Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ego And Biking Trips

In 1971 I took a solo bike trip from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Daytona Beach, Florida; a close to 2000 miles (3000km) ride. I ate meat for the last time the day I set out and paid respects to every cow I saw on the way. There are a lot of cows between ND and FL. My parents had told me I would die if I didn’t eat meat. I didn’t die, and as I was stronger when I got there than when I left, I have been a vegetarian ever since. Eventually, I ended up in Gainesville, where I went to the temple and first heard about NV.

Now, in my present state, such a memory seems unreal, like viewing someone else’s life. I tried to play soccer in a pickup game a few days ago. After 5 minutes I was so winded it took as long to catch my breath as I had played, and by the time I had caught my breath, my feet were swollen. Sharp reminders I am not the physical being I used to be. Some days, I feel worse than the day before, and the thought I may never really recover nags me. Then I have to cling intellectually to the memory of being told it will take about a year to get back to normal, or near normal. I get impatient, and forget it has only been 2 ½ months since the operation.

I worry that I have grown accustomed to the idle, sedentary life; become lazy, and am just using the transplant as an excuse. Whereas in the past, time was the limiting factor in what could be accomplished, now I have lots of time, and not enough energy to fill it. It is a useless feeling. Even chanting takes energy, and as I have no spontaneous desire to chant, I do disturbingly little of it. On the worst days, I feel like a walking dead man. Yet, people seem obsessed to tell me “You look good.” This always bothers me, because it is more about their need to gratify their sense of sight and forestall the feeling of their own impending mortality. That last sentence is probably not true -- most likely they are really trying to be positive and supportive -- but I perceive it in a negative way. It makes me feel like a malingerer, guilty that if I look good, I should feel good too, which I don’t. Those saying I “look good” never bother asking me how I feel, so it seems to me to be more about them than about my medical condition.

Whew! Was that last paragraph wallowing in the false ego or what? I think I need to go take a walk.


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