The True Qualms Of Existence

A couple years ago, a philosophy professor of mine advised our class to never think about how suddenly we could all die. In fact, she urged us not to as we’d eventually go mad. However, me being me, I thought about it very heavily the moment she made her statement.

I don't think...and yet here I am.

I could poof from existence as I write this. You could poof out of existence as you read this. Perhaps we both poof out of existence at the same moment and because our subatomic particles are somehow entangled, our souls end up in the same version of some afterlife where we can spend our wispy eternity together, haunting people in Halloween stores and hiding as the monster under some kid’s bed.

Death is a serious topic. It touches everyone’s life at least once, usually more often. The older we get, the more we have to endure the passing of friends and family; it’s one reason most people say they wouldn’t enjoy the gift of everlasting physical life.

I cannot and will not claim I understand the full amount of grief someone undergoes after losing someone close to them. I’ve seen the impact it can have: I’ve seen it at work, at home, and heard it from friends. I’ve seen that it can cause turmoil and insurmountable pain and it gives me the greatest respect for this thing we call life: something so elusive, so sudden, so dark, has so much power.

People are afraid of the unknown, right? Those of religious faith perhaps not so much as they know what to expect at the end of their life. But for the rest of us, there is a level of uncertainty and perhaps even arrogance around the idea of death. That we can cheat it with some pills. That we can speculate theoretical possibilities with math and physics to keep our mind off the possibility that perhaps death is just nothingness.


Never have I ever experienced the death of someone close to me. There are members of my family who have passed away who I had only met once. My pet passed away when I was ten.

There is one instance in which I thought perhaps death would hit close to home. Most of you are aware of my father’s alcoholism history, which he still battles today. During the time he first began having serious withdrawal symptoms (i.e, seizures), I was still very much a night owl and still in high school. Often I stayed up until six or seven a.m. I’d check on him before I went to sleep just to put my mind at ease.

One afternoon I awoke and he was laying face down in a sleeping position he normally slept on. But I heard a wheezing. I glanced over at him once more and saw a pattern indicative of what he experienced after a seizure. His eyes were fixed towards the left and then I saw the blood. Piles of it. His bladder had let itself go. I asked if he could hear me and although he couldn’t speak or move or blink, he growled somewhere deep from his throat. He started seizing a little bit more, just because of the stress.

I didn’t know where the blood was coming from: that was where the panic started. He was laying in it and I couldn’t see if it was coming from his mouth or elsewhere. I later learned it was from a bite in his tongue, cheek, and the rearranging of his teeth from his jaw clenching.

I also didn’t know how long he’d been in this position. Perhaps a half hour. Perhaps hours. And as many of you probably know, withdrawal seizures don’t stop. They continue rolling like a boulder down an endless hill.

The scene, the blood, distressed EMT’s, the fact that I was home alone, the feeling of guilt for having not been awake in the first place caused my meltdown. I fell into a heap and can’t remember anything beyond that.

When he woke up, his short term, and some other parts of his memory, were gone.

I blamed myself for that for a long time. I still kind of do. In fact, this is a difficult post to write because what followed that incident was a changed life. A life of learning to live with someone who forgot what day my birthday was. A life of learning to deal with the anger outbursts from all of us, a life of learning that even seizures can’t stop addiction. A life of learning that life isn’t permanent.

I set up a contraption in my room which tied around my doorknob, went up on the ceiling, through a hanging hook, and back down to a chair which sat beside my bed. I couldn’t sleep for months and if I did, I made sure there were tons of noisemakers near that chair set up. It was there so that when I slept, and if I had a seizure, my leg would most likely knock over the chair onto the stuff on my floor and make noise so I wouldn’t die in such a position.

I didn’t think he would make it that day. I was convinced I’d been partly responsible for his impending death.

Since then I’ve been preparing myself for the big day. Not just for him, but for anyone. I learned to tell myself that I can’t be responsible for someone else’s life choices and that if death came before any of us wanted it to, than I had no say in that either. For months I kept that chair by my bed. I still think about it every now and then, five years later.

This is a story left untold, one I generally avoid because it hits deeper than any other. It plays flashbacks of scenes and feelings I still haven’t processed. Before, I’d never dare speak word of this story. Now I’m telling the internet.


What I learned is that control isn’t something we have, it’s something we created as a figment of our imagination in a world of spontaneity and chaos. It’s something we wish we could have. I’ve learned to stop wishing for it. The more I wish for it, the more I want it, and the more disappointed I am when I can’t have it.

When the day comes, for me, for him, for anyone I know, it will be another life changing moment and that’s okay. Because if life never changed, no one would live.

So Funny I Forgot To Laugh


That moment you mean to type “terms in anatomy” and instead accurately spell “terms in humanomy”.

I mean, technically I’m not wrong.

Then again there could be beaver anatomy or chinchilla anatomy or dinosaur anatomy–it’s not just all about us.

Be that as it may, I think I should coin the term “humanomy” to mean “the study of human anatomy” before some Ph.D out there decides to take all the credit. Us Undergrads can get wildly creative, as you can see.

*Fun Fact* If you google “humanomy”, you get a human anatomy book in Spanish on amazon. It’s 23 dollars if anyone is interested.

book humanomy.PNG

People wanted me to take human anatomy at my college, but I went in those labs a year ago, I saw those dead bodies with the white sheet on their face pulled so tight you can still make out the indent of their eyes, the tent pitched by their eroded nose, and the thin sliver between their upper and bottom lips. I’ve seen a girl, with the help of her trusty man-side kick, shove their hands into an abdominal cavity, and hoist up the intestines into a vertical angle until we could see the ridges of the spine. I saw the green spotted cirrhosis of the liver and some woman shoved a human heart in my face.

