Accepting Fear’s Exception


I used to keep a journal filled with thoughts and doodles. It became obsolete over twenty years ago. At that time, the most productive and motivating outlet for self discourse was via email.

An afternoon of scribbling, without so much as a blinked scan’s proofread, made way to an equally-quick click of the always-busy “send”!

Years later, specifically in 2010, this very blog emerged from an raw, emotional heap of isolation, fear, exhaustion, and confusion. Tartuffe’s Folly, in a private way, became my salvation. The entire email option at once seemed silly as I had found a legitimate outlet.

The process of posting helped extract and explore my optimistic nature. Since then, I’ve been far more emotionally fit and my own best “hope junkie”!

Except on certain days, that is. Days like today. My thoughts drift into my rarely charted recesses of pragmatism and realism. To many folks, such talk is morbid and symptomatic of some evil neurosis.

But as they say in the deepest of Southern back alleys: “That don’t make no never mind.”
My 851 days of waiting for a new heart have given me all too much time for reflection. Now that I’m in the hospital until after the transplant, there’s no escaping the truth.

What if a donor heart is never procured? What if I don’t survive the surgery? What if my body succumbs to rejection impulses? After ten weeks in this room, my list of queries and hypotheticals continues to grow.

I’m in no way a “Pollyanna”. If I was a terrific candidate for the procedure back in December 2013, time has only eroded those odds. On some Sundays, the odds seem fated for only a fifty percent recovery.

Of course, my beloved and I can discuss the subject … but only insofar as neither of us becomes melancholy.

I know of two friends with whom I can share such intimate thoughts — a friend from college days and one from New York.

There are no definitive answers, no sure things. But if, in my most investigative deconstructions, I indeed have such thoughts, it likely suggests one thing.

I’m scared.

And today, in my most roundabout and rambling manner, I now can admit it to myself. I’m scared.

Mind you: broaching this discussion with a family member or close friend may yet be several Sundays ahead. But not now.

Similarly, I never shared my journals or my “emails to myself”.

Everything is a process these days. What better day than an April Sunday for a review?

(Image: “Vanitas” by Fernando Vicente, 2008.)

5 thoughts on “Accepting Fear’s Exception

  1. Good Sunday morning to you, Mark. I spent the last 7-8 years in near seclusion due to chronic illness, PTSD and MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) the after effects of a bad auto accident. I’ve spent many a night (and upon awaking or daylight hours) pondering my own death. And silly as it seems, as I’ve healed and resumed my life among the living again, I still find myself going to sleep at night wondering all kinds of scenarios of my final moments on Earth. I’ve come to the conclusion, it may be age related to hitting my 60th decade…I’m not sure. I read your blog as a happy subscriber, and FB friend, and just wanted to tell you I think it’s healthy talking about what you’re feeling and experiencing while awaiting a new heart. I dearly love your heart, your ability to immerse yourself in art and writing and holding our hands while we watch from afar what you and your beloved, Jon, are dealing with. When I read your posts I envision you in the room with me telling me your grand story, and I even have a “made-up” voice for you. It’s as elegant, and refined as Marklewood, and I “hear” you speaking while I read your posts. I wish I could jump on the beds with you at the hospital or run amok in the halls with wheelchairs races and such. No matter where we go after our bodies say goodbye to all we knew, I know, wherever I am I will remember you, Jon, the Kitty Queens and Kings, and every delicious morsel of food you’ve prepared or craved, every well written, descriptive sentence you’ve enriched our lives with and the immense gifts within your pain and suffering you’ve shared with us. So tonight when I go to bed and my wee noggin fills up with my “usual” death thoughts, I’ll give you a hug and whisper, “Shut up, Mark! I can’t hear myself over here because your head is too noisy!” (nah…it will be) “Thank you, Mark. I know I’m not alone tonight in my head or heart because we’re hanging out in our heads together.” MUCH LOVE TO YOU AND YOURS! Yes, it was worth shouting it out loud because we do care, we do read your blog and we especially care about you all. xoxox

    • I did pretend to sleepwalk the other night. The nurses here are spectacular here and really dote on me … and not in an overbearing manner, but very empathetic. They are total advocates.
      Thank you for your kind words. xxxooo

  2. Reblogged this on Marklewood at Serenity Lodge and commented:
    Mark posted this on April 10. Seven days later he was transplanted with a new heart. And as if his blog foretold, it has not been an easy recovery process. But, progress and improvement, a day at a time, is beginning to be the word of the day. For this we are grateful. And we will be able to tell him the story soon. But, not today. Today we continue to watch and wait as his doctors and skilled nurses attend to his every need.

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