Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Failure is not fatal...

...but failure to change might be. - John Wooden.

Friday afternoon I was getting ready for lunch when pain struck me like a lightening bolt. It started on the right side of my chest and, in less than a second it spread up to my shoulder and down to my stomach. My ribs were imploding for all I knew. Each breath made the pain unbearable. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand. A cold sweat covered my brow. I am familiar with stomach, ulcer, liver, kidney and gall bladder pain but this was different. Soon I could no longer tell where the pain started and where it ended. Five minutes later, my right arm went numb. Few seconds later, half my face was tingling. The sensation of an invisible force pulling my cheek to my right ear put real fear in this dragon's heart. Words like stroke flashed in my mind as I tried, for the life of me, to get one deep breath and not fall to my knees.

I arrived to the hospital praying to the Higher Powers this time the doctors would not leave me lying in excruciating pain for hours before anyone shows mercy and comes to check me up, like last time. Prayers worked. Fifteen minutes only and I got a doctor and somewhere to lie down. After a very brief interrogatory, the doctor gave me an accusation look. She was upset because I confessed I knew I have a condition for several years now and I knew it required surgery. Scheduled surgery is always more recommendable than emergency surgery. Additionally, my condition demands for an extremely rigid and specific diet, and I said I ate something that is equal to poison for my liver. I was calling for trouble and I had it coming. Her eyes read "stupid negligence" all over me but her scolding was just one sharp sentence. "And you said you were keeping the right diet."

 It translated to "LIAR!" in my ears. Ouch! Now my honor hurts as much as my body.  By her instructions, I got an IV in my arm. Whatever stuff they put in it had a nearly immediate effect. Pain subsided faster than I expected but not the one of my conscience. While waiting for the blood test results to determine whether emergency surgery was necessary or not, I drifted in and out a restless sleep.

This is all my fault. I thought. The doctor's words, though brief, left me extremely ashamed and feeling like kicking myself. I shouldn't be here. This should have never happened.

My Inner Judge berated me as I overheard doctors talking and patients groaning on the other side of the curtain. I have been here before. I don't want this. How come after all my  hard work last year I ended up in an hospital again?

Two years ago my health issues reached their worst point. I spent 90% of the time in bed. I had surgery due to a benign tumor but tests revealed I needed a second surgery. Yet my future didn't look any brighter even if I went through it. All the opposite. While traditional medicine fixed one thing, it kept screwing two, or more. Should I follow that path, I would end up feeding on dew and cosmic juice. I sought naturist alternatives that helped me without surgeries. I worked hard for a whole year. I exercised, I became vegetarian and a veggie juice expert. I felt healthier than ever before. And then I made the biggest and most common mistake in the world.

Once healed, I thought I could drop the hard work and still stay healthy. I wanted to be free to live a "normal" life. A life where I could do whatever I wanted without consequences. I forgot healthy people do work hard to stay healthy. I overlooked the fact that Cause-Effect is an universal law. How convenient.

Right there on a bed in the ER, the Higher Powers smacked me with an embarrassing revelation. People - and some dragons- often want everlasting effects from one single effort. I want the perfect cure that keeps me healthy forever, regardless me eating greasy virgin snacks or quit exercising. I want the perfect dream that guarantees me permanent happiness, even if I do nothing to keep it afterwards. I want to win the lottery so I devote my time in spending the money, trusting somehow it will reproduce itself. I get one motivation marathon and I expect to stay forever motivated. If it doesn't have an everlasting effect, it doesn't work. Maybe, just maybe, the one who is not working to make it everlasting is me, the dragon.

But I worked hard and it wasn't a day!! I excused myself. If there is an Inner Judge, there has to be an Inner Lawyer. I sweat and cried and bled a whole year to get healthy. I deserved a bit of a reward!

And you had it, the Judge answered, in your health. Health, happiness, peace, creativity, wealth, success... the only way to make them everlasting is by working on them every single day because the only permanent thing in this life is change.

Later, the doctor discharged me with a warning. I escaped surgery but I failed to myself. I must change to get back what I lost. I also need to remember once I have it, it will last only as long as I work to keep it, just as everything else does.

At the lack of further inner argument, I rest my case.


This post is part of the Insecure Writers' Support Group, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can find the list and join HERE. Also visit the IWSG site HERE.

67 comments:

  1. Oh Father Dragon - I am so very glad that you were given a sharp reminder, not a permanent lesson. Hugs.

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    1. I am glad too. Hugs back at you!

