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Dwelling On Five Thoughts
18″x15″x6″ Dyed Nylon

 

When I was about seven or eight years old, strangely, I developed a kidney infection. Our family doctor told me that little boys usually do not have kidney infections. He continued telling me to be very good and not run around and make sure I did not argue about taking my pills. Shortly afterward, we left the doctor’s office. My father and I walked to the car and then we stopped at the drugstore to get my pills. I think this was the first time the doctor did not give me pills, but rather wrote a prescription for the medication.

My father parked the car and told me to remain in the car while he got my prescription. The time alone provided a small window for me to daydream. I felt miserable and I had a fever. My head pounded each time I moved or stood. I bent my head making me nearly huddled with my hands wrapped around my waist. I felt very frightened sitting all alone because I worried why I had a prescription. I felt like I was always sick and this was one of the worst times. All I wanted to do was to get home to my mother. She would make everything be better, particularly me!

I have never forgotten, even though my Mother never left my side after I got home. She figured out why I was so upset and took great patience and love to assure me everything was fine. The memory was still there when I was 16 and then again, at 27 when once again I had a kidney infection. I was sure the doctor meant I was going to die of kidney failure–worry #1 became fully developed.

Even after worry #1 was established, I received a magazine from a support group for people that had a colostomy or ileostomy or both in the early seventies. At first, I was confounded why should I receive the magazine and decided it was a mistake. Over the next few days, I glanced through the magazine and started reading all the articles. I had no idea what the necessary products were for and the book did not explain them. There was a story about a person who had both and was a gymnast. The story fascinated me and I decided I wanted to find out more, even though I was aware that since I was about twelve the superintendent’s wife of the community school I attended had a colostomy The more I read, the more I thought of Mrs. Boyle and the picture I kept seeing was of her emptying the device.

The picture of her began to haunt me, as well as, some of the articles I had been reading and in the end, there was a picture of Mrs. Boyle layered over a picture of a woman with an ilieostomy on a trapeze. Quickly that picture produced another tag of worry in my life. Worry #2 allowed me to have many sleepless nights preparing for the worst.

By the end of the next fifteen years, I felt my affectation had greatly dissipated. My two worries did not affect me nor did I think of them. Life presented itself as it should and I had not a worry in all those years. I never thought about how my health could deteriorate and cause me problems within my Crepusculum and easily define my journey to the entrance of my darkest hours. I had a busy life and it was difficult for me to be any thing other than happy.

Even though I was happy, the additional years allowed me to think and worry more. My parents were aging and after I entered my forties their problems became more poignant. While visiting with us, for a long a long weekend, my father experienced his first heart attack. Upon his discharge, he drove back home, mostly as a show of strength and no physical signs of a heart attack showed. Very early in the morning, on a Monday in February, I received a call from my mother that my father was having severe chest pains. By the time I arrived, he was prepped for quadruple by-pass surgery. At the close of the day, I had developed a single picture: My father in the Intensive Care Unit attached to drains, the incision area uncovered and still surrounded with sponges and endless monitors above his head.

At my mother’s home that night, sleep did not come until the wee hours of the morning. Worry #3 formed.

It formed and dominated my mind for a while. By now I had realized I shouldn’t focus on a particular worry. I needed to remember that when I walk out of the house and am hit by a car, is more realistic than if I fabricate an illogical worry.

A short time later, my Mother needed surgery for a colon resection. Following surgery, at a new gastroenteroogist, I was repeatedly told me I must have a colonoscopy as soon as possible because he was sure I would follow in Mother’s shoes He continued enforcing his point by telling me repeatedly that polyps predate cancer and that if my Mother had polyps then he was sure I would! By the time, we left Worry #4 was firmly entrenched and I vowed my Mother would never see that physician again!

For the next seven years, the thought of surgery on my colon plagued me. Finally, I forced myself into having it all checked out and, of course, everything was very GOOD.  I placed Worry #4 on a shelf for the next five years, or until I needed my next exam. I was ecstatic.

While I was being plagued by the worry of one day having colon surgery, my mother had a stroke. As I cared for her, in the months to follow, repeatedly I asked if this could happen to me. I realized that the outcome of a stroke depends upon the size of the clot or the dimensions of the bleed area, thus meaning that if I had a stroke the result could not be of the same as my mother’s. Regardless, I began carrying around a sullen mask, until one day I noticed a worry # 5 was perched on my shoulder next to worry #4.

One day as I was whistling “Que Sera, Que Sera” I suddenly stopped and began singing:

 

Que, Sera, Sera

Whatever will be, will be

The Future’s not ours to see,

Que, Sera, Sera

What will be, will be–

In one short verse, I realized how ridiculous it is to carry around my worries like an albatross around my neck. I have no way of telling, nor does a doctor, what will happen to me in the future. To worry only causes me to have less time to enjoy the life I have. I shelved my worries in a small corner of my mind. I keep them there as a reminder that when I look forward I will look without the influence of worry, but rather I will look openly and understand that even within  my Crepusculum  it isn’t necessary to know every thing!


The five worries were the inspiration for “Dwelling on
Five Thoughts”. Each form represents a specific worry and has a small sculpture inside depicting the worry. When the piece is exhibited the forms are illuminated from the bottom so the viewer might catch a glimpse of the sculpture.

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