The Joy of Mopping a Floor
Tomorrow, January 12, 2016 – on the 6th anniversary of having died and been resuscitated after 40 minutes of CPR – I’m going to mop the huge floor of an art gallery that I am opening at the end of the week.
Tonight, as I was sweeping and then vacuuming the space, I thought about the wonder of this experience, the enormous medical efforts and talents, the scientific research, the resources, and the fortune that have made not only the physical labor of this evening possible, but the anticipation of ringing out the dirty water from a mop tomorrow such an incredible opportunity to look forward to.
Six years ago tonight I was nervous, anxious about what a routine catheter exploration of my heart the next morning would discover. Six years ago tonight I had no idea of what it would be to die from a cardiac arrest during a routine medical procedure and then wake up days later partially blind, damaged in my cognitive ability to process the sequential events of the past, and with some degree of dyslexia.
Six years ago tonight my wife had no idea that in twelve hours that she would be sitting with a pastor and a physician, no idea that by evening that medical staff would be suggesting – following their news of my resuscitation – that it was possible that when she saw me again I would have little to no brain function.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of an event that continues to have significant meaning to me. The anniversaries of traumatic events are often difficult, painful, sometimes filled with sorrow, remorse, regret, bewilderment. We experience traumatic anniversaries in our minds, usually without the notice of others. The mere fact that I am mentioning this anniversary in a blog runs the risk of sounding – to those who know me, who know of my story – redundant and needlessly reminiscent of a now “old event”, perhaps even a reverie that appears self-indulgent. But it is in the constant memory of the event that I continue to process and honor the trauma of the event while being reminded of the wonder of the present. This anniversary reminds me that for a man not expected to be brought back to life and if so, to be a man with little to no cognitive or motor functioning, that the opportunity to mop a floor is a wonderful and joyous thing.