A curious thing has happened. I don’t normally have nightmares, but I am getting nightmares.

I’ve already forgotten most of them, but one from a couple of days ago was so clear and so vivid, I still remember the details. I was watching a Piper Cherokee take off with full flaps. The nose kept going up and up, full power, an unsustainable angle, and the inevitable happened. The plane peeled over and headed straight for the ground…toward me. I watched as the inevitable crash was about to occur, except the plane did not hit me. It just glanced over me. I did not wake up. The crash happened, there was a loud noise, a hole in the ground, and the wreck came to rest a few hundred feet beyond. Then I woke up, my stomach in knots.

My daughter said that I should take an anti-anxiety pill before I go to bed, so I called the pre-op nurse and asked about it. She paused, measured her words, and said “Ken, it is perfectly normal for someone in your situation to have this kind of stress. You are about to go through a very rough procedure.” I thought for a moment. “Oh. Yeah. That makes sense. OK, no worries, and thanks.” That was all I needed, to know that it was natural, that I was OK, nothing was wrong, it’s just how we’re programmed.

I’ve been wondering if it was like this for pilots in WWII who knew a major raid was approaching. They would know that it could be bad, and they could well die or get seriously hurt or be captured, but on the other hand they might come back without a scratch. I know it’s going to be bad, but I also know I won’t die. So which is worse? The known which is bad, or the unknown which could be much worse, or not. I wonder which would generate bigger nightmares.

Of course, those steely eyed WWII movie heroes never had nightmares, although the privates and corporals they commanded certainly did. A good slap in the face seemed to do the trick. Maybe I need someone to come over at 6am every morning and give me a good slap. I’d make the offer except I’m afraid there would be too many takers.

Here is the interesting thing. Once I’m up and around, I accept that this is where I am and that this is what has to happen, and I can function. But in that foggy land between sleep and wake, the transition from the dreamy state where nothing bad can happen to me to the semi-awake condition where the worries of life are magnified, my mind roils at what is coming up. Sometimes it says “no, let’s not do this anymore, this is not fun, let’s go back to Arizona for the rest of the winter, we were having fun there.” And other times it’s just “NO!!!” My heart races, warmth is carried throughout my body, the covers are thrown, I move, I toss. And then – blessedly – I wake up, start focusing on the tasks that need to be done, work the problem.

And then I’m OK.

Note: A heart-felt thank you to all my well-wishers who have extended encouragement and requested that I keep wasting their time with updates now and then. I will keep updating the blog after surgery, although I’ll be under some pretty heavy medication. Come to think of it, the blog might actually be the better for it.

10 thoughts on “Nightmares

  1. Been thinking about you a lot. My tongue tingles when I do. I still remember post-op after my Nov 20, 2017 surgery when my cancerous tumor was removed from my tongue. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. – Ted Fransen


  2. Just so you know, the tongue-in-cheek comments will have to be put on hold!

    All the best–we are praying for you and Family.  You can find me a the Diener Family Chapel at St. Agnes–small world.


    KIRK  W.  MOERMAN, CPA 7075  N.  CHESTNUT  AVE.,  SUITE  101 FRESNO,  CA  93720

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    CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION:  This communication is intended solely for the use of the addressee.  If you are not the intended recipient of this transmission, please delete all elements of this communication from your records and notify me immediately by e-mail or telephone.  If this transmission is received in error, you may not, under any circumstances, utilize or disseminate this information.


  3. Sounds like many of my nights’ “sleep.” I often have dreams (that I was again describing to Barbara just as we were taking our sunset walk with the dogs, vino in hand) that are problematic. I’m happy to wake up and remember Colin Powell’s words of wisdom in “My American Journey”: don’t take counsel with your fears in the hours of darkness, it’s natural to have such gloom in the gloom, and therefore they must just be forgotten. And a good cup of Joe helps !



  4. You are strong Ken.
    With your positive attitude, love and support you can beat this.
    I for one would miss your blog ❤️🥰❤️ Betty



  5. Ken, Thanks for letting me in on your personal journey. There is so much strength there; you are proactive in dealing not only with the physical stuff, but with your mental state as well. Kudos! I’ll definitely be thinking of you moving forward. And you’re right: Carol as well as others (maybe even me) would for sure have volunteered to be the 6am face slapper. Lots of love, Cyn



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