10.17.2012

People Say Strange Things On Their Deathbeds

Disclaimer: there are some pretty candid and grim things in here, just a caveat.

For anyone that has read this blog or knows me a little better than the average person, by now you may know that I've had a couple of scary suicidal episodes. That's not me lifting my shirt to show you my 'war wounds' or me spilling my heart. That's a truth and because of it I have to live with certain things. I'll never take pride in any of the things involved in this struggle, nor will I ride my experiences as if they were a gimmick to get noticed by others. I'll simply put them in print so other diseased and broken individuals can look at my bleeding and say, "You too, brother?"

But if this tires you or does not apply to you, I advise you to go on your way.

Below are some excerpts taken from my medical report regarding my stay at the ER at Swedish/Edmonds Hospital 9/27 ("Pt" stands for "patient").

CHIEF COMPLAINT: Suicide attempt
Chief complaint quote: Pt states that he took 19 100 mg Fluvoxamine pills around 15:45.
EKG; Reason for order: Overdose
 9/27/12 17:45 - Mental Status: the patient's state of health is poor. Patient is awake, alert, cooperative and drowsy with an affect that is tearful and depressed.
9/27/12 17:50 - Pt reports that "I just don't feel like I have any value to anyone up here". Pt also states "I should have taken more." Per pt he recently moved to Seattle from San Diego after graduating college as a History major. Pt reports he wanted to move to the area and "check it out". Pt states he has no family in the area. Pt also states he has a supportive family back home and siblings in other states who are also supportive. Pt very tearful during and following initial assessment. 
VITAL SIGNS: Initial pulse was 118, this has come down to 88, blood pressure was 142/81, it has come down to 123/80.

You ever say things that you look back on later and wonder "What was I thinking when I said that?" Of course you do, because you're a fragile bag of organs and bones wrapped in skin and afflicted with faulty emotions just like me. In fact, if you don't wonder this daily, you probably need to get your arrogance levels checked - or you may be a mute.

When I got these records today, I read over them and shook my head - not in disbelief, mind you - but in remembrance. I remember saying those bold words printed on the report. However, I also remember being incredibly manic and clearly not in my right mind. To reiterate, I was quite resolved to dying. I parked in an overnight spot so as not to be rude to ER employees, enjoyed what I thought would be my last meal (don't ask what it was, it still makes no sense), watched a funny movie (because laughing is better than crying before death), and carried a suicide note of sorts that people would find when they found me.

Even in my lowest lows, I carried a propensity for a consideration of others that was inherently counter-intuitive to my intent. I can't blame myself for the way I was made but rather examine myself whenever I'm given the opportunity - and I was given an opportunity that Thursday.

The truth is, I can't believe I said those things while on that hospital bed. Here I am, three weeks later, fully aware of the fact that I tried to take myself away from a whole host of people and that there is value in my life. I know one doesn't necessarily spout statements entrenched in veritas when sitting on what they hope would be their last bed, but the fact remains that what I said was unfounded. I was simply too firmly in someone's grasp, and that someone was not God.

I'd like to say I live my life the best I can but I know that's a blatant lie. I'd like to say I take all the chances I should when I should, asking for help when it is appropriate and forging onward alone when the time presents itself. More often than not, I leave a trail of ruin and confusion in my wake, simply because I chose not to listen, not to see, not to trust.

An illustration, gleaned from a trip to McDonald's today (I know, these things can be a stretch):

While out with the little two-year old girl I nanny for, she had said that she wanted Chicken McNuggets for lunch. Knowing that McNuggets are pure gold to a child, I obliged and we went to the nearest McDonald's for lunch, equipped with a giant playground. Of course, we can't leave without her getting some running-around-kid-time, so I unleashed her on the playground and circled around the outside of it like the overly concerned pansy that I am.

Some observations.

The first thing she did was try to walk up the slide. I told her to go down instead because other kids wanted to come down, right as another, bigger kid ran up the slide in front of our eyes. When she ascended the multicolored platforms to the top, I stuck a helping hand as high as I could (without looking like an insane adult) to give her a boost to the higher levels, terrified every second that she would fall and break her cerebellum. I watched her go down the same slide 5 times, knowing there were better and higher slides further up, but she didn't know that. She asked me for help when she couldn't climb any higher, and I told her I couldn't come in because I was too big and that she would just have to go down on her own. A parent nearby looked at her and said "How did that little thing get all the way up there? That's amazing!" I of course instantly and undeservedly felt a sense of pride. That's right, she's a climber.

Then of course, the wondering began.

Is this exactly what God feels like when he watches our lives unravel below? When everyday people like you and me choose to suffer, choose to hurt, choose to break or spit in the face of those who don't deserve it? When we choose to utter words that have no right coming out of our mouths?

What do we when we are instructed to do things a certain way and then watch others do the blatantly wrong or wicked thing right in front of us? What do we when we get to a point in our lives when all we need is a slight boost from God to get somewhere we couldn't previously get to? How about when we choose to go down the same paths over and over without fail, unaware of the fact that just down the way lies a better, safer, and perhaps more thrilling destination? When we ask for the help we feel like we deserve but we don't get it because doing everything for us the way we expect would be way too easy for God to do? Does God feel pride when he looks at what we've accomplished, when he sees how high we get, how far we go, how bright we shine? Or do we take all of our accomplishments as our own?

I know, it was a trip to McDonald's with a two-year old. But good heavens, these were the things that were going through my head, in light of recent events. Put that up against what was going through my head as I ingested activated charcoal to purge my system of an overload of antidepressants several weeks prior, and the difference is a vast and stark one.

Too many times, I say things I have no right saying. Too many times, I hurt people who deserve nothing but love and grace. Too many times, I tear apart things that were a long time in building and feel no remorse.

Too many times, brothers and sisters.

Today I am alive because the words I said on that hospital bed were not allowed to hold weight. They have no place in my life because my life has been given over to someone that loves me unconditionally, regardless of how I feel about myself.

That weight still shakes me every time I go out the door and every morning when I wake up - because each morning that I do wake up is another chance to do what I was meant to do, more uncompromising proof of the fact that I woke up because I still have work to do and that the day I don't wake up means I'll have done what I was sent here for. Now I see it is not within my power to choose that day.

I hope it comes a long time from now.

JDS

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Still reading David Mitchell's Black Swan Green. It's ace.
What I'm excited for this time: the Bengals' second nationally televised game this weekend, band practice tonight, the Freelance Whales' show Sunday night.
Still listening to plenty of FW and BTBAM but I fell asleep to The Attic Sleepers and The Lighthouse & the Whaler last night. Check them out!


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