Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One Down, Two to Go

You'll forgive me for again invoking "that damned movie" as it is sometimes called by a few.  Toward the end of the cinematic version of 'A River Runs Through It," Norman's younger brother Paul lands a fish after a very dramatic swim with his bamboo rod held high.  He is congratulated and complimented by his father.  In the afterglow of the moment, Paul says something along the lines of, "I just need three more years before I can think like a fish!"

The course of the movie branches away from the written story at this point.  I have no complaints about how the screenplay was written or directed, and it makes perfect sense that it took the course it did.  Yet something was missed at that fork, something that came from the rocks and echoes from the water.

A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.  As we were packing our tackle and fish in the car, Paul repeated, "Just give me three more years."
Thirteen months ago, I concluded one of my essays with those words.  I hoped for just a few more years of fishing.  It seems like a reasonable request for someone with a progressive, degenerative neurological condition, right?  I adopted it as a slogan, and I'm clinging, refusing to let it go.  Not forever, but something more than tomorrow, next week, or next month would be nice.  Two more yearswould be great.

I've been asked the questions more than a few times over the past week: Any second thoughts? Are you nervous?  And I've had to pause before answering, confused.  I feel like I should be nervous or feel some form of fear.  Not long ago, fear of this procedure filled a space inside me.  That space is now empty vacuum.   I've even searched for anxiety regarding those low probability, unspeakable outcomes.  If it's there, it's an elusive beast swimming invisibly through the shaded places.

The fly is cast and I'm content to watch it drift.

See you downriver.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

...like I need another hole in the head

By now, we’ve all learned that life brings us the terrible and the beautiful, often by the same whim.  Like most, I can speak with authority about beautiful things ended terribly, and terrible things that have bloomed into beauty I’d never imagined.  Better minds than mine have explored this dichotomy, so I’ll not embarrass myself trying.

Fate, God, the Universe, or insert-your-own-belief-system-label-here handed me a metaphorical coin about ten years ago.  At first, I could not decode the inscriptions.  A few years went by and I learned to read the writing: Congratulations, you’ve been selected to experience Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.  Looking at my metaphorical coin, I could clearly see that one side depicted pain and tragedy.  The other side was still indistinct, but I could see gratitude around the edges.