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  2. You had a lot of people praying for you Friday night. A blessing you didn't have to go through surgery. Now, a lot of us will be kicking your butt to keep to your diet and exercise!
    Success isn't a one time effort. It's a lifetime commitment.

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    1. And I believe those prayers were very helpful indeed.
      Yes I know I will get it on Friday. I'm ready.

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  3. I'm not sure whether to kick your butt or hug you.
    Regardless, we all make mistakes, Father Dragon. I am guilty of this myself.

    For now, I'll hug you. I make no promises about Friday, though. :P

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    1. You have from here to Friday to choose which implement of torture you'll use. :)
      Dragon hugs back at you.

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  4. You need to take care of yourself!

    It's like doing the dishes - it always needs to be done.

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  5. Stay off the greasy virgin snacks! I entirely sympathize with you, having fallen off my own wagon in the past year as well. (though without the scary trauma you endured) It's tough to keep at the regimentation. It seems unfair. Where's the reward? You discovered the answer, my dear friend. It is in continued health...a revelation which has escaped me as well. Thank you for sharing this. I'm sure you will wake up many people with your story (including me). You now have many feet about to plant themselves on your butt. ;)
    Bolitas! If you can't have coffee we will have herbal tea. To the mountain!

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    1. To the mountain at whole speed....wait, no. On second thought, to the mountain at reasonable speed, easy pace sort of.
      I'm glad it comes to be useful for someone, mostly one of my dearest friends.
      I think I'll have a sip of coffee. Just a sip. :)

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  6. That was one major wake up call, Father Dragon. So glad you attended to it and are minding the beautiful "temple" you have in that body of yours. Whatever you do, steer clear of River's punch. But you know you should, so I don't have to remind you. Sending a hug on IWSG day.

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    1. Tsk, tsk, Lee. It's not nice to diss Jezebel...

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    2. Oh! Dwarves told me the punch had healing properties, so you mean that's not true? Bummer!

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  7. That certainly put the fear of mortality in you, didn't it? Yes, it's so natural to want to just live *normal* like everyone else and yes, it's hard not to be resentful when you can't. Your normal isn't what everyone else has and you have to pay attention to it. Reality sucks sometimes.

    Glad you came away from this alive and with the heavenly reminder that being healthy is a series of daily choices.

    Take care Al!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. Oh, Sia! My weakest point is food. I've always said one of the greatest pleasures in life is to eat. Yes, it's hard for me, but I have little choice. I must face the truth of my life with a smile.
      Dragon Hugs!

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    2. I hear you! Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, as is anything that strokes the senses. :-) But, I tell you a secret from hard experience, pain is a great motivator. There are things I can't eat or if I do, has to be once and a great while, and in very small portions.. I find other things that satisfy those particular cravings and train myself to enjoy them instead. I don't think about all I can't have and concentrate on those I can. I also find that variety is a key to being satisfied. Hang in there. Hugs back at you!

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  8. Oh no! Take better care of yourself. I know busy people hate to take the time, but you must. We need the love and support of our dragon!

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    1. A dragon must do what a dragon must do. I am working on the adjustments but you'll know everything about it. Thanks a lot! Dragon Hugs!

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  9. When I first heard of your hospital goings, our thoughts were with you right away (in case you didn't know, I read your posts aloud to my family). I'm seeing the consequences of my poor health choices appearing, and am taking strides to fix that, if it's not too late (I may want a peek at your juice recipe book). Take heart, Sir Dragon. And may health find its way beneath your scales. :)

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    1. No, I really didn't know. It is a nice surprise and I'm honored to know you share my posts with your family. I hope you find something useful in them.
      It is time to look after our bodies then, Sir David. I'll be glad to share recipes with you and may both be healthy. A dragon Hug!

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  10. First, I want to thank you for the heartfelt comment on my post. You were right on the target.

    I was unaware of your problems Friday evening. Where were people reading about this????? I am so glad that you had all of that prayer and support flowing your way.

    I know that you feel like this was a major setback or a huge failure. Our inner voices can slice viciously with their words. I think that this was a reminder. You know what you have to do to be healthy. You know you can do it, because you have done it. And you now know that you must continue to do it if you want to stay healthy.

    I have faith in you. I know that you can do this.

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    1. I hope you found something useful in my comment, Robin!
      To your question, it was on Facebook. I wrote a telegram type of note that I was on my way to the hospital.
      Yes, I know what I have to do. I know it is possible so it's just matter to get to it.
      Thanks for the vote of confidence. Dragon hugs!

