Please don’t “bless” me. I’ve read a fair amount of postings by people who have the same affliction as me, and somewhere in their post is a “blessing.” I don’t know what the word blessing means. Is it a personal appeal to an invisible all-knowing something-or-other to actually do the blessing? Or are people just filling in for that all seeing thing and doing the blessing themselves? Anyway, my spiritual orientation is my business, such as it is. But having received a few blessings since this IPF thing, well, it is not that I don’t appreciate the gesture part of the blessing. It is just that it messes with my understanding of “life, the universe, and everything”.
I have lost my way on this death and dying thing. I looked for some personal blogs on the topic. I wasn’t interested in a medical perspective this morning. Instead I Googled “Thanatos” and “thanatology.” Some time ago I actually saw a, what, “thanatician?” This was after my son Donovan died (at about or before 30). There wasn’t much in the old thanaticion business that worked for me as I recall, but regardless, it sounds like a neat topic for study.
Oh, checked into ER last night. The coughing post lung biopsy was so bad there was no way I was going to get to sleep, or my wife either for that matter. Lots and lots of waiting in the exam room. Sucking on their “free” Os though. Blood and pictures taken once again. The ER doc did get a hold of Dr. Sinha, my pulmonologist, and they seemed to be on the same page. I think. We have finally zeroed in on the cough, and, as I expected, I got the same groovy cough syrup I had a year I had about a year ago before anybody knew what the coughing was about. No insult to my doctors, but they could have Googled it. Chronic-dry-cough. Try it. Sadly the cough syrup will mess up happy hour which is, or was, the high point of the day. And I am starting a steroid I think called prednisone. I’ll find out in a little bit as my wife is picking it up right now. The steroid is for inflammation. (Two ‘m’s?) I hope I like it.
Back to death. So without some kind approximated timeline, I guess the thing to do is “start getting my affairs in order”, as they say. So I’m working on getting the student loan resolved. I’m pretty old for that, I know, but I have my reasons so just wait a bit until I get to it. Also I am getting my Social Security figured out for my wife. I think she can get something after you-know-what.
So much for the boring stuff. Where is the interesting stuff? Really. I am kind of dumb struck I suppose with all of this IPF stuff. I am suppose to be in some kind of “state” right now but don’t feel anything. The classic list, as formulated by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1969 – Swiss Dr.) consists of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. OK, let’s try them out on me.
1) Denial. I simply cannot self-diagnose this one except that I am putting on a “happy face” and joke a bit. So I guess that could be considered an expression of denial. However, it could also simply be a reasonable defense to the reality of this whole thing. I get it! Tell a few lies, jokes and stories and not dwell unnecessarily on the thing, Carpe diem and such.
2) Anger. I am not angry. Who or what would I be angry at? God? I think we have covered that. No God. Luck? Well, that just doesn’t make much sense. Although luck, bad or good, is a sociological variable all too much ignored. But I am not angry.
3) Bargaining. Nope. With whom? That invisible all-knowing magical god so many talk about? Not a friggin’ chance. Of course, if lying and suffering in the face of the inevitable, cutting a deal with a few religions remains a possibility, but god forbid, as it were.
4) Depression. Well, if my meds are working, so far it is not happening. But come on! It is really, really likely that I actually am depressed but am successfully hiding it. (See Denial above.) In fact, I’d wager that denial is not a single stage, but can come an go very unpredictably. If it happens, I’ll probably not want to write about it because I’ll be, you know, depressed.
5) Acceptance. Like depression, I think it comes and goes. As mentioned earlier, maybe in my case it is a kind of relief. Not one sought after. But acceptance is a kind of relief itself isn’t it? You dump the depression, anger, denial and bargaining and just kind of sit there, under the old banyan tree, accepting whatever is next. Sounds good to me. It might get me a Zen certificate or something.
I think I am boring you. I am boring me. Things are getting a bit academic here, even if using my personal experience as the foundation. But hey, this isn’t a suicide note. Nor is it the manifesto of a martyr. It is just a reflection on a process that everyone might go through if not, you know, struck down unexpectedly by a falling piano or lightening and such.