Sunday, October 1, 2017

Introducing Steve 2.0...

REACH Air Ambulance
The REACH Air Ambulance pilot shared, "I remember that day really well, because it was so remarkable. We weren't flying much in December, because the cloud ceiling was so low. We weren't flying that day at all. But, the call came in for you, and as soon as I hung up, the cloud ceiling lifted. Then, when we got up to OHSU, it was so windy up on the hill, that I couldn't land."

He continued, "I realized we were going to have to take you across town to Providence, and come back to OHSU in an ambulance. I remember thinking that this wouldn't be good for you because of all the traffic and the time of day. As soon as I decided to make one more landing attempt, the wind stopped and I could land. It was remarkable."

Shift ahead to August 4, 2017, sitting in an exam room at the OHSU Neurology Office in the Center for Health and Healing.

Dr. Lui came bursting in to report on the results of my brain angiogram the day before, "Everything is excellent! It's gone!"

"What do yo mean?" I asked.

"I mean it's gone!" he replied.

I didn't understand, "But what do you MEAN?"

He finally got through to me, "I mean the aneurysm is gone and you're fine! Everything is excellent!"

"But what about the appointments I have scheduled with the neurologist in Corvallis?" I asked.

"Cancel them. You don't need them. You're fine."

Introducing Steve 2.0...

In the Eagle Cap Wilderness/July 2017

This is Steve Bittner 2.0. I have to admit, and I think the people around me will agree, that version 2.0 is an upgrade. The first version wasn't bad, but the second version has had some of the bugs worked out, and is a much better version. 

The two stories above are two chapters in the Brain Adventure of 2016-2017. If you read the two previous posts from January and February, you will read parts of the story of how I went to the edge, returned, and have continued to live and enjoy life, thanks to the God of Heaven. 

I am told by the medical community that most people who suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm don't survive to even make it to the hospital, and if they do survive, there is usually cognitive and/or physical impairment. I'm fine. 

The road back from the edge hasn't been without its bumps and twists and turns, and I was pretty crazy for the first two weeks of my recovery (My wife may say longer!), but I have to say that God has been so merciful to me and I am so grateful.

I am a better person having gone through this experience. I would never wish it on anyone, but I do now understand a bit more when someone goes through difficulty and they say they would do it again. I used to think they were just spouting off some trite, sanctimonious comments about how enlightened they now are.

Now I get it. Maybe. At least a little bit.

Having come so close to the edge has changed me in profound ways. I see people differently. I am less judgmental. Simple things are more wonderful. Going to sleep in peace is a joy. Waking up is an even greater joy. I feel so privileged to be able to do what I do each day. Morning hikes have become my sanctuary. I have lost nearly 50 pounds. My family is more precious to me.

I don't know why I was spared. I don't know why the Father rescued me. I do know that I am doing all I can to live every day the best way possible, to share His kindness wherever I am, to enjoy being in His presence and in the presence of friends, coworkers, and family.

So, here's to the next chapter and my 60th year! After August 4, 2017, and the news I received that day, I felt like I could formally introduce Steve 2.0. So, here I am! If I haven't seen you since the start of the Brain Adventure I look forward to seeing you again!

Love life.