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  11. I'm sure we can all relate to wanting a "normal" life where we get to do whatever we want, fortunately and unfortunately . . . we quickly get reminded that it's just not possible. I'm sorry you had to go through that, but I'm glad it was just a warning . . . a timely one that reminds you to keep taking care of yourself, even if it's hard work. It is worth it because YOU are worth it. HUGE dragon hugs, Al. You can do this, and I know you will. :)

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, S.K! What is normal anyway? Better be healthy than being normal, ;). Besides, I'm a dragon, I can't be normal. :D. Dragon Hugs!

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  12. Yes, Father Dragon, it's important to stay on track - life altering even. But you are way, way to hard on yourself. Come on, you ate one thing that wasn't healthy and it sent you into pain so excruciating you could hardly breathe? You don't deserve that, not one fraction of a second of it. We are all allowed to slip now and again, even the most nearly perfect of dragons. So I say, go easier on yourself. Med professionals can be very callous. You needed compassion and assurance you weren't going to die, not scolding. That's the last thing you needed. Take care of you. But let yourself be a human dragon; that's the best kind of self care.

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    1. I'm kind of obsessive compulsive perfectionist. Not much. Just a tiny bit too much. ;) I make my best not to get in the wrong switch but sometimes it's difficult. I'll take better care of myself, though. Thank you, Robyn!

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  13. Oh Father Dragon, I totally understand what you felt and I'm sorry that you suffered the way you did. I'm glad you got only a 'warning' this time. As much as I'd like to be as I was three years ago, I finally had to admit that I will never be the same and I have to adjust accordingly and learn to love the 'same but different' me.

    It is hard sometimes Father Dragon. I really don't want to have to get in line behind everyone else here to kick your butt with my good side. It would take too much energy. :) I hope you feel better very soon. I'll be thinking about you, and I'm an email away if you need to vent to someone who knows. Hugs, Eva

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    1. I really appreciate that, Eva, both the not getting in line to kick me and the offer of a shoulder to vent. I'll keep it in mind and I offer you the same, should you ever need a dragon shoulder.
      It's nasty when we learn the hard way but nastier when we can't make it right to the way it was before. Be well. Dragon Hugs!

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  14. So glad to hear you are all right! I think so often we have these revelations about health, and make big promises to do better (I know I do) and think of it as a big thing, a big change. But really, living healthy is not a big change, it is a lot of tiny changes, many small decisions, made every day. Good luck fighting the daily battle :)

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    1. It is considerably easier to think on small daily changes than a monumental change all of a sudden. The best way to do it is step by step. No one says it's easy but it is possible. Thank you, Amelia. :)

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  15. Father Dragon you've been through a trial by fire Man. The key is to learn from it and keep burning I guess. That, by the way, is one of my favorite quotes from Ziglar.

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    1. It's becoming one of my favorites as well, so now we have something in common, Maurice. Hahaha. As Gandhi said, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." Let's learn and keep living. Dragon Hugs!

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  16. So glad you didn't have to go through surgery and that you have found renewed motivation. Take care dear Dragon.

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  17. Everything has a price. It's hard to be good all the time. I know you'll get back to it. You just needed a kick in the drawers :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. Hahaha, a good way to put it. Yes, indeed. It's hard to be good but if we must then we must.

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  18. I SOOOOO FEEL YOU PAIN and FRUSTRATION, FD. I have reoccurring health issues too. The microsecond I let my guard down, I get bit in the butt. In order for me to keep fit and keep my weight down I have to watch every SINGLE thing in my diet. I've given up sugars, starches, bread, wheat, PIZZA, deserts, you name it, for MONTHS at a time. I get FURIOUS when I see everyone I know eating everything and anything they want. Drinking alcohol, celebrating holidays, living life. Not me. I am an observer. I am there, but can't partake. If I do, the pounds will follow and then my arthritis will flare. So this is mine and your cross to bear. Sad as it may seem. Just remember YOU are NOT ALONE.

    To add insult to injury, I enjoy baking so much. It relaxes me. And what's more incredible, I have an innate talent for it. So yesterday I baked two dozen orange/chocolate chip buttermilk scones, and give some to friends and freeze the rest. Yes, I had a bite. But that's it. Now nothing for a few weeks. Today I plan to bake chocolate chip yogurt and banana coffee cake. In the FREEZER it goes.LOL. Yes, I must love to torture myself. But I do enjoy it so. Plus natural baking is SO MUCH healthier than buying store bought. NO chemicals, I use a FRACTION of sugar and most of the ingredients I use are organic. So at least I know there really is nothing to poison my system. I just need to be careful of weight gain.

