Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Overall, it was a good day

The image above is a “Facebook Memory” served up to me today, and is from this date back in 2015. When I shared it to my personal Facebook, I told the story behind it, and why that all matters: It had a tale to tell.

Nigel had an appointment in Takapuna that particular day six years ago, so I went with him and wandered down to the beach where I shot video I later posted to my YouTube Channel (at the bottom of this post), and also some photos, like this one (a better version of this photo was in that video). Afterward, Nigel and I headed back to Birkenhead where we had an early dinner (which I know because it also popped up in my FB Memories today…).

It was a good day—and yet it wasn’t. This was about a year before I got my cardiac stent, so I wasn’t in great health. And that appointment Nigel had was with an acupuncturist he was seeing to try and deal with gall bladder problems; it didn’t work, of course, because nearly 22 months later we’d be at North Shore Hospital (not very far away from this spot) where Nigel had a day procedure to remove his gall bladder.

Nigel often tried unusual/unproven things to try to fix health issues rather than surgery or prescriptions. He wasn’t opposed to such things, of course, but they gave him anxiety, probably because of dealing with the medical problems of his partner before me, Gary, as he got sicker and eventually died.

For awhile, I wondered if in his last year or two Nigel hid health concerns from me—after all, I was dealing with my own health issues. The answer is, absolutely not. There was never a time I didn’t know he was feeling unwell because he told me. He could be a bit of a hypochondriac sometimes (which he freely admitted), assuming a minor complaint was serious or deadly—so much so it became a running joke for us. For example, if one of us had a sore shoulder, we’d say, “It’s probably shoulder cancer.” That seemed really funny to us at the time.

It’s natural for us all to want to wish away health problems, or to try what we perceive as an easier path. Nigel and I both did that, and we both turned reasonably promptly to science-based medicine when our “easier path” didn’t produce results.

So, I know for certain that if Nigel had any health concerns before what turned out to be his final battle, I’d have known because I would’ve seen his usual pattern, and because he definitely would have told me he wasn’t feeling well, just as he always had.

I know one more thing for certain: A good day, like this one six years ago, may have things going on under the surface that aren’t good, that maybe even completely undermine everything, at least to some extent. But that doesn’t change the fact that, overall, the day WAS a good one. It’s worth holding onto that fact so that in the future when we look back on photos or the memories of a good day, we’ll smile. Inevitably, all those good days will run out, so we really, really need to focus on them while we can.

The truth is, I didn’t understand all that six years ago today. I do now. I think—hope?—that I’ll remember that for however many (thousands of) days I have left. For today, though, I know it, and right now, that’s enough.

A few days after that visit to Takapuna, I posted the video I referred to above and talked about it here on this blog. Here’s the video:

This post is an expanded version of what I posted to my personal Facebook today.

No comments: