So I stood in the midst of the cardiac rehab gym and I felt sad. The cardiac therapist asked me what was wrong and I told her I just hadn’t processed all of this yet. It’s new to me. And, now it’s part of my every moment life. I looked around the gym and I saw the people gathered in the midst. These are sick people. They look sick. They move with such caution. Fragile. Everything seems fragile. I feel fragile. Fragility doesn’t fit me. I’m large and cumbersome and clumsy.
She attached the monitors and led me to the “sugar station.” She checked my blood sugar. I’d forgotten diabetes. Diabetes seems trivial – nearly a nuisance to me now. She took my blood pressure. “It’s good” she said. I can’t claim a triumph. 4 pills a day make it good. I walked around the periphery for 6 minutes at 2.07 mph. I wore a heart monitor like a sash across my chest. My breath is labored. Fatigue and sorrow make my lungs feel dense and hefty.
When my foot was whittled I saw the slash from the scalpel. I see the scar. I trace it with my index finger each morning to look for the inevitable and the impending.
But with a heart there’s no evidence but fatigue. It’s like it’s not real. I can’t wrap my head around the concept of “heart failure.” I can’t see a report card. I can’t see the branded F under my skin. So I can’t get it inside my head.
She showed me the graph sketched by my heart monitor. It paced my steps around the periphery. “Does my heart still have PVCs?” PVCs. It’s an acronym. I learned it. “Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a flip-flop or skipped beat in your chest.” Like a conjugated verb in childish babble I use PVCs throughout my appointments. “Does my heart still have PVCs?” I asked. “Oh yes. See?” Her finger traced the jerks on the paper. I thought the 4 pills fixed it. I can’t see a heal because I can’t see the hurt. I take her words for it. Like a reader filled with kindergarten words I know the vocabulary. Heart Failure. I say words I can’t understand. My mind rejects the concepts. I’m a man of strong faith. I’ve moved mountains. But I can’t move “heart failure” from concept to concrete. I’m failing to grasp it all.
I walked around the room. I wonder if anyone will remember me. Like a mantra I asked myself that question through my day and into my nights. I’m hurrying to get my play into print. I want all my words in existence. Whether or not they’re read – they’ll be. Birthed.
I’m afraid of “unfinished.” Words, thoughts, emotions. I want it all marked.
I’ve spent my life standing beside a moral ruler. I measured myself each minute. Now I walk on a finite timeline. I hate the hopscotch. My heart is skipping and pushing my pace. I don’t want to pass go yet. It’s too early for home.
“Why do you put such personal things on Facebook? I don’t understand why you do it.” He said. I don’t know. I thought we were friends? So many emotions and fears and hurts unsaid. Unrevealed. Unfinished. Unpolished. I ejaculate my emotions without edit or aim.
Today I felt sad. Because today I saw the scars and the wounds and the failures. They gathered in the midst. They looked so sick. They moved with such caution. Everything seemed so fragile. I felt fragile.
Fragility fits me.