Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This morning I got up around eight. I woke up around six something but thought I needed to get more sleep, for my health, the idea that I could catch up for lost time, which as an idea has been propelling me for some time, trying to get back to something I had lost instead of simply moving forward. Easier said then done. This could be the story of the summer or the entire year, a series of unfortunate events that has left me in a constant state of "why me?" Planning for failure and falling into the habit of waiting for someone or some thing to wrap its perfect wings around me. The few years before I moved to Indiana I had come to an uncommon place in my life, feeling content with not just where I was materially as an adult, a teacher and writer capable of taking care of myself (and two cats), but also as a person who had figured out, though a long course of trial and error, how to maintain a reasonable level of health and happiness.Yet now I am not so sure I actually had any answers, and am thinking this forced recalibration might be a good thing in the end.

These days I am tired of myself and my stories. So bored of eating my daily meat cake of anger and sadness. Do I have a right to be unhappy? I suppose, but then there is the rest of the world: my students and my studies, writing and hiking and making jokes with friends. There is loneliness and then there is the fan spinning above, the little clicking noise it makes and Jinx sleeping on one end of the couch. The noises of birds, bugs, and cars as they drive down Main. These things in the world that when I take care to see clearly shifts the attention away from my self, making a positive or negative sentiment just one more thing to set on the coffee table (or the internet) for display. On Saturday my uncle had a heart attack and by Sunday evening the date for his double by-pass heart surgery had been set. He's my father's only brother and an important person in my family and to me. His health has not been good for some time, living with diabetes and its long term impact: near blindness and a set of missing toes on one foot. But he has been there for us over the years, one of the funniest people I know, and especially since my dad went away, been looking out for my brother and sister and I in various ways for the last fifteen some years. At my dad's service in February there was no other person in the world I wanted to be sitting next to more than my uncle Jim.

So on Monday morning I cancelled my appointments and drove down to St. Joseph's in Lexington. I met my cousin outside the hospital and we sat with Jim in the afternoon. My sister flew in around five, and more family came until it was time to go to bed. I volunteered to stay with Jim through the night (we all did, but I insisted) until his surgery the next morning at 6AM, and everyone came back and saw him off before the procedure. The messages the doctors had been telling us were mixed, and we were all worried. Another Carter family medical emergency, and at this point we all know the drill. Jim was distressed, understandably, to be put under when there was a real possibility he would not wake up. It's hard to imagine what this feels like. But the surgery went well, and yesterday, Tuesday, by 6PM the news was good: his heart was working, though at reduced capacity, and he was waking up. It will be six to eight weeks before the doctors will know if his heart is strong enough for him to lead his normal, everyday life. So, for the first time in a while, the worst possible outcome did not happen. I had forgotten that was possible while I was dwelling deep in my wounded ego. Prelims are in six days and I'm glad that instead of going to a funeral and wondering what I could have done better, all I have to do this week is study rhetoric, teach a few students, play some softball (the tournament begins this week), and do some laundry. Onward,