It’s been about a year since my pacemaker was installed. I wrote about that experience earlier. The writing wasn’t that great and it was difficult to articulate into words what I was really trying to say. Sometimes my thoughts just don’t make it to my fingertips when I try to write what’s going on in my head.
It’s been a long time since I’ve wrote in this blog. In fact, the last time I wrote it was the blog that I was just referring to. I think that blog frustrated me simply because I had so much trouble trying to explain what I was feeling. Well, I’m still basically feeling the same as I did back then with little improvement.
I’ve been wanting to write again for a few months. I’m hesitant because of the failure of my last blog on making much sense. However, writing seems therapeutic and healthy as I try to put my mind to paper.
I’m only 47 years old. Yes, still a young man. Early last year my wife and I received the news from a Cardiologist that I needed emergency surgery for an implanted pacemaker, otherwise, I would be dead within a year. I’m not going to write the history again on how we discovered this or the details of the surgery. The issue that I want to write on is the hollowness that has existed since my surgery.
It is a difficult subject to write about because it’s nearly impossible to describe. I’ve researched pacemaker patients and how they recovered post-surgery and it appears that I’m not alone. There are many articles and studies about post-pacemaker surgeries and the depression that follows. A majority of these patients receive anti-depressant prescriptions and some never recover and even become suicidal.
So what’s the big deal? It’s a simple pacemaker. I’ve even been told multiple times that I should be grateful that the Cardiologist discovered the problem and that I am alive today because of the pacemaker. Of course, I am grateful that the problem was discovered and that I’m alive today because of the pacemaker. But somewhere deep inside, hidden in my soul a poison has been growing.
I recognized this seed of depression a couple months after my surgery. My demeanor at home and work was becoming angry. My brain seemed to be working in slow motion, yet I was quick with disgruntled outbursts. I began to even notice some memory loss and I was constantly exhausted and tired. These behaviors began to have negative effects at work. As a manager, the daily tasks seemed to take their toll on me. After the threat of quitting three times to my manager in two short weeks, it became apparent that something was wrong. Why was I behaving this way? What has changed to cause these feelings of anger and depression?
The only big change in my life was that I now had a pacemaker keeping my heart alive. I decided to do research on the recovery process of pacemaker patients. That is where I learned that my reaction to the pacemaker was normal. Or possibly a better way to explain this would be my souls reaction to this pacemaker was common.
I discussed my depression with my family doctor. Luckily, he was familiar with what I was going through. He prescribed an anti-depressant for me and I’ve been taking them every day since. They are a huge help. However, this is where it is hard to explain. A better writer would be able to articulate this with more clarity but I’m going to do my best.
Prescription anti-depressants are great at covering up the poison that dwells deep in your soul. Prescriptions are for the body. These little pills feed the physical aspects of the problem and effect your outward nature. They help control the reactions and perceptions of your demeanor. The crazy way you exist with others is tamed and the appearance of health is disguised. But behind the whole portrayal of the new happy you lies the damaged soul within.
Somewhere beneath the flesh is your soul. Doctors, Cardiologist, psychologist, therapy, and all the drugs in the world cannot cure the poison that grows in your soul. In fact, nobody can define the characteristics that ultimately is the real you. When your soul has been disrupted in a manner that it doesn’t compute there becomes a space only to be described as hollow. An emptiness that you can taste. A hollowness that grips onto your throat and blankets your mind. The feeling of black. Maybe a dark marsh, or quicksand? All of these descriptions only touch the outer edge of the existence that is growing inside the soul. The lively soul that was once was, is seemly now exhausted and yearns for death.
The soul is the battery pack of your body. The flesh cannot live without it. The soul is your spiritual self. The temple of life. The gift of existence gracefully given by God. The body of flesh cannot live without the soul. The brain is a physical muscle tasked to keep the body of flesh functioning. The brain controls the emotions, reactions, and demeanor that the physical body displays. Hidden inside the body is the soul. The soul is the gift of life. The real you is the soul and the soul is the real you.
Prescription anti-depressants treat the body. They help sooth the brain and bring a balance to daily behaviors. Please, don’t misunderstand. Doctors, surgeries, prescriptions and even pacemakers are great. But how do I repair my soul? My soul is poisoned. My soul cries for help but nobody can hear it. My soul is drowning. It aches throughout my body and blankets my mind. Prescriptions mask the soul by presenting my body as healthy, but is there a prescription for the real me? The self-inside myself. The spiritual being in which I really am. The one that is hurting. The one that is lost. The one that has become hollow and quickly becoming empty.
Can a simple pacemaker create a barrier between the body and soul? It’s hard to believe but I can attest that this is indeed true. I know that my brain would like to control my heart. My heart is now controlled by a little electronic device and a battery. I believe there is conflict between my heart and brain due to this foreign object surgically installed in my chest. But strange as it may be, somehow, my soul seems to be effected as well. I cannot determine how or why, but know that it is the case. I’ll continue with my prescriptions and my behavior will be of good nature. Everyone will see that I am still around. I’ll crack jokes from time to time and laugh when I’m at the movies. I’ll love my family and be a good husband, father, and “grumpa”. But, all the while, my soul will remain hollow. My soul will always wonder where the prescription for it is?