Over the course of my care and recovery I’ve been tossing around a term in my mind that I find to be more elusive than when I didn’t give it much though at all. Some context here; I aggravated an old neck injury sustained in a rollover a decade ago. That aggravation lead to exponentially increased pain in my left arm to the point of weakness and atrophy, and when I had enough of that I saw a doctor.
Some tests and an MRI later I was told my spinal cord was inundated at the C5 through C7 levels, my lower neck, and this was the cause of the pain in my left arm, along with constrictions at the ulnar and carpal tunnels. My first surgery corrected those constrictions, brought back new sensations but failed to ease the pain.
I was also told that I was at risk of paralysis should I sustain any additional trauma to my head or neck. My lifestyle elevates the chances of that happening from ocean kayaking to bullet bikes and I’m not one to sit idly by in the fulness of my times. This, along with my neurosurgeon was enough to convince me to correct my neck by having an anterior cervical discectomy, a procedure that goes through the front of my neck having moved all the pipes and plumbing aside, removes the damaged and damaging disks, replaces them with a bone material extracted from cadavers and then fuses the vertebrae together with a titanium plate.
This was done December 23rd in Salt Lake City and by Christmas Eve I was back at home three hundred miles away in St. George. I was walking four hours after surgery and had a relatively painless ride home, having enough IV pharmaceuticals still in my system where I could function with the debilitating pain of the procedure.
Then the balancing act of the prescribed pain meds, just enough to be comfortable but not so much to render me an idiot. We quickly discovered the prescribed dosages inadequate. Took a day or two but a balance was reached, enough to ease the pain without turning my brain to applesauce.
And that made me wonder about that idea or concept or law, whatever it is, the myth, perhaps, of enough.
If you’ve ever run out of gas in your car, or hors d’oeuvres at your New Year’s Eve bash, enough becomes quantifiable. When you left the Thanksgiving table having undone your trousers, enough was overruled by the pleasure of eating more. Funny how the mind ignores all the organs south of the cerebral cortex until they gang up in revolt after you’ve ignored the warning signs when you passed the body’s concept of enough. We’ve stretched that concept so far gastronomically that we’re not sure we know what enough is, because enough has been driven by appetite instead of need. It’s satisfying the former that obscures the latter.
Enough reeks more havoc though with the mind and with the heart than it could ever do with the gastrointestinal track. As for the alimentary canal, anything in sufficient dose will kill you, but the heart holds bottomless capacities when it comes to human beings, particularly those with whom we are very close or there exists some kind of undefinable affinity.
I believe the antithesis of enough is missing. I don’t mean that literally, as in there is no antithesis to enough. I mean it’s that feeling of missing someone that declares as loudly about affections as it does proximity and time together, that enough might not ever be reached.
If you’ve ever lost or have been separated from a loved one, you know this about enough. And even when you thought yourself satisfied, full, reaching that elusive enough, it doesn’t take many moments later to bring you back around to more.
And that’s where I am in the melancholy of this afternoon. Give me just a little more please.