Powered By Blogger

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I sit in a wooden chair beneath our crab apple tree.  The sky is blue, blue as my own eyes.   Breezes carry the scent of new mown grass and crab apple blossoms.  The last of the magnolia blooms unfold like pink tea cups on pale saucers.   The day’s only sounds are the far-off drone of lawnmowers, the squeals of children playing in the neighbours’ yards, and the plump buzz of gold and black bees as they heave over clumps of violets.   On the next street, I hear car doors open and close, open and close at a garage sale with “items too numerous to mention”…items now noticed and mentioned and sold.
All around me, life repeats its endless cycles.  And inside of me too, life cycles.  Life happens and changes…everywhere it is the same.   But, I can’t concentrate.   My mind wanders.   I fret.  I worry.  My brain buzzes like the bees.   I can’t stop it.
I am part of this cycle of life.  I began and I will end.  In between, I live and I am.
At 62, I am closer to my end than to my beginning.  I don’t give much thought to the end, to my mortality, not usually.  Perhaps, I believe it is a long way off and so avoid thinking about it yet.
Of late, I am mindful of my age.  I am aware of degenerating discs, of back pain, of decreased energy, of chest pain and aging.  Yes, aging.  
Well, on Thursday, I spent the day, eleven hours of it in the Emergency Department hooked to monitors, and received X-rays, three sets of blood tests and ECG’s.   Then, after being so scared, breathes of relief; there was no heart damage. 

The doctor and I both believe the chest pains are a reaction to the anti-inflammatory pills that I am taking for my back.  The chest pains and nausea and weariness and pressure are likely not heart problems.   But just in case, I am booked for a Stress Test on Tuesday morning, first thing.   Just in case a partially clogged artery is sneaking up on me.  Likely, all is well.  But I am a worrier.  So doubts nibble at the edges of my mind.
I will heave sighs of relief on Tuesday after the test, exhale all my worry.  Then, the doctor and I will have to figure out the other possible causes for this chest pain and pressure and nausea.  Perhaps, it is something as simple as indigestion.   But, for now, “What if’s” plow through my head, creasing my mind with fretfulness, make it hard to be calm or to think.
I struggle to see the positives and the bright spots.  I stare at the dappled shade on my page as I write.  I see the shadows of the crab apple tree dance with the sunlight, the dark and the light together on my page.  Dark and light, these opposites are part of the natural world, part of the cycle of life, part of me.
Shadows and sunlight, pain and joy, worry and relief, vulnerability and reprieve are part of me and part of the cycle of my life.  Life happens and changes, carries me along with it…vulnerable and hopeful, frightened and joyful.
I sit in my wooden chair beneath the crab apple tree and I focus on life.  I focus on birdsong and bees, the sunshine and the peace of this afternoon.  I am glad to be alive, to be.  I am glad to be alive now, alive here, on this sun-blessed afternoon, grateful for this gift that is my life. 
And I hope my life, the life still ahead of me, contains joys and sunny days too numerous to mention.

Photos are mine.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm sorry to hear about your health problems, Carole. I hope the tests can find out what is wrong and that it's nothing serious.

Meanwhile enjoy the bees and the birdsong!

jerilanders said...

Carol, the thoughts you express here have mirrored my own of late. I am close to 60 and never before have I thought so much of aging and how it is affecting my body, my mind, my attitude. I suppose a frightening experience, as you had, puts it all into perspective. This is a beautifully written piece.

Carol Steel said...

Thanks CGP. The tests has shown that I have no major heart problems. That's a relief and now we'll explore to see what else might be causing the pain. Feels good to have the worst possibility eliminated. Thanks for your note.

Carol Steel said...

Dear Jeri,
Thank you for your kind comment. Sometimes aging isn't much fun at all, a matter of learning patience and humility, also gratitude for what is still working well. It was a bad scare for me and will change some of my health care routines. Thank you for your comment on my writing.

Jane Tims said...

Hi Carol. I am sorry you had to go through this ordeal, but if it tells you your status, it will be worth it. I am sorry you had to take the stress test... I didn't realise how fast those treadmills go (faster than I can!). Your post is beautiful, especially the metaphor, image and photo of the dappled light. You are focused on the right things! Very well done post! Jane