Thursday, January 10, 2013

Minor Breakdowns and Breakthroughs

So it turns out that knowing my body is tougher than I thought. Yesterday I felt very good. I felt as though I was whole, hearty and healthy. I walked to the library. I walked to pick up my car. I walked to see the girls get out of school. Later, I drove over to my parents' house to watch the SU men's basketball team. While the Orange eked out a win over the lowly Providence Friars I felt more and more like going to sleep. I was yawning and beginning to feel some aching across my shoulders and down both arms. Earlier in the day I had been feeling as though it was time to cut my sick leave from work short and get back to teaching. By evening I was doubting that.

This morning I woke up sore and down emotionally. Even before I had come fully awake I was already down in the dumps. I went downstairs and tried to wake up the way I have most every morning since the surgery, but it wasn't working. After the girls went to sleep, I lost myself in YouTube mostly so that I could sit still and not think about anything. Still, I felt myself sinking.

Luckily, a friend had planned for four of us to get together for coffee. I went to that and it felt good to sit with friends and talk about whatever the hell we felt like talking about. There were times when I felt myself fading from the conversation or trying to hard to control it and I wasn't upset when it was time to go. It was getting to be tiring to watch myself and how I was acting in public. I wanted to be off by myself so that I could not worry.

I drove my friend to his house and then drove away from his house not knowing where to go. I considered the mall, a coffee shop, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, the library, but nowhere seemed quite right. So I just drove for a bit until I ended up back home again.

This is the part of the essay when I admit to a little panic. It's also the time when I suggest that everyone get a dog. They're good to talk to. At least mine is. She didn't say it was okay. She didn't tell me any stories. She didn't really even listen. But she felt good to pet and she has a look on her face that seems awfully understanding. After a while, I felt like I was okay. Not good, not bad, just okay.

So I went to sleep for a few minutes. I read a book. I surfed the web. I drank some water. I took one of my monster Tylenols.

After a while the dog, having taken care of me, wanted a walk and made quite a show out of asking for it. I thought about walking her around for a while and then walking to the school to meet up with my wife and the kids, but I didn't feel up to it, physically. As for mentally, emotionally, I noticed how grateful I was that they would be home soon.

Now, all of this sounds like a great big deal the way I'm saying it, or at least it feels to me now as though it will sound that way to people. It's not a big deal and for that I'm grateful. It could have been a big deal and, years ago, would likely have been a big deal, but today it was just a thing that I went through and came out the other side with the help of a visit with friends, a good dog, a fair amount of rest, and my family coming home to me.

By dinner time I was physically tired but my spirits were buoyant and rising.

Then tonight, Stephanie and I watched three episodes of _Parenthood_. We've been saving them up on the DVR all season and are rolling through them all in a few nights. Throughout the night I kept getting choked up and, yeah I'll admit it, I cried at least twice. And it just felt good to have that kind of reaction, to feel safe enough to have that kind of emotion rise up and not try to cap it off. It was good to embrace it, even if it is just a damn television show, or the effects of having walked too far yesterday, or whatever it is I'm unsure of and still trying to figure out. It lets me know that even though I have a lot of ground to cover, I'm moving along, growing, and doing more than a few things right. It lets me know that this is an awfully good life I'm leading.

And that's all the reason in the world I need to write on.