6’2″ frame dropped from 178 down to 128 pounds and I brushed death very closely.
And here’s the intro to his book:
Introduction – Explosion
“I DON’T KNOW! I’LL TRY. HELP! PLEASE HELP!” I shouted panicking.
“Try to make it to your front door and stay on the line, the ambulance is on its way.”
“OK”. I said, as I slumped off the bed and crawled toward the door.
I managed to pull the sliding door open from my knees amid moans of “OW! OW! HELP! HELP!” All I could think to do was keep yelling and begging for help. Nan immediately woke up to my screams and rushed into the kitchen. Horror painted her face as she saw my skeletal naked frame screaming in agony crawling across the floor. Moments later a knock rapped on the door…it could have only been a few minutes from when I made the call.
“What happened? What’s going on??” She demanded. The front door swung open as freezing winter mountain air rushed in with four EMT’s.
“I DON’T KNOW! I DON’T KNOW!” I shouted in loud monotone.
“BLANKET! BLANKET!!” More shouting. “WATER! I NEED WATER! IT’S GONNA BLOW! IT’S GONNA BLOW UP!!! BLANKET!!”
“What’s gonna blow?” She asked. “What’s wrong??”
“I DON’T KNOW! MY GROIN! I DON’T KNOW!” Fiercely shivering now and still screaming, they loaded me onto a stretcher and asked for my name and birth date. Explosive pain threatened to burst my penis to pieces. They piled three blankets over me and I rolled out the door and into the waiting ambulance. More questions as they strapped me into place: “What’s your name?” “Aaron Kennard!” I replied. “What’s your date of birth?” they asked. “Didn’t they already ask me that two times in the house?” I wondered. I told them again. “They must be testing to see if I’m coherent. Yes, I’m here! And I’m exploding!! Please help me!!” My mind raced.
One EMT sprayed a pain drug into my nose. No relief. Then the ambulance flew down the road with sirens blaring. “Please God, let me live! I don’t want to die. Please help me!!” were my thoughts. From my mouth came “OW!! OW! AM I GOING TO DIE?”
Nothing like any pain I had ever experienced, I had the distinct feeling death was imminent. I didn’t fear dying for my own sake. But thoughts of my wife and children’s well-being consumed me and I deeply yearned to stay alive for their sake, the thought of leaving Nan alone with our four little kids simply unbearable. Overwhelmed, I could only keep asking, “AM I GOING TO DIE? PLEASE HELP ME!”
In the living room at home, broken and dejected on her knees, Nan sobbed uncontrollably. “Please Heavenly Father! Please don’t let him die! Please let him be OK!!! PLEASE!!”
As I read his story, I thought about how I’ve lived for so long in a world where every ounce of my energy was measured out carefully, and how I can’t remember what it was like before. I can’t remember what it was like not to worry about making mistakes that might lead to a meltdown or crash because I didn’t plan perfectly, forgot to take food with me, forgot to take my Isocort, etc etc.
I wondered how to to heal my psyche, how to restore an outlook of abundance and I wonder what others have done… the first steps for sure are clear for me. First comes gratitude and physical healing. Next? I don’t know yet – maybe helping others. Maybe there’s more, some kind of exorcism?