Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Cure for Anxiety

At last.  Nine hours sleep last night, with the help of Ativan this time.  It works on "anxiety" so the dr. thought it would slow my mind down.  It could be anxiety, though, which is relieved four times a day when I take vital signs and don't have a fever.  Relieved every morning when I weigh myself and haven't mysteriously gained two pounds of water weight, which could mean the kidney was not working.  Relieved twice a week, when I go to my online chart and read my latest lab results.  Briefly relieved.  I suppose my anxiety will be less as I pass milestones, like the third month, then the first year.  The longer you keep the kidney without incident, the more promising it is.

I'm not afraid of dying, though I don't want to leave my family behind.  I am afraid of going back in the hospital, which is sort of unreasonable.  It's very uncomfortable and the food is awful, but years of zazen have taught me to put those things in perspective.  (And last time, Tom brought me some Chinese.)  What I'm more afraid of the dangerous kind of dialysis they'd have to do on me if the kidney failed.

A couple of years ago, I was forced to think about going on dialysis (which I did, and it ended in disaster due to really incompetent care), and applying for the transplant list.  I hated both ideas, so I got very interested in Art Buchwald.  At that time he had had a leg amputated, and was put on dialysis.  He did it for three weeks and then said, well, I can imagine what he said, but the point was, "I'm not doing this anymore."

He was told he would live only three weeks, so he entered hospice.  His friends visited him and brought him his favorite sandwiches, and they played poker.  He lived on another year - sounds like a good year, too.
I wrote about Buchwald, and about death, two years ago.

As to anxiety, I've had worse.  My level of what is called "general anxiety" was already high in 1997, had always been high.  That year I was diagnosed with cancer, and became almost paralyzed by the specific anxiety we call fear, and began meditating because there was nowhere else to turn.  You don't want to read about general anxiety in Wikipedia - it will make you come down with it.  But I note there that a major treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, which I had worked with, with limited success.  It seems to me now that it is an overly left-brained approach to getting in touch with reality.  It was probably a good place to begin though.  Many places are - the trick is to keep beginning.
[No picture today, but a short YouTube video that may make you laugh - the best cure.  I've momentarily forgotten how to put a video on my site, so here:

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