Distorted Sense of Time
How can something seem abrupt and yet it feels like you are watching it in slow motion?
That is what I am dealing with in regards to my brothers’ health problems.
I think I have figured it out. It is about awareness (opposite of denial), subconscious expectations, and time frames. If everything had occurred to one brother within this two-year period of time, holy crap, that would be abrupt as hell. But these are the health issues of three brothers.
I looked at the problems and saw that they are all long-term issues: heart disease, cirrhosis, and COPD. Mike’s cancer may have been sudden-onset. No one knows. But Dave and Bob’s problems are simply inevitable, given their lifestyle choices. But nobody ever talks about anything. We are going to pretend that Dave is not an alcoholic and that he probably doesn’t have cirrhosis like Bob.
The problem with denial is that reality has a nasty way of intruding and destroying the denial is the ugliest way possible.
My over-sensitivity to all of this comes from Barry’s death last year. I was stunned at the “suddenness” of his death for one reason only: when I asked point-blank about when to call hospice, I had been told by the nurse practitioner that that could be months down the road.” I was misinformed. Period. My expectations were built on bad information. That was the only thing that made Barry’s death seem sudden. In absolutely every other way, Barry’s death was a ridiculously slow downward progression. The nurse practitioner even said, “You know, Mr. Hoag, that not many people with Huntington’s live as long as you.” His response was, “Yeah, I know.” I kept him going for years after he would have died without me. I think he heard that and some part of his spirit may have said, “Yikes! What am I doing? How long do I want to stick around?” His brain wasn’t working real well by that time, but I think his spirit was wide-awake. He was gone nine days later.
One thing I have learned about health problems is that, if you have just one, you can work around it and live for decades with it. However, when there are multiple systems involved (like respiratory and/or lymphatic and/or urinary and/or digestive, etc.) things can go downhill at warp speed. The drugs that help this problem make this other problem much worse. The medicines don’t combine well. And, oh yeah, just about no medications combine well with alcohol. The systems cannot prop each other up and the downhill spiral can be astonishingly quick.
It just never occurred to me that my brothers would all start to have serious health problems at about the same time. I honestly don’t know what I expected. Things got very real very fast. If we just never talk about something, it must not be real, I guess.
Are things happening quickly in my family? Only if you’re in denial.