I’m not one of those guys. You know those guys you see from the neck down on the nightly news, all beer gut and plumber's crack that make you think, "whoa, there's a heart attack waiting to happen..." That's not me. Still, there I was in my doctor's office with chest pains. I thought it was acid reflux and so did he. He scheduled a stress test, just routine.
The stress test led to an angiogram that led to discovering 90% blockage in the artery they lovingly call The Widow Maker that led to a quadruple bypass.
A lot of people bounce right back from something as critical as being cracked open like a fortune cookie. It hit me a tad harder. Sadly, 30 to 75 percent of bypass patients show signs of post-op depression. Experts aren't sure what part of the procedure changes your brain but something does.
None of that mattered a whole lot— something was making me weep like a baby for the flimsiest reasons. When a rehab nurse innocently asked, "how's it goin'?" and I burst into tears, my secret was out. She referred me to a psychologist who I saw every Wednesday, pretty much, for the next two or three years. Together, we dug into my past, starting with the surgery then burrowing deeper to the root of my problem.
This diary, journal, whatever you want to call it, was part of my post-bypass therapy. My psychologist “prescribed” it as what she called homework: write what was going through my head on any given day. Whatever it was, wherever I was, on the train, in a cab, related to the surgery or not. I was essentially writing to my psychologist, telling her my feelings, telling her stories about my family, growing up. It’s from these journals and our sessions that we finally unraveled the mess that my life had become.
I changed proper names to pronouns when possible and pseudonyms when necessary. And I fixed some spelling. Otherwise it's the same as when it originally streamed out of my subconscious.
I don’t know if any of this’ll help anybody but I thought it was worth a shot…