Farewell 2021, Hello 2022

I come not to praise the year that was; yet, I shall not condemn. At least not completely.

On a purely personal level, one could see it as a flaming train wreck. Various automotive and other issues were there. I was hit by lightning in June and ended up having emergency open heart surgery in October, quite likely as a result of said lightning strike. There were cognitive issues that went with the lightning strike, and while those are dealt with for now, there are unfortunately good odds that there will be further cognitive and/or neurological issues. Then, there’s the whole being out of work since mid-October.

Looked at another way, however, it was a year of miracles large and small. In March, I switched jobs and found myself in a place where they actually liked me and were glad I was there; and, I got to make use of prior knowledge and experience to have fun and help our customers. So much fun that I even was made employee of the month at one point. When all the fun with my health started, they have been very good to me and have let me know that if possible they want me back.

I survived being hit by lightning. A secondary strike it is true, but it was an electrifying experience that had good odds of killing me. While it most likely led to the cardiac problems I’ve experienced, it may have been for the best. One of the theoreticals discussed is that it may have “activated” something dormant or building and forced it out into the open. Even if not, the fact that I was getting cardiac care allowed a suddenly rapidly deteriorating situation to be identified and care sought.

That care quite literally saved my life. My “quick” visit to the ER turned into an admission, a heart cath the next day, and open heart surgery the next. Again, while the odds were good, when you have multiple things going on it can and does change those odds. To my mind, it is another miracle that I survived and that I am healing as well as I am. For all I will complain about the slow pace, know that I do realize just how well and fast things are going. Compared to even five years ago, it is amazing.

So, while 2021 was in many ways a barely warm buffet of fat warty hairy suckitude leftover from 2020 — and that will NOT be missed — I have to look at it as the year I was in many ways reborn. The thing is, miracles and getting another chance do come with some obligations. I do feel there is something I am supposed to do, possibly more than one. I wish that such things were clearer, as I tend not to get subtle. Keep in mind, it took a lightning strike to start getting and holding my attention…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve spent the last few years, quite a few in fact, trying to rebuild my life. 2021 saw an abrupt end to the life that was, and in many ways provides a clean start. I think that is one of the things I am supposed to take advantage of…

Before 2021, the major medical issue in my life, aside from allergies, was arthritis and related inflammation. Both shoulders are, eventually, going to need replacement or real regenerative medicine. Given all I’ve done, including jumping out of perfectly good airplanes a time or two, my hips and knees are in fair shape, though my lower back seems to be trying to make up for that. The cold and humidity up here are not good for me, and sudden pressure changes can be literally crippling.

I’ve been advised to move to a warmer climate for a year or two now — including by doctors — and I think it’s time to make that happen. The recent surgery and such has made me feel the cold like I never have before. Given all, the desert Southwest has been rather strongly recommended and I need to go visit for a bit to explore options and get things in place so I can move out there. It’s also time to quit with the ‘pain and suffering are good for the soul’ thing and get the orthopedic mattress also recommended a while back.

The financial issues that have been more than a minor impediment go back a number of years. Let’s just say that while parts of that were my fault for bad decisions (getting talked into helping start yet another charity was not a good one), having a false diagnosis of cancer followed a couple of years later by a botched colonoscopy made life far more interesting than it should have been. The former came from someone making a diagnosis on the basis of a visual exam, not pathology, but they were backed up by an oncologist who declared that the first person had the experience to make such a claim even before doing a cursory exam. Net result, I stepped down from a job to deal with this, and after getting to a real doctor who did a surgical procedure and proved via pathology that I did NOT have cancer, had to take a lower-level job to get by. That job went away in the aftermath of the botched colonoscopy (among other things, my manager had not wanted me to have the colonoscopy to start with), which resulted in something lower paying to get by yet again. It seemed like each time I got to a position where I could start to move up and/or rebuild, the stuffing got knocked out of me.

This time does not feel that way, despite the fact that I am still out of work and likely to be out into or through February. Why? I’m not sure of all the reasons. One is that I do feel guided. Another is the incredible generosity from people hitting the tip jar here and offering up prayers for me. I honestly feel that without both, I might not have made it this far. Just as it took me a while to accept that I needed help with my health, it has taken me a while to realize I need help to start over. Accepting help is not one of my strong points, but just as I had to accept the help of nurses and others to stand, walk, and do the basics of life in the hospital until I was able to do them on my own again, I need the help of others to stand back up and get into position to do all the things I am supposed to do with this new life. Not easy. Scary. On more levels that I want to admit. But, I think getting into a better place (on every level) is part of what is intended for me to do in 2022.

So, don’t be surprised to see a fundraiser started in the next few days. Contribute if you will; if you want to help but don’t want to do that, feel free to hit the tip jar at the top of the page. Also, as always, prayers are most welcome. I’m praying for that which is right to be, and I hope you will too.

Meantime, I will not mourn nor miss 2021. I simply hope that 2022 builds on the good that did happen in my life in 2021 to take me where I need to be, and to do that which I need to do. I wish I better understood what it is I’m supposed to do, but I also have faith that I will be shown. Hopefully without another lightning strike to get my attention.