Since Sunday, I have been feeling fatigued. It is simple to describe: On and off feelings of profound fatigue or weariness. That description does not include mental fatigue, the type where I sit at work and ask what I am doing? I have compared such fatigue to being listless, drained, too tired to walk, and too tired to think. A cancer patient was so lethargic that she sent an email canceling her treatment appointment, to which her physician called, stating her body required fluids. “Ah,” I wondered aloud, “Maybe I require fluids.” However, upon seeing several empty bottles of ‘Ice Mountain’ natural spring water (or so they say), I quickly doubted my conclusion. I know what ‘it’ (the symptoms) meant, but I have been so adept at postponing anything relating to dying that I put it out of my mind.
There is no denying nature’s biological clock. Having been around clinicians for 15 years, I know when specific body parts start to decline. The brain begins aging at 20, as does the lung. The intestines go beyond prime at 55, while functional bladder issues start at 65. The voice begins aging 65, the eyes at 40, as does the heart. The live craps out at 70, but strangely, the kidneys go south at 50. The prostate hits a peak at 50, while teeth reach prime around 40. Muscles start to waste 50, hearing at mid-50 slowly, taste and smell begin fizzling at 60, and heart at 40. Each decline can bring a plethora of issues, and sometimes, they gang up on you all at once, to f*** you over but good. I acknowledge all these quirks God created, but that does not mean I like it.
I never broke down in a bought of tears. I never lost my composure. But I have (more recently than in decades prior) commented to God that living through this journey has become uninteresting, that I would instead like to check out. The building’s security guard sensed my pain as I strode past for my evening checkout. “You need that Omega 3 oil,” an unsolicited offer I did not request. He is a wonderful older gentleman who’s been telling me for months that all I need is ‘Omega 3 oil.’ I do not, but he thinks I do. Last night, a friend recommended acupuncture. “Acupuncture is supposedly a wonderful medical tool,” she exclaimed. “We can go together?” I passed. A few weeks ago, I was offered CBD Oil. (More on that in another post.) I know the statistics, been there, have memorized them well. People tell me I am not a statistic, but I know differently.
People willing to claim I am not a statistic also offer other power of positive thinking quotes such as, ‘There’s always hop,’ ‘Be positive,’ or ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ I know I am not a number on Parkinson’s hitlist. I don’t believe Parkinson’s is that self-aware, “Hey, Mr. 1,978,245,630, you’re next up for slow death.” I believe in myself. I do. But I also intuitively know my body is beginning a slow shutdown. My story is not unlike any others in history. We all die. It’s just a matter of how.
I’m getting sicker. I know it; my body knows it. My disease(s) is chronic. Neither Parkinson’s nor cardiomyopathy is going away. I secretly believe both are in a contest to see which kills first. At best, I can only postpone the ending. Former Cardinal Chris Duncan (who died at 38) phrased it best. “I know I can’t beat this. But hopefully, I can stand in the batter’s box and foul-off a whole lot of fastballs before the umpire calls me out.” And that’s my goal. In truth, whatever treatments offered is my feeble attempt to “foul-off enough fastballs before being called out.” Fouling-off pitches are not the worst thing that will happen.
What haunts me is that God knows how flawed I am, that all the bad relationships I’ve chosen throughout the decades have left scars I have failed to see. I wanted to find someone and just feel embraced in love. At this point, I think it’s something only God can offer, for I sense the great umpire (i.e., my body) is about to say, “Sssssttttttrrrriiiiiiikkkkkeee three. You’re out.”