DEPRESSED AND CRABBY?
The welcome back to church yesterday was overwhelming: smiles hugs and loving words, applause and a sustained standing ovation. Others seemed as happy and relieved as Linda and I to see me alive and well, and my gratitude is beyond expression.
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While I was in hospital after surgery, Linda and Joe attended a Cleveland Clinic session to help families understand what is normal for patients in the six months or more of recovery that will follow. They heard some advice on exercise and diet but what they brought back interesting was that patients recovering from open heart surgery often get depressed and frequently are crabby and irritable.
As I understand it, depression often comes because recovery takes so long, progresses so slowly. I can’t visualize this happening with me. Being basically a sorry, lazy soul anyway, I am content to exercise prescriptively, tire easily, and couch-potato expertly. Yes, it’s necessary to step-by-step up the stairs and to saunter round the block instead of vigorously. But vigorous and step-lively will return slowly. Moreover, last October I was given two to five months to live and then I experienced myself deteriorating rapidly, literally daily: I wasn’t supposed to be alive today! I was supposed to be dead now! I am unendingly mindful of that. Linda was supposed to be giving my L. L. Bean shirts and pants and my SAS shoes to charity this morning and deciding when to get the children and grandchildren together to scatter my ashes. But every morning I wake up! “Hey! I showed up again today! Thank you, God!” My gratitude for life is so intense that I cannot imagine one second of depression! So it takes six months to get back to battery? So what! Relax and enjoy! Life Is Good.
Besides, it is helpful to me as priest and pastor to experience what others experience in life, and though I wouldn’t have chosen open heart surgery I’m content to have done it and share the experience with others.
On the other hand I look forward to being crabby and accepting no blame. I’ll do that when the happiness fades.
But the happiness won’t fade. Creation is good, very good. Life Is Good: Very Good Indeed! Thank you, God.