I returned home today after a stay in the hospital where I received a stem cell transplant. I was there for exactly twenty-one days, it seems long, but the time went by faster than I anticipated. Of course, there were days that seemed to drag on, especially when my body had pain and discomfort. I am surprised though that overall, things were not that awful. I know that is easy to say as I look back on things; once physical discomfort is gone it’s natural for me to forget. [Read more…]
It feels natural to preserve my life, yet the means to get there seem very unnatural. Modern medicine is strange to me; a human being is treated like a programmable computer, and the drugs are the algorithms. I sat here as the doctors hacked my system to a delete a cancerous virus. They have a lot of data saying that the drugs they introduced will remove the malicious software and reset my internal operating system. Although medicine is just as unnatural to me as computers, both are realities I’ve had to accept and embrace in order to keep living in today’s world. [Read more…]
I knew this time was coming, so, in the new year, I promised myself that I would be looking forward to being admitted to the hospital for a few weeks. I filled my calendar these last months, attempting more and more activities than I could reasonably integrate. I thought I would easily relax into nothingness once the opportunity came. But, my plan backfired. Days after being admitted I was still thinking about my “to do” list; my mind was cluttered with everything I should be or could be doing. [Read more…]
A number of years ago I went through a phase where I was craving an NDE (near-death experience). I did not want to leave my body permanently, but there was a desire to have more understanding about life and death, and I thought the best way to gain more understanding would be to actually have the experience of dying. I had read about near-death experiences and noticed that those who came back had a refreshed outlook on life, felt more spiritually awakened, lived life with more awareness, had a greater sense of purpose, and no longer feared death.
I live in a house on the corner of two moderately busy streets. The daytime soundscape includes whirring of buses along cables, car tires cutting through the rain, and the occasional clamor of pedestrians on the sidewalk. The noises of the day go mostly unnoticed, standing as a backdrop for the activity of the day to play upon. But, at night this part of the city is calm and any sudden sound invades the silence of the night.
I was woken in the night by an unexpected siren resounding through the street. Slightly disoriented, I remembered the days when I used to live one street off the main route to Vancouver General Hospital. Sirens blared day and night and were usually disregarded unless they caught me in a more lucid state of mind. If it was one of the rare moments when I took notice, I’d send a prayer or just a thought of love out as the sound waved in. Last night though, in my startled state, I was just left wondering whose lives had possibly just changed forever. [Read more…]
As I’ve acknowledged the value of relationships more and more over the years, I’ve found it difficult not to get attached to certain people or certain ideas of how they are supposed to be in my life. A reason for this, I think, is because I spent most of my life pushing people away, and since it hasn’t been that long since I started to let them in, it feels almost counter-intuitive to let them leave, or even ask them to get out. It’s been a matter of trying to find the right balance between keeping some people close and letting others go. It takes both a certain discretion and a tuning into the heart, but sometimes the two conflict, and there is not always a clear answer on what to do. [Read more…]