    Be kind to yourself and remember this is part of your every day life. Try to come to terms with it. You'll be a much happier dragon if you feel well.

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    1. Maybe you should consider the idea of opening a bakery. That way you'll be able to bake a lot and you'll also get money from it. I've been thinking on cakes and cookies all day long and it is entirely your fault, hahaha.

      I'm taking it easy. I'm making my best try at least. I have to remind myself that one indeed feels happier when feeling well. Being in pain is no fun at all. One day I'll fly with my dwarves over your house and try one of those cakes. I hope you'll have the strength to make that many. ;)

      Dragon Hugs!

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  19. I'm glad you're doing better, and that you avoided emergency surgery. This is a timely post for me--last year, I was doing a good job of eating right, but with the stress and bustle of the holidays, I went back to my old habits. I know I need to get back on the wagon, and your post is a good reminder that success is its own reward!

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    1. I'm glad you found it useful. We all need a reminder from time to time. Dragon Hugs!

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  20. Thank you for sharing your life-flashing-before-you-eyes experience. I sincerely hope to NOT read another post like it!

    A few years ago when I was battling with post baby weight gain (about 50 pounds) I had complained to my doctor's nurse that working full time doesn't give me time to exercise. She told me something that really woke me up. She said, "No one is going to take care of you better than you. Make the time, in the early morning, late at night, during lunch, whenever. You're worth the sacrifice." She changed my life.

    Try to take it day by day. Did I shower? Check. Did I brush my teeth? Check. Did I eat a healthy breakfast? Check! Did I exercise? Check!!! It's all a part of the everyday maintenance of you. You're totally worth the sacrifice!

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    1. That's actually a very good idea, the checklist. I should be doing one because I am very forgetful. Step by step, day by day, it is always easier. Thanks!

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  21. Being healthy is hard work, and I am lax at it more often than I care to admit. Be well Dragon Heart. You voice is precious here.

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    1. My dear Donna! Thanks for your words that are like a comforting hug for this dragon. Dragon Hugs!

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  22. Definitely had Father Dragon in my prayers...all week. We all slip when it comes to our health, especially when we're feeling so good! Take care.

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    1. And I really appreciate that with all my dragon heart. Thank you very much. You take care too, Cathrina. Dragon Hugs!

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  23. I was saddened and yet heartened. You know what to do, my friend. I hope to see you feel even better. Listen to your inner child and listen to the wisdom. I know of chronic pain. I also know I do my best to keep it under control.

    In peace and hope,

    Gary

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    1. Gary, thank you very much. The good thing about all this is that yes, we know the right path and we know what works best, AND we never give up, right? Dragon Hugs!

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  24. After what I've gone through these last two weeks, I really do sympathize with you Father Dragon. I too, have worked very hard to get to where I am physically and to have my appendix decide it was time to come out right when I'd gotten to where I felt I'd really worked hard to get to, well, it did put a damper on me, on my belief in myself and what I'd done. Though I couldn't really control the appendix thing, I do understand about beating yourself up about taking things for granted. I am going to, as my niece used to say "Watch an eye" on myself and my expectations about my body and my health, as well as my writing, thanks to you and your terrible scare. So, if it can be any comfort, I'm listening to your story as well and taking it to heart. Thank you for sharing...

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    1. Believe it or not, it IS comforting that my experience serves as a reminder for others to keep an eye on their health as well. You take good care of yourself too. Dragon Hugs!

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  25. Thank you for sharing so intimately with us. I'm so sorry for what you had to go through. I, too, struggle with many health issues, and have to be very careful what I eat and how much activity I put my lungs through on any given day. How I feel the next day depends on it. It's very hard to do.. I look around at "normal" people and feel jealous that they can just do whatever they want, eat whatever they want, go wherever they want, exercise hard, whatever it is that I can't do.
    Thanks for reminding me that it's a daily choice to keep ourselves healthy, and it's our responsibility no matter how tedious it gets. Hang in there Father Dragon, you are helping a lot of people by sharing and caring and being honest. You are appreciated and loved. {{{{{{{hugging carefully, so neither of us gets hurt ;-) }}}}}
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

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    1. HUGE Dragon Hugs, Tina!! It is really great to find so many that understand my situation. I'm really encouraged by all of you, your words and support.

