I’m re-discovering the (personal) meaning of two words I thought I always knew until today.
I understood this afternoon for the first time what it means to be totally and completely gobsmacked, when I heard of the availability of a donor heart.
It’s a sense of being so taken aback by something, so dumbstruck, so completely overwhelmed by an event, that one is (almost) incapable of responding, of expressing any emotion, whether position or negative.
Thankfully, it doesn’t last long as, for most people, reality sets in and emotion gets to work.
In my case today, a sense of surreality took over as I stood at the window of my hospital ward looking over the city and contemplating the enormity of this step.
Despite knowing of my weak heart (dilated cardiomyopathy) for some years, the diagnosis of the deterioration of my condition happened so suddenly, propelling me to these consultations with the heart transplant team at the CBMH in Cape Town, that it has mostly felt surreal, not part of my world.
But this treatment solution – this news that a donor heart is available – has happened in even quicker time. It’s completely snuck up on me. It really does take an effort for me to clear my head and allow the simple medical facts to move from other-wordly to my reality.
I’m here in this bodily construction right now and tomorrow, the same and yet so radically different. Surreal, yet real.
I think I will be re-learning many words in the coming time.