Higgins: Redefining termsWritten by Tim Higgins | | email@example.com
There are certain moments (if one is lucky) in which terms once thought to be long understood find completely new meaning, sometimes through what could be considered life-changing personal events. It’s in such a situation that perhaps I find myself, having recently gone through what I like to call “Tin Man Surgery.” My blood vessels around what many believe a conservative lacks (the heart) were repaired through modern medicine.
I thought that some of the introspection and redefinition required of such an event might be worth sharing for no better reason than perhaps the reader’s potential avoidance of an expensive procedure. So here, in no particular order that I can perceive, are some those redefined terms — provided with the hope that the insight gained from a life-altering experience would be worthwhile:
Medical Procedure – Something that one originally perceives as an individual examination, but which can quickly turn into a seemingly never-ending process should the results of preceding ones not yield desired or anticipated results.
Hierarchy – What I used to understand as a ranking of doctors and medical opinions, one above another, but now recognize instead as a curious collection of equals whose assurance and expertise allows them to quickly and confidently reach a mutually agreed upon solution to a problem instead spending their time talking merely to hear themselves. (Oh come on, you didn’t think that you were going to get by without at least one political shot across the bows.)
Chain of Command – Often used (perhaps erroneously) in a military sense, this is instead, in a very personal sense, the growing list of increasingly important loved ones who will no longer allow you to ignore what no sane person would attempt to in the first place.
Choice – Something that we all insist we would like more of, but which in many cases we are completely incapable of making (beyond a form of blithering head bobbing) when confronted with some of life’s most important ones.
Harvest – Something that I once believed was the exclusive province of the agricultural world, that I now understand really has to do with the far more important task of repurposing the very veins and arteries already in your body for use around the very heart that makes their existence necessary.
Bypass – To choose to go around something in order to avoid reduced flow, delay, or obstruction; until such conditions are determined to be those surrounding your heart and that stopping and going around that organ using a mechanical device is only way to repair it.
Independence – Something which I once understood as an act of personal autonomy and even defiance. I now comprehend it to be something only accomplished with the love and assistance of those protecting you (in most cases) from yourself.
Memory – The parts of our personal history that our mind, if we are lucky, selectively protects us from, lest we run gibbering in fright from already decisions made and as a consequence, the rest of our continued existence.
Pain – Something which no one not experiencing it can understand, the limits to which are constantly redefined based on immediate circumstance, and to which the best solutions are personally made and usually on preemptive basis.
Pleasure – Something previously misunderstood until one spends time in a hospital room and recognizes the sheer bliss achieved in finding something as simple sitting in a comfortable position or the successful completion of a normal bodily function (especially without assistance).
Gratitude – An overwhelming feeling that encompasses not only a list of doctors like Snodell, Jackson and Henry, but an even longer list of anesthesiologists, nurses, practitioners, lab techs and other supporting staff far too numerous to name who chose to, for some brief point in their normally unappreciated lives, make the continuation of yours the most important thing in theirs.
Future – Something that you once thought would once take care of itself and could therefore largely be ignored, but now realize is something so fragile that it could become lost in an instant when you least expected it. As a consequence, you are not now entirely sure how to approach or how to truly appreciate it.
Life – (as it ever was) The choices we make about what comes next based on the wisdom that we’ve thus far achieved.
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