Still No Answers

Still, nothing definitive from the doctors and hospital in Houston. While it’s frustrating to me, it must be absolutely maddening to my brother. Today marks day number 17 or 18, I think, since his last admission into the hospital. His original hospital admission for this series of unpleasant experiences was July 24. That was admission number one, for surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Number two was for dehydration and malnutrition, coupled with surgical wound infection, followed by a blood clots that led to thrombectomies. The last admission was for wound infection. That has morphed into a long stay for malnutrition, wound infection, and general failure to thrive. So my frustration about not know a schedule around which I can plan my life is an embarrassment. How utterly unimportant is my schedule, when compared to my brother’s ongoing experience in the hospital. But, still. We all need to be able to plan, with some degree of certainty, our lives. No, we don’t need that. We want it. Want suggests desire. Need suggests urgency.

Yet I still want to have some control over my schedule. My sixty-fifth birthday is approaching, thus the requirement that I make decisions regarding my supplemental Medicare insurance.  My drivers’ license is up for renewal, along with options for upgrading it to make it useful as a “formal” form of governmental ID useful for boarding aircraft. I ought to do something about that. So I do, arguably, need to take care of my own business. But “need” is a weak word in this context. So I shouldn’t use it. I do wish I could snap my fingers and ensure that my brother’s health issues were resolved. But I can’t. So, I need to be prepared to travel back to Houston to help him deal with whatever life throws at him. But, again, I can’t ignore my wife’s expectations, can I? No, nor should I. Life is a viscious bitch. Sometimes I wish I could snuff it out and be done with it. But that would do not one, not the least me, any good. Irrationality is the mistress of madness. Either someone said that and deserves to be quoted or I feel it and deserve to be incarcerated.

Today, in church, the minister’s message hit home for me. He argued, among other things, that the social message to men that they ought never to cry, was an abomination. And then, after the service, we watched a PBS program in which an aging teacher, in her early nineties, sat with former students who essentially worshiped her and talked about life lessons. I couldn’t control my tears. I think I was the only one who couldn’t. I felt like an idiot as my eyes flooded and spilled onto my shirt. I tried to hide my tears, but they were seen. And others were as embarrassed for me as I was embarrassed for myself. Even after we heard a message suggesting that male emotion was “okay,” we realized it’s really not. No, it’s not. At least not to the extent that my emotions overtake me. And I get that. People who cry at the drop of a hat are bothersome. I am bothersome. Why the hell can’t  I control my emotions better? Why do things move me so damn easily? Why can’t I control my tears? I don’t know. I don’t know that I’ll ever know. Maybe one day I’ll tolerate myself more readily than I do today, but probably not. Because sometimes, and today was such a day, I am intolerable. I think back to who I am and things I’ve done and pains I’ve caused and I know I am intolerable and don’t deserve tolerance. But I do wish there were something I could do to earn it back. I just don’t think there is. Not a damn thing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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