Where I live, when people say
How are you?
they often mean
and don’t expect a real answer.
A typical exchange is:
How are you?
Fine. How are you?
How are you?
(nod and silence)
When people say, “How are you?” to me, my usual response is to answer authentically, in some way, without taking too much time or space (which is not exactly easy, since people are often asking that question on the move).
I’m not sure why I go against the cultural norms, regarding “How are you?” Here are my best guesses, in the moment:
- Because I was born with an unusual heart and followed by doctors since before I could speak, that question has been really important for me to answer honestly and authentically.
- I want to engage in real and valuable communications with other human beings, even if they only last a moment.
- I’m a rebel.
That last bullet point reminds me of a song, from my past.
Before I share that song, I’m going to ask you to guess what song that might be.
Why am I asking you to guess? Because if you were to ask me “How are you?” today, I would answer:
“I’m sad, mad, glad, and scared. How are you?”
and when I’m having lots of mixed emotions, I like to cheer myself up. And this is how I am: I love guessing games AND music.
I am now going to look for the song that just popped into my head — for the first time in years — when I wrote the words “I’m a rebel.”
Oh no! When I searched for the song I remembered, I found that the title was NOT “He’s a rebel,” but something else instead:
(“He’s a Runner” by Laura Nyro, performed by Blood Sweat & Tears found here on YouTube.)
How are you, now that I’ve made that mistake?
How am I? I wonder.
Well, I’m glad to be listening to that song, for the first time in decades. With its interesting chords, voices, instruments, moods, and other musical stylings, it’s making me happy.
How else am I?
I’m also happy with the idea of being a runner, right now. When I was a kid in the hospital, having heart surgeries, I really wanted to run away. But, back then, if people asked me “How are you?” I didn’t tell them.
How else am I?
I’m glad to be writing this, on the anniversary of my first heart surgery/pacemaker implant, on November 22, 1963. Last year, on this same date, I asked myself “How are you?” and wrote this blog post.
How are you about statistical data and research? I wanted to share with you this study I found online, yesterday, when I was searching information about “Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries” (which is one medical name for my very unusual heart).
Here’s the complete abstract:
J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Apr;143(4):885-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.08.031. Epub 2011 Sep 28.
Quality of life and perceived health status in adults with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries.
The purpose of this study is to assess perceived health status and quality of life in adults with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries who have not undergone anatomic repair.
Quality of life as measured by the satisfaction with life scale and linear analog scales and perceived health status as measured by the Short Form 36 Health Survey (version 1) were evaluated in 25 adults with congenitally corrected transposition and compared with a control group of 25 adults with mild, hemodynamically insignificant defects.
Instruments were returned by 83% of patients (25/30; 11 male; mean age, 44.6 ± 16 years). Health status by the linear analog scale was significantly lower (P = .03) in subjects (median, 80; range, 15-100) than in controls (median, 85; range, 65-100). Quality of life by the satisfaction with life scale was also lower (P = .009) in subjects (mean, 24 ± 8) compared with controls. Age was negatively correlated with the Short Form 36 Health Survey physical functioning (r = -0.41, P = .04), bodily pain (r = -0.5, P = .01), and physical component (r = -0.56, P = .004) summary scores in adults with congenitally corrected transposition but not in controls.
Adults with congenitally corrected transposition have lower reported health status and satisfaction with life than a control population, with perceived health status declining with advancing age.
Copyright © 2012 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
This is how I am: I like to interpret data, using my own language. To me, that abstract means that several doctors and researchers got together and asked a bunch of people with my very unusual heart “How are you?” and then compiled the answers to conclude that people like me feel worse, in many ways, than “normal” people, and that difference continues to get more significant, with advancing age.
How am I, about that?
How am I now?
Here’s another way I am: I like to post photos I’ve taken recently. Let’s see if I have any images, on my iPhone, for “How are you”?
How are you?
No matter how you are, thanks for the visit.
Blood, Sweat & Tears!
the best band ever!
Dear Gawd I hate that
“How are you (don’t tell me – I don’t want to know)” drivel!!!