Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Operation today - out of control feeling.

grant me
to accept
the things
I cannot change
to change the things
I can, and
to know the

In a few hours I go to the hospital to have an operation. It will be an "out of my comfort zone" experience for me. I have visited hospitals frequently over the years, but never stayed in one. (Apart from an overnight stay in the Emergency Department once)  When I was a child I had two stays in hospital but I can barely remember them. I have reflected on my feelings over the last months and have come to the conclusion that my main concern is the feeling of being powerless and out of control.
Out of control prostate..
I have an enlarged prostate that seems to be getting bigger. If I am getting fat I can eat less and exercise more. I have some control. But I know of no exercise by which I can control my prostate. It has progressively caused me problems and brought on that "getting old" feeling. We have a stretched health system here so I have found that the visits to specialists have been rushed affairs. There's a waiting room full of people and a waiting list so the poor specialists treat, briefly talk and shove you out the door. I have not had a really good conversation with anyone. They just say, "We'll do (this) next." but nobody really sits down to explain. So for the last couple of years I have been battling symptoms which were getting worse and have not felt confident about my treatment. I am an ex-plumber. I like a cause and effect world and anything mechanical I pull apart to see how it works. I don't like this gland in my body which for no particular reason keeps enlarging. I want to understand it. I want to control it!
Today I'll be out of control...
I admit I am a bit of a control freak. I tend not to delegate because nobody can do stuff like I would want them to do. I get annoyed about things I cannot control. In the Serenity Prayer I really need "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." I do not like even being in a car that somebody else is driving. I used to get headaches on the shortest plane trip, I think because I felt out of control and vulnerable.  If there is one weak patch in the conversations in our marriage over the years, it has been me almost yelling at my wife, "Don't tell me what to do!"  There are many areas in my life where I feel I do not have control, I often feel squeezed into a mould but mostly I like to be in control. Today I go to hospital and I will have to hand over control. I am going to be doped and have unmentionable things done to me. I will be told when to eat and what to eat. I will be told when to stand and when to sit. I will have treatment others decide for me. Because of my complaint my "going to the toilet" will be controlled and monitored. The bits of paper say I will even have somebody assisting me to shower!  I will be told when I can leave the hospital.  I think it is that "out of control" feeling that scares me more than anything.
Get used to it....
I think to the scary thing is I have to get used to it. That is life as you get older. Things happen to your body and you cannot change them. On Saturday we had a coffee in a cafe attached to the local sports stadium and university gym. There are fit young people running past. I look at them and remember. I know that when I run these days after a few runs I have a sore knee. I will never run as freely as I used to run, I look on in envy.  I will still try running, more slowly, less frequently and gently, it is too good to give up completely. But here is another part of life out of control. M Scott-Peck suggested that this "letting go" process is one of the most important lessons in life. I know it is important in marriage relationships and in friendships. If you are going to sustain them in any real way you have to let people in and let go. I have learned that. We are all heading toward a final "letting go."  I see older people slowly letting go their big house, their possessions, their ability to drive and their control of life itself.  This "letting go" skill and the wisdom that goes along with it are an essential part of life. I guess today I will learn more about that process. I keep trying to tell myself, "Let go and trust others." Friends tell me, "You just have to trust them Dave, they know what they are doing." - yeah right? - Wish me luck.


Keith Harris said...

Thinking of you today, Dave. Kia kaha.

Linda Myers said...

Great opportunity to let go.

I'll be thinking of you.