A little health update to start. I passed out last Friday. I was rushing to get out of bed, get the kids to school, and get to work. I woke up feeling awful- I knew I had a high temperature and my throat felt like sandpaper, but I wanted to get moving in a hurry. I went to the bathroom to get the day started and began to take my temperature. That’s when I passed out.
When I came to, Paige was telling me to move. I had passed out in a perfect sitting position (no falling injury) and was blocking the door. She got me a cold washcloth and ordered me back to bed, wisely. I would not be taking the kids to school or going to work.
Paige and I were both fearing a Christmas at the hospital and potentially cancelling a lot of holiday plans. And even worse portents.
I ended up at the Cancer Center later that day. They got me on an IV with fluids. The labs didn’t say much so they gave me some more steroids (through the IV) and a prescription for an antiboitic. Those IV fluids were freezing! I spent the rest of the day recovering and resting. I was ordered to return Sunday morning for more lab work to ensure that I was okay.
Fortunately, I woke up feeling very good Saturday. When I started to get out of bed, Paige wisely advised me, “Sit straight up in bed for 2 minutes before you stand up.” I did, and everything went fine. I was evening driving Saturday, which surprised both of us. We were driving to lunch, per our usual Saturday routine, and I mentioned, “Oh, look. I’m driving.” “Oh yeah, you are. Good thing you’re feeling better.”
My labs Sunday came back with good results. I’m not sure what is was, maybe something viral. It wasn’t the flu. But it was a strange way to slide into the week of Christmas.
Thankfully, as long as things keep going smoothly, I’ll be spending it close to family.
In a way it’s fitting that I’m writing about this book, Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Instead of focusing on my health and well-being (something critical, essential) I was chasing down a daily routine and checklist (non-essential).
I came by this book sometime last year, before my surgery, diagnosis, and treatment. But it’s really stuck with me. The book speaks for itself, and if you’re not grabbed by the excerpt I’m posting then move on, I suppose. But one thing McKeown does emphasize as important to essentialism is something highly underrated in our adult culture and society, creative play.
This can take different forms for everybody. In Stillness is the Key, Ryan Holiday talks about Winston Churchill being a “mediocre painter and a worse bricklayer”, but those leisure activities helped restore his energy and give much needed respite in the most tumultuous times of his political career. It helps explain why ambitious people have (unrelated) hobbies. It supports McKeown’s assertion that creative play is critical to essentialism.
For me, it’s video games. I like to get lost in them. But I don’t get carried away, and being a father doesn’t allow me. I also am a big LEGO enthuiast. I believe that a $50 LEGO set put together by an adult in solitude can perhaps be the most inexpensive form of therapy available. I’m also known to get a bit too into coloring sheets or painting pottery at kids’ parties sometimes. I think someday I’ll graduate from video games into gardening. Maybe.
Once I was talking about video games with a friend (who also plays) and someone in our group exclaimed, “I don’t have time for games!” Well, if it’s not games then I hope it’s some form of creative play like painting or bricklaying.