Did you know that open heart surgery can be a curse and blessing? At the same time?

Wisdom I wish I’d known earlier

When a year ago I fainted, not for the first time, I ignored that open heart surgery can be both a blessing and curse at the same time.

Sure, there is nothing new about it. I had fainted twice before, back in my teenage years, when I banged my helmetless head against an ice rink and pool floor, but a year ago was my third faint and this time it was serious.

As a teenager, I used to believe what I was told. That means I believed even such bullshit as it makes a difference whether people are awake or asleep. But much water has gone under the bridge since, with lots of other stuff too.

Things have changed and I’m younger than that now.

Let me begin at the beginning

A year ago, I was in the process of doing research for my book, THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY, when all of a sudden, while boiling water for my afternoon tea, I fainted in my kitchen for no apparent reason, smartphone in hand, slow enough to call the paramedics who arrived quickly, picked me up sack of potatoes-like, took me in a special chair down my three flights of stairs to the waiting ambulance, laid me flat on a stretcher, which is the last event I remember, for transport to the nearby hospital, which I don’t remember at all for by then I had fainted completely.

As luck would have it, lucky me lives in Switzerland, a country where everything is nearby. Be it as it may, nearby wasn’t of much help because it would be four weeks anyway, before I re-membered anything again at all.

While in a state of faint, the 70% water and 30% fire-air-earth — that I’m made of, like you and everybody else — shut down. Or at least that’s how it felt. You don’t feel a thing. You also don’t use words to describe it. Only bystanders can see it and later tell you all about it.

After regaining the senses of my 70% water and 30% fire-air-earth, I re-membered only what I could not communicate to bystanders without blowing their minds and socks off which became quite clear rather quickly.

So I shut up and reduced myself to being told by a doctor, or was it maybe a nurse? that I had in the meantime survived the transport by ambulance to the nearby hospital, by ‘copter to the University hospital, the several hours of open-heart surgery, and the three weeks in a coma, to finally wake up in an intensive care unit that my sister tells me I’m mistaking for my apartment.

The mix of doctors and nurses also tell me that by the end of the week I’d take a taxi to spend my next 3 months at a nearby rehab clinic with fabulous views of the snowcapped Alps illuminated by the sun twice daily like Holly would.

None of it made any sense. They could as well have told me snowflakes keep falling on my head when Mother Frost beats her bedding.

Illustration by Otto Kubel

Without further ado, let’s get back to me, the patient.

I remember more from quotes than from fairy tales. Call me Stupendous Quote Man if you must, but among the ones in plain view of my third eye is the following:

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Why am I telling you this?

It’s nothing, respectively it’s nothing but an attempt to let you partake in wisdom I wish I’d known earlier, namely that open heart surgery can be a curse and a blessing at the same time, because that wisdom might come in handy sooner or later.

The difference between miracle, blessing, and curse depends on how you look at it. And it’s not just about Albert Einstein of course. My handpicked quotes collection stands at 4,411 and counting, and includes the following.

That’s right, Polo Hofer, too, is right:

You know the end is near when the idiot killer shows up.”

Only people who’ve never been idiots in all their life shall escape, and I’d be a complete idiot to take myself out of it.

That’s right, Buddha is right, too:

The trouble is, you think you have time.”

No-one begins and ends life alive. If you think time is granted or that it’s all up to you, you’ll be in trouble before you know it.

Open heart surgery has granted me the wisdom to know that I’m mortal. Prior to that, I had the time to live till 2072. Now I know that without the doctors and nurses I wouldn’t have the time to watch my family, friends, and the world grow older and know much more than I ever will, nor would I have witnessed Jeff Beck in concert shortly before his death and listen to his music now, as we speak, without the pain of his absence while wondering who’s next.

Many of my inspirations are my generation, hence don’t have the trouble of thinking time’s on their side. And If my generation is mortal, what does that say about you and me?

That’s right, Yogi Berra is spot on too.

Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.”

Yogi spent his life in sports — a pro baseball catcher who later took on the roles of manager and coach.

If future results are predictable, you can get run over by a bus anytime, but if that’s so, then you know you’re not talking sports anymore.

That’s right, Seneca is equally right.

Words become works.”

When you decide your words well, they will follow you like a shadow that never leaves, beyond the shadow of a doubt. And as if that weren’t enough, when you keep your word, many decisions are already made.

Finally, needless to say but I say it anyway, Marcel Marceau is right too.

Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?”

‘Nough said.

Six quotes are more than what most word-users can absorb in one reading.

Because nothing happens until it is believed, you might want to read this post again, but that, my friend, is all up to you.

We don’t make choices, we make decisions.

Quotes don’t inspire because they have been written by word-users like you and me — made of 70% water and 30% fire-air-earth — but because they have been written by word-users who decide their words well, for everybody to see.

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