When our son died of sleep apnea on July 2, 1997, our life shattered. Ours was a colorless world of black and white. Well-meaning family and friends advised us to “get over it and get back to normal”. That wasn’t going to happen. Nothing was “normal” again. Eighteen years of monthly meetings with The Compassionate Friends helped us move out of the “Valley of Grief” and into a new normal. We began to see color again. I’m mindful of this quote:
What the caterpillar calls the end; the rest of the world calls a butterfly. ~ Lao Tzu
The following year, I took a sleep apnea study through the University of Arizona. Eight weeks later, I was wearing my first CPAP and adjusting to a “new normal”- sleeping with an air tube. I looked like a SCUBA diver. I had to learn to turn from one side to another without kinking the tube. That became a normal procedure. A new normal where I no longer snored meant no more bruised ribs from She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.
And thus began my journey along this new learning curve including hearing aids and a De Vinci Robotic Radical prostatectomy, where my surgeon said I would “probably” have to wear diapers. “Probably” was an understatement. My extra briefcase held a load of men’s absorbents. My new normal was four or five absorbents daily and two or three nighttime changes. Shortly after the prostatectomy, I had a penile prosthesis implant that allowed me to move in a new direction. (No pun intended.) I was moving along this curve of “new” normal faster than I realized.
Later, there was cataract surgery for both eyes. Driving at night is no longer frightening.
Except for the absorbents, I found I could have somewhat of a normal life. Not the life we had when all four of our children were alive, not the life when I didn’t use a CPAP, not the life after the prostatectomy, or a penile prosthesis, but a new normal where, in my eighth decade, I could adjust and adapt.
Men’s Liberty entered a year ago, July 2014. On a one-to-ten scale, I found myself around the curve toward a new normal of confident comfort. There is more to learn, but Wendy La Torre’s TV training program makes negotiating this curve easier. I am closer to the “ten” than ever before.