Friday, April 27, 2012
Chop Wood, Carry Water
A month now. It seems like forever ago that my great miracle happened, and I was given my own glimpse at enlightenment in the face of death. The searing, cool drops of holy water on my fading body during Last Rites even seem a distant memory as I sit on the back porch looking out over green pastures and blue lakes on the farm outside of Dallas.
I was in clinic this morning doing the usual bloods draws, nutrition classes, and doctor visits when I happened across another recent transplant recipient that I've gotten to know over the last weeks. She did not seem to be in high spirits, and was not very sure-footed about her recovery path. Granted, most of these patients are a bit older than myself, and some are certainly not bouncing back as quickly as I have, but I sensed her crisis was metaphysical in nature. I too have been fairly blue and somewhat depressed in the past few days, if I have to be honest (which I do these days). Then I realized: The honeymoon is over. The adrenalin rush, the spiritual crisis of impending doom, the overwhelming importance of it all, and even the ego-feeding attention that I have tried so hard to not feel guilty about, is all over now. I am slowly moving back to normal, albeit new, brighter normal. Sure, many would love to have some idle time on their hands to recuperate and relax for the next two months. But as my body heals, so does my will to enact my new plans, get back to work, and see my friends once again.
In terms of my transplant friend, I realized that she, and all of us in the same boat, must experience a similar emotion, initially: After falling for so long, it's hard to stand on solid ground. Or, PTSD, for lack of a better term. For me this, has required the same medicine that it always has: Prayer and more prayer. I take it like I have to take my 26+ pills each day, knowing that results will come because I've seen consistent proof.
So, I listen to my new friends. Then, if it feels right, I'll talk without offering advice. Simply tell my story. I do feel somewhat guilty that I'm doing so well when some of my fellow transplant recipients are not. But I was told by the Baylor chaplain that I'm giving them hope, just by seeing me walk tall. Good enough for me.
The technical stuff: Liver levels are almost perfect. Rosy cheeks, white eyes, and an energy I've never known. I had a slight complication a few weeks ago that some of you knew about: I had a serious virus that is pretty common post-transplant and dropped from my usual weight of 210 down to 170 in a week and a half. Rebuilding now, but cautiously. I'm enjoying having a my teenage butt again, to be frank. With exercise and diet that I couldn't do before, I'll see where this goes.
In the meantime, the old Zen Koan... chop wood, carry water.