Fri 01/27/12 at 7:42 pm

During my visit to the transplant center last October, certain symptoms led my team to consider the possibility my new left lung might be in the early stages of my first bout of chronic rejection. Contemplation of my mortality kept me sleepless into the wee hours of the morning for many nights to come until I had my 2nd annual in-depth examination in December, and everything appeared to be as good as could be expected.

I have lived with thoughts of death for many years. My mother died of breast cancer when she was 42. I was 15. We three siblings were quick learners. Good or bad, I think each of us took away from her death a “why bother?” attitude. I finally lived beyond her death age.  Maybe I was going to live for a while after all. Not very long thereafter, I was diagnosed with severe COPD.

One thing is certain, our mother was seriously depressed, and we her children were too. I don’t exactly know when my brother started taking anti-depressants, but it changed his life and the lives of those around him. My brother suffered many symptoms of OCD. He was, well, rigid. Prozac made him much easier to live with. I can remember vividly the epiphanic moment when I realized just what an effect it had on him. It was during one of my visits to see him in Manhattan. We had left the apartment and were walking on 14th to the Subway station to catch a Westside train. At some point he looked down at his feet and realized he was not wearing the shoes he had planned to wear. I steeled myself, awaiting the temper tantrum that was sure to come as he turned us around and began stomping back to his apartment to retrieve the correct shoes. Imagine my surprise when he merely shrugged, remarked, “It’s a Prozac day,” and kept walking.

Shortly after I returned from Manhattan, I went to my doctor and obtained a prescription for Prozac. It’s hard to explain the difference antidepressants make. The change is relatively subtle. But one day, as a friend explained, you’ll be parked at a red light and out of the blue you’ll hear an inner voice remark, “I love my life.” And that’s exactly what happened. I realized that despite everything, I have had a most excellent life.

In other words, aside from that, for the most part, I’ve truly enjoyed the play.

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