The thing is bigger than I thought.

Sights like those make me feel my organs, and I don’t like that.

I could handle the smell and I didn’t run out of the room like some people–a rather natural reaction to being crammed in a freezer lab with several dead bodies inches away from your supple, living flesh. You almost expect them to reach out and shake your hand and say “hey, nice day today, eh?”

But nope. They dead.

Instead, I looked around and wondered how many serial killers were being created that day.


I should clarify: I stood there in the middle of a freezer with dead bodies, grinning to myself and thinking about serial killers. I’m not creepy at all.

I’ve been a little off this morning. Hence the serial killer stuff.

Because I’ve been drinking more water and getting a little bit of exercise, my energy level has been exceptional, and last night I couldn’t sleep. My class is at 8 a.m. I tossed and turned until 2:30 worrying about the fact that I couldn’t sleep and that worry made me worry farther about my worry.


It’s the conceited, mangled cousin of Meta-cognition.

Whenever I have trouble falling asleep I have trouble distinguishing my dreams from reality. Several times I saw a person standing in my room at the foot of my bed with blonde hair, distorted, pulling at her/his hair and face and skin and silently screaming. Spiders crowded in the corner and there were conversations I had with no one in particular, conversations I can’t remember fully.

I woke at 6:30, the time I wanted to, and felt perplexed by the voices I heard in the other room but figured I was dreaming again.

When I woke up a few minutes later I learned my father had yet another seizure (or set of seizures) and his blood pressure was 252/190.

If you’re not medical savvy or have never paid attention to your check ups in the doctor offices, you might not know what a normal level is. A normal level is 120/80.

He hasn’t been drinking.

We’ve been giving him his blood pressure medication; my mother gives him the night pill because he forgets they’re for his blood pressure and ends up poppin’ them like sleeping pills.

The morning pills are harder to regulate. But he usually remembers to take them.

I theorized he had another one of his “temporal” or partial seizures (whichever, it hasn’t even been officially diagnosed yet) that blossomed into a Grand Mal.

The doctors at the hospital, according to my mother, said seizures can also be caused by fatally high levels of blood pressure.

But there’s no way to tell if the blood pressure came before the seizures, or if the seizures came before the blood pressure, so to automatically assume either is rather irresponsible. It’s a correlational situation and all of us in the research, psychology and statistical world should know those can be relatively unreliable.


They’ve admitted him. Honestly, I think it’s time he see both a neurologist and a cardiologist and get some liver tests done. It’s been 8-10 years since he had a mild heart attack and the doctors said he had congestive heart failure; he’s done nothing, since, in terms of heart health. He’s been an alcoholic or over thirty years, there’s no way all that acetaldehyde hasn’t taken it’s toll.

When you drink alcohol (in regards to those who drink a lot or are addicted), a liver enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase spurts into action. Yes, your liver specializes for these types of incidents. Respect your body.

But when it metabolizes, acetaldehyde, a naturally occurring biochemical Satan, births itself into existence. The alcohol isn’t what fucks you up, it’s all these metabolite dudes actively racing around your system like deranged toddlers on a sugar high.

Luckily your liver has an enzyme that breaks down that, too.


Fuck giving respect to celebrities for being stuck up little hoes, it’s time to turn that energy into yourself. Your body does more for you than you could even imagine. 

Active acetaldehyde breaks down tissues. It’s a toxin. It’s usually what causes a lot of liver and tissue complications associated with alcoholism.

As you can see, this pharmacology class is paying off.

I don’t necessarily agree with all of this professors approaches to how he views his counseling field, or his view on addiction, but I think that’s the glory of learning.

If you boil life down into broth in your stainless steel pot, you’d see it’s just made up of perceptions and beliefs. They guide you, whether you acknowledge it or not. So, if you’re also inclined in the slightest to Ethics, or you just have some common sense, you would reason that taking and believing words from someone’s mouth just to believe it, just because they say it, just because they’re credible, is essentially letting them and their values, their morals, and their ethical standing, dictate how you make decisions in your life.

Therefore I take what I can learn about the physical body and brain from this class and I move on. I listen to ideas and I take them as just that: ideas. Ideas that someone came up with that may or may not be worth following. I’ll find out for myself.

When my father’s doctor says “it’s weird, your liver test came up with a hepatitis virus but it’s not showing up in your system” my first inclination is not relief, but skepticism. Perhaps its the beginning stages. Perhaps something wonky is going on with your tests. Perhaps he’s beginning that long path down the road of hepatitis and eventually cirrhosis if he doesn’t get his act together.

That’s one thing I’ll never agree on that my professor said:

“There are plenty resources in this town, it’s amazing how we’ve grown”.


That’s straight up bullshit. If you have great insurance and a great employer and make decent amounts of money, your resources are great. If you’re on county medicaid and your unemployed and depressed and an addict and get run around the system, you have two things working against you: socioeconomic status and personal motivation.

If he doesn’t want to take personal responsibility for his actions, that’s one thing. Being dragged through the mud over and over again is another.

At least the ones with the good insurance and tentative doctors have a chance to be properly educated and motivated a little.

Poverty effects the mind just as much as it does the finances.

Rant END.