A Small Restriction, Nothing More

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Last January, after my heart surgery, walking outside in the cold air was like breathing knives.  Like broken ribs.  My chest constricted, giving me an instant asthma attack – but unlike asthma attacks, which are panic-inducing but not hurtful, the chill air ate into my lungs, dug at my ribs.
But what did that matter?  My legs were also numb after my surgery, the result of several major nerves being rudely jangled.  I was weakened by the trauma, could barely walk.  Surely all of this would go away.
Except, as I found last night when I went to take Shasta for a walk, this hadn’t.
I had to stop halfway down the street, snow skirling about me, and calm myself as my breath came in short hitches.  The high winds weren’t helping, but that old familiar pain was back.
Now I have to prepare for it.
As Gini noted, I now need a scarf.  I’ve never needed scarfs.  Hell, I’ve never needed much in the way of winter outfits to begin with, as my innate cold resistance used to let me go for long walks in the snow wearing nothing but a T-shirt and jeans.  But I need to have something thick to breathe through, just in case the cold becomes too much for me.
It’s a little death.  Nothing too big.  Just another lifestyle change to add to the pile.  And considering I have friends going through life-threatening turmoil, battling cancer and other ailments in attempts to keep breathing, “a scarf” is a pretty small thing.
Yet the one thing my triple bypass gave me was a window to the end.  I remember being trapped in a chair, too weak to move, my body unable to comply with my mind’s kind requests.  I remember pissing into a cup because I could not get up.  I remember drifting off because even the act of talking for half an hour was so strenuous that my body switched itself off like a circuit-breaker.  And I’ve recovered, but I know that one day I will degrade; there is a nursing home with my name on it, a wheelchair I will be pent to, and I got a bitter taste of it.
The scarf is not a scarf.  It is a step down that road.
It’s a long road, yet.  I have probably thirty, maybe forty years of good existence left in me.  I intend to write a lot of stories, grab all the snuggles, have all the laughs.  Seeing the end goal is not a cause for despair; I have so many years left, and that finish line tells me I’d better make each one count.  So with hard work and hard play, I maximize what I can do.
Yet there is a chill wind outside.  Winter is coming.  Decrepitude is coming.
Life is leaving, slowly leaving, as it always is.  But sometimes you feel its ebb a little more keenly.

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