Monday, February 14, 2011

ICU Psychosis

My mom did not do so well right after the valve replacement surgery.  (FYI…presently she is doing very well even though she has a long way to go to recover fully) Physically she was in good shape....but she let her mind and worries get the best of her.  Anxiety attacks...that raised her blood pressure very high, dangerously high, after heart surgery.  She thought she was in immediate danger.  The trite, oft repeated phrase, my  perception is my reality comes to mind.  Her perception became her reality.  Because she thought she was doing poorly...she did do poorly.  So began the balancing act.  Calm her down with meds so she had no choice but to relax...sort of.  The meds, however, disoriented her to the point of paranoia.  It was a classic case of (another trite saying) damned if you do, damned if you don't.  It was not pleasant.  It was not fun.  It was kind of the straw that broke the camels back (another one.....!) and I was impatient with her. 

I spent hours and hours of time.....sitting.....bedside... aware that I would much rather be spending my two weeks vacation time sitting beach side (with her sitting there with me....sipping frozen strawberry daiquiris)  Or probably more to my liking...sitting at home, reading and typing and pondering.  Two weeks of that would be, for me, bliss.  But no...there we both were, logging another day in the Butler ICU.  At one point, as if reading my thoughts she said..."This has been a wasted day, hasn't it?"  "It's just been a day, Mom. It's fine, I'm are fine... everything is FINE,"

I lied. It wasn't fine.  I was tired...and cranky and homesick....and she was in the throes of recovering from open heart surgery.  She was obviously less "fine" than I was....but neither of us was "fine."

Coincidentally, at the time I was reading a book called "Living on 24 Hours a Day" by Arnold Bennett.  At some point, don't remember when, I downloaded it (for free) onto my kindle.  It was an old book, written in 1910...missing the copyright restrictions by a decade.  He describes time as the most precious of commodities.....

The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it.

You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!

No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive. Talk about an ideal democracy! In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say:--"This man is a fool, if not a knave. He does not deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter." It is more certain than consols, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste to-morrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.

I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not? barring death we all get the same amount of time in our day.  24 hours.  But there's the rub.  (another one of those sayings)

You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul.

And thus the anxiety of wasted time....

Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say "lives," I do not mean exists, nor "muddles through." Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the "great spending departments" of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be?

Which of us is not saying to himself-- which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: "I shall alter that when I have a little more time"? We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.

We are haunted, more or less painfully, by the feeling that the years slip by, and slip by, and slip by, and that they have not yet been able to get their lives into proper working order.

Yep...that's me.  I am keenly aware of time passing...almost to a point of preoccupation (bordering on obsession) with it.  I know I have a limited amount left here in this earthly realm...and want to spend it wisely since I have wasted vast years and years in the past.  Lost in my mind constantly getting the best of a mental state not that much different than my mom's as she teetered on the edge of what they call "icu psychosis."

Most of us do it....waste time in a state of self induced psychosis.  Sometimes we waste time by struggling against I've been doing for the past 10 or 12 days.  Rather than going with the flow (<<<<<) and walking in the spirit and trying to live in a state of awareness of his leading.  Another trite saying I've heard concerning time management with the focus on spiritual things (which is most definitely not the main focus of Mr. Bennett's book)

There IS enough time to do everything God wants us to do...when we follow his leading and focus on discerning what he wants us to do. 

I was listening to a Gary Sigler message on my way to the hospital the other day.  He said that the answer to every situation we find ourselves in is within us.  That would include how to use our time wisely, no?  If we go inside and seek God's leading...he will lead us. He is the ultimate "day timer."  Franklin Covey's 7 Habits...David Allen's Get Things Done System pale in comparison to God's time management program.  More on that in the next post.... 

PS…In this post, I’ve pointed out several trite and overused expressions.  That’s because I learned another new word in the 24 Hour book…and I’m going to, perhaps, turn it into a post.  The word? 



banal: repeated too often; over familiar through overuse

It occurs to me that many Christian catch phrases fit this description…and thought it might be a good topic for a post or two.  Whether I get anything written or not…only time will tell :_)

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