1 EAGLETON NOTES: Thankful Thursday

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Thankful Thursday

I think that my friends would say that, on the whole, I'm a positive person. That does not mean that I don't often see problems where others might charge ahead blindly. Where I do see a problem I always try and see the solution too. My glass is always half full and never half empty. Whether we are born like that or we learn it from our parents and upbringing I know not. 

One thing I do know is that whilst being positive doesn't necessarily keep you alive, being negative certainly can have a very adverse affect on you and even, in extremis, kill you or fail to keep you alive.

When I was 16 I had a life threatening disease: bronchiectasis. I was operated on and the lower part of my right lung was removed. At the time it was a pretty major operation. However it never occurred to me that I would die. On the same day another person had the same operation. He was in his 50s but nevertheless I knew (because I worked on the medical ward that he had been on) that his recovery chances were as good as mine.

When we were both over the worst of the recovery period I asked how he was and was told that he had given up. With all my tubes and drips I was wheeled to his bed and spent a long time trying to persuade him that, as I wasn't going to die, there was no reason for him to die either. However there was no persuading him and he died. As you will have gathered, I didn't.

That was 55 years ago but I remember it as if it were yesterday. I have never ever forgotten our talks and our completely different approach to our shared situation.

Jaz's situation (it was Jaz who started Thankful Thursday with, I think, this post) and her will to live through a very bad brain tumour has always been an inspiration to me and started me on Thankful Thursday posts.

So today I am thankful for positivity.

27 comments:

  1. Graham you must have been a very special 16-year-old to have the wisdom to speak to your fellow patient in that way. So sad that you didn't manage to convince him.

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    1. Actually Frances I was anything but special but, in retrospect, I think that the time spent working on the ward had given me a sense of that which all good nurses feel. I know a lot of nurses and admire them and their positivity given the situation in which they work these days. I think I feel a post forming in what passes for my brain.

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  2. hahahah I had forgotten that post by Jaz! thanks for reminding us of it! Jaz you are totally beautiful and I have no idea what size the rack is now - but I am thankful to be part of your life xxx
    We have a lot to be thankful for - I posted a video on facebook today...https://www.facebook.com/epicwebeveything/videos/882292648535024/?pnref=story - it really resonated with me. Mindfulness.....

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    1. Yes I saw that Fi. I've now watched it. Positivity and Carpe diem writ large.

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  3. Well, that pretty special sixteen-year-old turned into a pretty special someting-year-old, who is still spreading his positive influence.

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    1. Aw shucks Kate. Perhaps it's something to do with the fact that I have pretty special people around me.

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    2. Even if some of them are on the other side of the world!

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  4. That is a very special story. It reminds me of Louis Zamperini. When he was in prison camp, he said that those who gave up, who lost all hope, would die...even if they were fairly healthy. Those who were determined to make it, did so.

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    1. Ah yes Kay I remember your post well.

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  5. Your positive thoughts have probably saved you from other issues becoming crucial. I am a half full kind of guy with a good pair of rose colored glasses that I wear all the time.

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    1. Your are doubtless correct Red. Positivity is a great protector.

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  6. Like you, I am an eternal optimist, but I live with a pessimist. This just goes to boost my optimism even more. When I was small I suffered from quite bad asthma, and when suffering an attack would think that I was going to die (I couldn't breathe). It wasn't a pleasant experience; I could have done with someone like you to tell me that it would be OK.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that you had bad asthma as a child Cro. I had a schoolmate in a similar situation and, whilst I'm sure it never occurred to us that he might die, we did always make sure he had his inhaler if we were going anywhere.

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  7. I like to think of myself as a realist with a strong tendency to optimism, sometimes bordering on naivety. Also, although I do not talk about it on my blog, I very much believe in God and feel immense gratitude for everything I am and have - for my whole life, really. I have not been in a life-threatening situation yet myself (unless you count getting into cars, on planes and trains rather often), but as you know, I have close experience with death in the family. And as strange as it sounds, in a way Steve's sudden death has changed my life for the better in many ways. Does that mean I am grateful for his death? Certainly not, but I am grateful for having found the strength in myself as well as from my friends and family to move on and be happy again.

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    1. I think Meike that comment demonstrates a great deal of positivity but I do like how you think of yourself. I would describe that as positive realism.

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  8. How sad that man just gave up. I am surprised how many bloggers I have stumbled across who are dealing with major health issues. Full respect must be given for showing us how to LIVE.

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    1. Carol it was sad and so unnecessary. It is easy to give up though. I have been fortunate to be able to adapt to live easily with me medical situation so that few would ever know that I even have it. Many do not have that luxury and are, for example like my brother, in constant and terrible pain. In a funny sort of way it is easy to be positive when one is not faced with such challenges.

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  9. Much to be thankful for indeed. A great post thank you Graham and a great reminder. My Thankful Thursday was having my younger son come round for tea last night and the fact that he actually sat and looked through my NZ photos with me and gave me a couple of hugs. A long way forward from the very angry young autistic man of September last year that we had to take desperate measures with.

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  10. The power of one's mind and will is a powerful thing...and something not to be messed with. Good on you, Graham for attacking life with such positivity. It has served you well. :)

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  11. Reading this post brought up a whole bundle of memories and thoughts and emotions for me. Probably everyone has some "defining" moments in life - of the kind that leaves a lasting imprint, either confirming or changing our direction... Sometimes we don't understand it until later; sometimes our understanding of it changes through life, and sometimes perhaps we never become aware of it. But life-or-death moments are probably among those hardest to forget, whether it is about ourselves or about someone close to us. While I agree that it does sometimes seem that some people come through by sheer force of will, while others give up... I also recall from my own experience, from the time I may have been closest to death myself, a feeling of surprise at my body seeming to have a will of its own to fight (rather than experiencing it at the time as a will of 'mind'). (It may be the same thing, or it may not - I can't say I know!)

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    1. It's a difficult conundrum Monica and I don't know the answer. As I said I'm not sure that sheer will can necessarily keep you alive in a medical situation (contrasted with other situations) but the lack of that will can, I believe, be detrimental.

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  12. Attitude has a big impact on how are lives are lived but I don't think it's to do with choice. The attitudes that we display emerge almost mysteriously from within us. I am glad you survived the lung operation or I wouldn't be visiting this blog today! Mind you, I could be doing something more positive like having a shower or emptying the dishwasher. Time to rise from this sofa...

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    1. I'm saddened, YP, that you don't think that reading my blog is a positive thing to do. However your third sentence did cheer me up again.

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  13. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story GB.
    It's the mind over matter thing all over again...a positive outlook and seeing the glass half full instead of half empty...like you I tend to be rather optimistic throughout all the trials of life.
    My dear old dad had a saying..."This too shall pass."

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    1. Virginia "This too shall pass." is a very sage saying.

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