April 1 is a big day in my life. I had a cardiac arrest at work and was rescued by my boss who did CPR until the EMTs were able to restart my heart.
As a result I have an ICD, an implanted defibrillator/pacemaker. I’m on my second one.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the attack.
The cause was never determined definitely although it might have been because of low Magnesium levels. I was in a really stressful time at work, and I was maxed out on stress when it happened. One part of the stress was fearing being dragged out of the closet.
I was fortunate that I got up and was heading to the kitchenette. Before I made it there, I collapsed and fell on my forearms–lots of bruises. If I had stayed at my desk, I would have just slumped over and died since no one would noticed in time. At the time, I got up with chest pain thinking that drinking some water would help. I probably aspirated the carrots I was eating, which kept me in the hospital some extra days and helped me acclimate to my new reality.
I was glad that my heart catheterization showed very little blockage so I didn’t need any stents or bypass surgery.
So I have a big anniversary coming up.
The COVID-19 pandemic makes me think deeply about my mortality and the mortality of the people I love. Making it to the next birthday seems more of an accomplishment now than last year. I don’t know what will happen between now and December. Who that I know will have become sick? Who will have never recovered? How will I deal with so much grief?
I think about what to do while I’m at home. (I won’t say “stuck at home.” It’s a privilege that I have a home.) Fortunately, I’ve got projects to keep me busy. I can focus on them more intently if I’m not thinking about going out for groceries, planning my next trip to Fort Wayne and looking for the best gas price.
With heavy feelings so infectious, it’s easy to forget the humanity of the people I don’t know. But, it is more important than ever to recognize my neighbor as like me. The one who lives in the next apartment or the stranger who comes to the store at the same time as me. The neighbor that is the “other” I don’t trust. In this crisis, there is no “other” in the eyes the coronavirus. I don’t know their names, who their kids are and whether putting food on the table is a burden. But, they are all facing the same end as me.
Unity in suffering.
It’s more important to me than ever to do small kindnesses for the people I meet. They might be hungry, angry at the people stuck inside with them, lonely for human contact that they’re trying to distance themselves from. I don’t know what they face, but I can be confident that it is hard. I can acknowledge their burden with respect and not add to it.
I’m alone in my house, but I don’t feel lonely. I am busy and can talk to a person or two each day by phone. It is kind for someone to take or return my call. I try to do the same.
The mathematics are against us. Italy is an example of the nations a few days ahead of us that is suffering badly. Others countries that have been taking stronger measures appear to be keeping up. I want to not add to the suffering in my country. Being willing to do whatever I need to is a way to do that.
If the guidance I get is not based in the epidemiology and science, I can be confident that ones providing that guidance don’t value my life or the life of my loved ones. I don’t have time for that.
When I saw the trailers for Onward, I thought the scene with unicorns trashing the garbage bins was a good sign. Onward wouldn’t not be the stereotypical fantasy with rainbows, evil godmothers and cotton candy. Unicorns are traditionally noble and honored animals yet in this scene they were fighting over the trash like a couple of grimy opossums. The film is introduced by the peculiar history of magic in the world of Ian & Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt).
My favorite character was Barley. He was enthusiastic and courageous. It was fun to watch how, what started as his imaginary world, ended being closer to reality than his brother Ian (or me) was willing to believe. His enthusiasm seemed over the top when he pulls up to school to pick up Ian, but he also has a larger-than-life Fun Quotient.
One feature of the movie that was enjoyable was the many landscapes and sky scenes. They were varied and beautiful. One quirky scene shows a jet flying through the sky as the characters are looking for treasure. When I go back over the film in my mind, I can’t count how many different sets, characters and animated magical effects were there. It was obviously all hands on deck in coming up with the computer models for the film.
The second time I saw the movie, I was briefly distracted by knowing the famous voice actors behind Ian and Barley. It was a little jarring and didn’t add to my enjoyment of the film. Fortunately, after a few minutes, who the actors were drifted into the background and I wasn’t thinking about Spiderman and Star-Lord any more.
The film revealed a transformation of several characters. Ian and Barley, their mom Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Colt Bronco (Mel Rodriguez) and The Manticore (Octavia Spencer) all were changed people by the end of the story. It was cool that the audience gets to see so many characters growing and changing. Perhaps Ian had the “primary” and most obvious transformation, but the story wasn’t just about him.
Hopefully, Disney make back it’s $1000-ish per frame that they invested in the movie. Based on how much I liked the movie, it would be a shame if it doesn’t pan out. I don’t want Disney to get cold feet and refuse to make more quirky animated films like Onward.
Talking to animals seems to be a natural skill to list on the resume of a veterinarian. Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) uses it as his primary marketing strategy. Although he’s renowned for caring for animals, when his wife dies, he is thrown into a downward spiral.
When Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) comes to him with an injured squirrel, the boy’s persistence and cheek help Dr. Dolittle get out of his funk. With the help of dozens of animal friends, Robert Downey Jr.’s character begins a quest with many adventures that are tied together by the dying Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) and the mystery of his wife’s death.
I didn’t really enjoy the movie very much. I don’t think that I was in the target demographic. The kids in the theater with me seemed to enjoy it. Looking on the-numbers.com, I see that the film is better than average on its staying power and is a financial success. It was a fun story, just one that I wasn’t drawn into.
A walking stick insect was a cute plot device. It reminded me of the plant that is a Fantastic Beasts that rescues Newt Scamander from some tight spots.
The film had several intersecting sub-plots. Each story had its own villain and conflict. They were set up to be short and entertaining. The movie doesn’t bog down with detailed character development.
What I liked most about the film was its humor and wit. Dr. Dolittle was quirky and always resourceful. The animals help him and his protégé to win the day.