Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and Our Ledgers

Large pieces of life gradually become ledger books.  I often thought marriage became an enormous ledger (you know - I cleaned the kitchen last time...I get to be a bitch today because you were a toad yesterday...).

SCA fouls up the ledgers.  It knocks our routine relationships out of balance.  The level we care about different parts of our lives shifts,  sometimes in small ways and other times closer to volcanically.  Eruptions.  Sometimes it seems like a total disorientation.  Upside down.  Planet gone wobbly.

Pre-SCA, when we had a spat (I was mocked for using that word, but I like it - it's a wonderful word) - in a spat or argument or real fight, we measured our next action, at least in part, with one eye on that mental ledger. I apologized first last time.... OR....he was more wrong than I was here, so he has to apologize first. ...OR he was really wrong this time - nothing short of flowers will work.

Since the SCA, at least the major spat/argument/disruptions are very different.  Where harmony in an important relationship is at stake  - I sometimes am almost oblivious to maintaining the ledger balance.  It doesn't matter to me who was more wrong.  It doesn't matter to me if I over-apologize or meet more than halfway.  Doesn't even matter if I risk going where I am not welcome.  The chance at preserving or improving an important relationship trumps book-balancing.  Post SCA, my tolerance for regrets has sunk to near zero; if I can avoid regretting an action or inaction, I am going to.  And really - making the first step towards reconciliation or taking the larger step - these are rarely the sources of our regrets.

We all know life is short.  We SCA survivors know it can be starkly, coldly short.  Blink of an eye short.  May not wake up tomorrow short. That next electrical disruption can happen in the next 5 minutes.  Or in 20 years.  One thing is certain; regrets are not how we want to spend our time.  If I embarrass myself - who gives a damn.
Photo courtesy of an un-friend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Platonic Relationships Fail

Genies do not go back into bottles.   If you want to ruin a platonic friendship, try stepping away from the platonic.  Genie comes flying out.  Soaring, racing out.  Jet propelled out.

Throughout our friendship, there were barriers, impediments to a "normal" relationship - insurmountable issues and obstacles. Well, it's one very large one, I guess.  Maybe one and a half. Well, probably two. There is no question about our caring for one another, but these barriers are large.  Large as in --- I would have a better shot at pole-vaulting 15 feet than we would have getting past these issues.  We both knew it then and know it now.

Then the genie flew out - we ruined this friendship that meant so much to me.   At first, I thought we could talk our way back into the platonic state.  But first he and then I came to understand that we had reached the land of "No Exit".  Genies don't go back into bottles, we cannot deny what happened,  talking about it doesn't vaporize it, and of course, we have to accept why it happened.  There are hard, unwelcome facts here. So no going back.  

And those earlier barriers and impediments?  They are as real and as high as they ever were.

No way forward to a relationship; no way backwards to Plato.  The only thing left was the door.  Our friendship ended.  It is overwhelmingly sad and utterly inevitable.  Heartbreak.

Sometimes I hate being an adult.
Maybe I'll rethink it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Drinkers - Perhaps a Tattoo Warning

I am thinking of getting a tattoo.  Really.  I mean, I have an implanted defibrillator for shocks if the heart goes south, but somehow, I need another device to remind me not to have heavy drinkers in my life.  Perhaps a companion defibrillator?  Something that would deliver a shock if I find myself in their presence?

I stink at any type of relationship with heavy drinkers, and it is not for lack of experience or effort.  In our lives, we have elective people and non-elective people.  The non-elective ones are blood relatives; we have permanent relationships with them, regardless. Maybe clients and coworkers are non-elective people as well.  But geez - the elective people are everyone else - friends, lovers, acquaintances. All of them.  I had thought it was just an issue with lovers; but it's not - it is every single elective person.  I need a tattoo - no elective heavy drinkers.

I am reminded of a quote:  "Turning to a heavy drinker for emotional support is like going to a hardware store for bread.  It doesn't make much sense to get mad at the store; the question is why do I go there."  And the answer of course - these people (yes, particularly the men), are charming, engaging, charismatic and then I am an idiot.

And how do we define heavy drinkers?:

  •  I think the government says more that 14 drinks per week. And I can hear all my  drinking pals ask: "But how many ounces in a drink?" OR "Per week - you mean without the weekends, right?".
  • And how does the Rowan clan define a heavy drinker? : "Someone who drinks more than I do".
  • And me - how do I tell if someone is a heavy drinker? How the hell do I know? If I were good at this, I would not be in this mess.
Tatoo coming.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Is there such a thing as good loss?  We lose loved ones, we lose keys, we lose our looks, we lose pets, we lose our marbles.  This is a week of loss.  It seems I have lost a friend, always a sad turn of events. This one is particularly sad; it wasn't a notably complicated relationship, but it was invariably fun and engaging.  Well, truth be told, it was a little more complicated than that.  But it also was one formed in the aftermath of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA); I healed and learned to live with this in the context of that friendship.   It's just one of those twists and turns that life sends your way; life brings new friends and occasionally trips you up and sends one prematurely packing.  I wish it were different, but the circumstances of this demise are such that there is nothing I can do.

At least I didn't lose a heartbeat again.  I need always remember; everything is manageable so long as we don't lose that damn heartbeat.

Oh wait - there is good loss - I had an excellent weight loss week.  "There you have it" - I lost a friend, I lost my keys, I lost a book, I did not lose a heart beat and I lost a few pounds.  I think I'd trade for my friend back.