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  26. Staying motivated is a hard thing. I constantly fall off the wagon. But we must keep hopping back on. You're a brave dragon to share this with us. Your story motivates me. I hope by knowing that I can, in turn, motivate you. Thank you and more hugs!

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    1. Dragon Hugs back at you, Christine. Yes, indeed, it motivates me to work harder and with renewed enthusiasm. :) Thank you.

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  27. A harsh truth, that is: "the only permanent thing in this life is change"... Some old knights don't much care for constant change. (temporary change too sometimes). So, rest ye well, for not seeing my favorite dragon is one change this knight definitely doesn't want. And I'm very glad and relieved there was no immediate need for surgery.

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    1. Yes, changes and changes and here the challenge to adjust to them because it's the only way to make it. I'll make my best to take good care of my dragon self, Sir Jeff. Dragon Hugs!

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  28. Aloha Al,

    I just finished the goals when I read your comment and I was like... what happened?

    Now, I have just read your post and I am shocked - and *relieved* - to hear about your latest health scare.

    Obviously, you have my best wishes for your immediate return to full health and my prayers that you continue on the path you know is the right/healthy one.

    A walk of a thousand miles begins with a single step... (as Zen said) and now you can change it to 'begins with a single meal."

    PS.. I will share with the group next Friday, but your post is a *very* timely one for me, so THANKS for sharing... :)

    Take care, my friend :)

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    1. Good one, Mark. I'll keep repeating that Meal by meal, hahahaha. I'm glad you also found it useful! Dragon Hugs!

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  29. So glad you came out of it with 'only' a slap in the face. (You scared me for a moment there.) But I don't think this entire thing is only your weakness. When things are going great, we all slide back into the easier way to do things - human/dragon nature. Well, now you know. Here's wishing you the best to getting things back into line and keeping them. I'm sure several of us on here will be more than willing to help remind you how important it is if you need it ;) We don't want to loose our father dragon.

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    1. Since I have a rather forgetful mind, I'm sure I can use the reminders. Dragon Hugs!

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  30. It IS hard work. Perhaps health scares exist to remind us how important taking care of ourselves is.

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  31. Hey Stranger!

    Yes, it's a job. Life is a job. Nobody gets out of it alive. BUT...with the hard work and dedication, we can live healthy, full lives.

    Still trying to quit smoking. Wish I had your resolve. I have a doctor's appt. today, and he'll probably ride my arse about it. I do what I can and keep trying.

    Miss seeing you. :)

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  32. I'm so far off the wagon of a healthy lifestyle that the wagon is in the next state over. *sighs* But this is an important reminder: being healthy is a LIFEstyle, not just a WHILEstyle.

    I hope you're doing better, my dragon friend! *hugs*

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  33. I was thinking of you. I'm glad you're OK. Normal is relative. You have to look at what you gain over what you lose. It's all about attitude. Do what you have to, to make your normal a beautiful thing.

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  34. I have been thinking of you and praying. Hope all is on the mend, and that you can get back to the good work of exercise and diet. I just had a wake up call last week and now I'm eating super bland food, drinking extra fluids, and I'm on killer antibiotics. Unfortunately, I'm not supposed to exercise at all for another week at least. Anyway, let's both get better and be healthy, ok?

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  35. Hi Al - I'm glad you pulled through this .. and the ideas and thoughts your friends and you have put forward - may well jerk many of us out of our own lethargy .. and get on with taking care of us. Amazing how important we are - yet we seem to wander along the path of just living without taking care ... we look after the car .. but us?!

    Doing dishes and checklists - such sensible ideas .. I have a habit of getting other things right and then getting down to me - I am at this point now .. so I shall start improving my health - before issues arise ... there's no point in having an active brain if the rest of the bod is inactive and mostly incapable - which it isn't .. but I don't want to go that route.

    I am sorry you had to experience this .. but I'm sure for you and for many of us - you've given us all a wake up call ...

    Take care and look after yourself as best you can .. cheers to the Dragon's Den - Hilary

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  36. I am late reading this post. The storms around here have played havoc with Internet connection. Take care of you. No one else will do that but you. I've had small things pop up like high blood sugars-small things that reminded me that I am not invincible. Nothing compared to what you are going through by any means. I hope you feel better real soon.

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