Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Out of Control

Nibbling at edges

Nibbling at edges
A dropped heartbeat
Here . . . . . now there
Random holes of silence
Never to be filled
Gone forever
Eluding my grasp
Silently stealing life
That once seemed
Steady and sure

Several days ago I decided to wear my heart monitor. I was curious. How often and how long are these episodes of atrial fibrillation? Lucy Pacemaker takes care of the slow beats. I don’t even know when she’s doing it because I’m usually asleep.

So what’s up with those fast-beating AFib episodes? Sometimes I can tell when my heart misses beats, but not usually. Often I feel weak, especially in my legs and when I reach to get something from a high shelf. My energy level plummets, and I feel off-balance.

For three days I wore my heart monitor from the time I got up until I went to bed. Nothing. Just wonderfully steady, strong beats. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was thrilled and full of energy.

Yesterday morning things went haywire. I saw it on my heart monitor, and felt it in my body. Weak and discouraged doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.

After some tears of frustration, I decided my heart could use some comfort. I also pared down my schedule to three things: make (and enjoy!) a simple lentil soup, play the piano, and exercise indoors.

After half an hour on my semi-recumbent bike, plus walking around the house while listening to the radio, it happened. My heart suddenly settled down, more than 8 hours after the fibrillation began.

Yesterday evening I jotted down the poem at the top. An acknowledgment that I’m dying in more ways than one—and that there’s life in me, though it’s not what I expected.

As for you, dear Reader, here’s a Reader-friendly article about AFib, and how to tell, without a monitor, whether your heartbeats are steady: Stanford University Scope Blog.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 March 2019
Image found at Stanford University’s Scope Blog

Out of control

Four nights in a row. Out of control, nightmarish dreams that brought me to a full stop for a few days. I was in my dreams, but not in the driver’s seat. I wasn’t even in the vehicles. I was an onlooker, watching things go downhill with each increasingly dangerous iteration of the same scenario.

I don’t like starting over. I like getting into a groove and then letting things go ahead ‘as normal.’ Yet it seems nothing is normal anymore. Especially when it comes to my body.

A quick inventory:

Energy:
Back up to about 75%, after plummeting two years ago.

Sleep:
Definitely improved in the last three months so that I’m getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night without an unsightly number of bathroom visits. I know that’s not polite to talk about, but let’s just be real for a minute or two, OK?

Eating:
So healthy it makes me sick to think about it. Also the cause for most of my time management issues. Lots of cutting and chopping for those super-healthy smoothies, and constant vigilance about having the right stuff on hand. And then there’s that huge cleanup afterwards while I watch D make a sandwich, chomp a raw carrot, enjoy one small chocolate square, and be done with it.

Exercise:
Getting at least 2 miles of walking in a day, often more; burning well over 1300 calories a day; getting at least 30 minutes of ‘active’ walking a day. No complaints, except when it rains and I’m confined to indoor stairs and my small semi-recumbent bike.

Social Life:
It does happen sometimes. Yesterday we had another lively afternoon tea with our neighbors. Late last week I saw my nearly 85-year old friend Rita when we were out for a walk. And I go to church every Sunday where I’m known for standing around talking with my friends until I get run out. I’m not an extrovert, but I do love being with people, and miss the easy flow of socializing with friends and former colleagues.

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I feel at peace. Yet most of the time I feel driven by whatever the next thing is. This includes time to rest each day—off my feet, relaxed, usually listening to music or taking a little snooze.

I want to experience peace more often, and not feel so driven by whatever the next thing is on my list. Or all those things that ‘should’ be on my list but aren’t.

I also want to keep an open mind about my lists. Most items are non-negotiable. I can rearrange some. Yet by the end of the day, I want to embody the spirit of this small prayer even though I don’t always succeed. I’m especially challenged by the last item.

I let go my desire for security and survival.
I let go my desire for esteem and affection.
I let go my desire for power and control.
I let go my desire to change the situation.

Quoted by Cynthia Bourgeault in Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, p. 147 (Cowley Publications 2004)

Right now it happens to be lunchtime, so I’ll happily retire to the kitchen….

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 May 2018
Photo found at wisegeek.com

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