A Peak Experience
One of the positive aspects of recovering from surgery is that you have a lot of time to write. It is also still winter, although the birds are already rambunctiously making plans for the new year. There is yet no planting, watering, weeding or mowing on the homestead. March is the get-going month here, so I have little time left as my leg is healing and I will have no excuse.
After an entire year of a nightmare experience with the medical community, a miracle happened and I finally found a generous and caring surgeon who would operate on the huge liposarcoma in my thigh. I think it was approaching “too late.” In the old days, it would have been an amputation. He did a phenomenal job and saved so much of my leg that I am walking and driving and can see a full recovery after radiation. I was not sure I would ever walk again. I was shocked when someone told me I can wear one of those pink ribbons of the cancer survivor. Me, a pink ribbon!
The most unusual part of this story was the “peak experience” I had after surgery. I have never been unconscious before in my life, except for sleep, which I guess is different. I replay the scene in the operating room because my mind has difficulty comprehending it: one minute I was awake and the next I was waking up to voices talking about me. Time had passed and the operation was over. The five days in the hospital were a bit blurry, but the first morning I woke up in my own bed it hit me. I felt like I had had a near- death experience. I was dead and now living again. There was this absolutely incredible feeling of at-one-ness with the universe. Everything was all right, I was connected to everything and everyone, we were all part of one organism. There were no problems. This was such an unusual feeling that it seems indescribable.
I experienced this same feeling during my first “peak experience” when I went on a “trip” during my Synanon years. Just as in 1969, this supreme joy and happiness began to dissipate in the weeks that followed. I wonder if those individuals who have true “near-death” experiences go through the same stages. Can they identify lasting changes from their experience? Today I am back where I started with all of life’s problems and with the full realization that all is not right with the world.
A few minor changes: I think I recognize as never before what a network of friends I have. I have also been grateful for the support of my family. I was surprised that I fell and people were there to catch me.
I have always understood that Death can be just a slip away. Today I am more committed than ever to trying to live in the moment and smell the roses. I am also especially annoyed with people who waste their time quibbling over the small things, those who try to pass their grouchiness along, those who waste their lives in any form of mindless entertainment used to dull their senses, and those who put themselves into a drugged stupor so they can tolerate life. This is all sad.
Be awake. Be aware. Life is so short. That is the lesson.
Comments? Share your experience?