"I wanna slip away, got to get away…"
Dateline: Put on the IR…
I was born dead.
You may not know that, or you may. But the plan was I was born to not be here. Just sort of a drive-by life.
I was a hello, goodbye, baby. Just passing through.
But somehow, I survived my birth. I lived.
I lived in spite of the body given me.
My temporary body, this.
The greatest foe in my life has always been, me. I have never won the fight against me, the physical me.
I get through life because the mental me, wills it to be so.
Brain over pain.
I have played hurt all my life.
Two Darvocet in the morning…with coffee…the caffeine would push the drug into my system faster, push the pain out quicker.
Percocet for lunch, just numb it, numb the pain. Just keep me in the game, just keep me in the game…Connecticut large mortgage, kids in college, Lord & Taylor, Gucci, New never used, latest, latest, latest, keeping up, keeping up….
Vicodin dreams. In bed, the body that wasn't supposed to be would spasm into the fetal position. No amount of pillows helped, no amount of softness helped, two extra-large heating pads on high toasted the skin but sunk deep enough to dull the pain.
Just keep me in the game.
Just dull the pain.
Next morning, next day, next month, next year….do it all over again.
Stories, career, family, life in a fog.
Keep me in the game.
"…and I'll be praying to my higher self…"
I have cancer.
You may know, or you may not.
Prostate Cancer. Stage 1, found very early, very curable.
But the body that wasn't supposed to be here, the foe I have never been able to beat continues delivering body blow, after body blow.
I'm off the professional pain drugs now, both hips replaced, but I'm popping 12 Ibuprofen a day…or 9 and 3…9 Ibuprofen mixed with 3 Aleve has got me back in at least the semi-pro leagues.
I'm a fat man.
I haven't been in shape since the early 1970's.
I have lived through a life of excess.
I have lived through a decade or so of violence.
I have lived through a life of not giving a crap about the body that never wanted me.
I have torn meniscus in both knees.
My right foot has tendon problems and possible stress fractures…it hurts so much I can't use it to push the brake pedal down anymore. When I drive I have to sit crooked so my left foot is the brake foot.
When it is cold and raining, I can't move. Four ibuprofen before I can type…just dull the pain of the three fingers on each hand that were broken long ago, but now need to be in heating pads when I sleep.
I have several chins, more when I lay down, and those several fat chins gang up on my throat and make me choke at night. I've had the sleep apnea test, didn't have it, just suffer from fat man's sleep.
Other things are happening, when my fingers work and I can type and I type the other stuff into google, I don't read very far before I Xout of the page.
I know the body that didn't want me.
And I know it's coming for me.
"…don't let me down, keep my feet on the ground, don't let me down…"
Don't be me.
I was born to be this way, if I let my body rule my life I would have never typed a word, would never have said I Love You to my wife, to my kids.
So I never paid attention to it, the body below me, the body between my head, and the earth.
At some point the body that did not want me, will come for me, and take me out…maybe sooner than the life span charts say a guy should go.
But my life span chart, was really only a day to begin with.
Every day from Day Two on, was a blessing. A gift.
This Saturday my son Jimmy, now a Physical Education Teacher in Connecticut, now on his way to the rest of his life, on his way to the family he will make, this Saturday, Jimmy moves out.
Our daughter Ashley, our oldest, moved out years ago, and now lives and works in Texas.
On Sunday, living in our home, will only be two people, Barb and I.
Five bedrooms, three and a half baths filled only with memories.
I wonder, is it an empty nest, or no nest at all.
Last night Jimmy told us he was approved for the apartment that he and a childhood friend had wanted to get.
Barb and I said, "Great."
Neither meant it.
Later, with Jimmy downstairs, and us upstairs Barb looked at me and said only this, "I don't want to be alone."
And I knew then, it wasn't only about Jimmy.
It was also about me.
Barb and I have been married since 1974.
In love then, in love now.
The only thing that stands between us, is the body that didn't want me.
When Barb went to bed, I sat downstairs alone, sat looking at the new pots and pans for Jimmy, the new dishes, the new utensils, the new life boxed up around me.
Sat there most of the night.
Saw in the new pot, Jimmy and Ashley's baby bottles being warmed.
Saw in the new knives and forks, the tiny Mickey Mouse spoon that fed both of them there first real food.
Saw, that when I told my docs…"just keep me in the game"…the game wasn't The Job, The Career.
The game I wanted to be kept in…was Love. The game was the love of my wife and the children she brought me, and the game is the love of my children, and the children that they someday will bring to me.
That, is the only game.
It was then I knew, that even though the 4Runner was packed and ready to head out in a few short hours for 3 weeks and thousands of miles on the road, it was then I knew, it would never leave the driveway.
None of my doctors wanted me to make the trip.
I was going against their orders, as I have spent a lifetime doing.
The body that did not want me, is coming for me, my only chance is to not run from it anymore.
My only chance is to not ignore it anymore.
My only chance, is to face it, and take care of it.
No more playin' hurt.
I'm going to listen to the docs…and stay off the road for the time being.
Take care of the cancer…take care of the swollen ankles possible cardiac stuff…take care of the pain in the knees…take care of the dizziness and all the other things.
Because I want to stay in the game.
"What about all the people living in the nightmare hurtThat won't go away no matter how hard they tryThey've got to pay time and time again, time and time againI'll be praying to my higher self."
Ancient HighwayVan Morrison
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