It’s been one of those
weeks months years!!
I’m in a melancholy frame of mind. Each day I awake expecting a different return on my daily investment. And each day it has played out the same story: beginning with hopefulness, ending in defeat. Yet, I keep getting up and trying again… One Day at a Time.
I can trace this defeatist attitude back to the beginning of last week; the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day. It’s that time of year when fall ushers in a season of transition, rest and reflection. My husband and I were struck by the lack of memories created this past summer. We were overwhelmed by a year that had contained one “loss” after another. No, it wasn’t a traumatic year (health wise); we’ve certainly have had our share of those. But in its mundaneness, it almost felt worse. We felt we truly had nothing to show for the past nine months of “just getting by.”
It’s been a year of “take-aways.” It has felt like we have been punished, our privileges revoked, for actions we didn’t commit. We’ve had to accept one “reality of life” after another, with no reprieve. After five years (!) of a pending lawsuit against the medical providers that ignored my acute symptoms resulting in a ruptured colon, sepsis lasting two weeks, and culminating in the infamous words, “You have a 10% chance of making it through the surgery. You need to say goodbye to your husband,” we were told we had to drop the case. That there was no doubt the evidence showed clear negligence on the doctor’s part (they even admitted to such in deposition!), but my multiple underlying conditions muddied the waters so much that a jury would be hard pressed to agree on a guilty verdict (and we would be out upwards of $200,000 for even trying). Hence, Loss #1: no chance of financial security for you two! Then, just mere months later, we were informed by my GYN that we should never, ever, ever attempt to get pregnant, because doing so would result in a 95% chance of death (for both myself and the fetus). Major Loss #2: life-long hope, wish, most-certain dream, dashed. And this cycle of loss has continued; punishments administered just by the sheer fact that I am sick. They haven’t all been so big and life-altering, but the small punches knock you down over time just the same.
It’s also been a year of “give-aways.” Unfortunately, not like the Prize Patrol kind, but the bill man’s at the door requesting you give-away all your money kind! Every time we’ve accumulated a small nest egg to take a trip or do something “normal” (like go out to dinner), we’ve been hit by another unexpected financial necessity: the cat’s been sick, the van’s been sick, my feet are sick and need new soles, on and on! Thankfully we’ve been able to cover these excessive, unexpected expenses, but it’s also left the cookie jar empty… not even a crumb for a desperate late night snack. I’m feeling this so markedly in this time and space, because it is now, today, that we were supposed to be on our vacation to Cape Cod; our “healing respite” we called it. Yet, one more thing we looked forward to for months that we had to forsake, just to get by in the living present.
And, that’s it… the only thing certain in my life is The Present: this very moment in front of me. My husband bemoans that we should never plan anything, we just have to cancel it anyways. And, to some extent, I agree. It’s extremely discouraging to get your hopes up only to have them dashed down over and over again. It’s one hell-ride of a roller coaster. But, I can’t go through life without having dreams. At the same time, it’s a stark reminder to live and enjoy each present moment, regardless of what you are looking forward to on the horizon. Sometimes, we have our heads stuck so far up in the clouds, we forget to enjoy the amazing scenery beneath our feet.
I admit; I’ve been in a funk. I know that we all have to make sacrifices, with the hope that the future will be brighter. But, and I guess this is where my P.T.S.D. comes in to play; I’ll get scared that there won’t be a “next time.” I’ve lost so much time, so many years, to being on my death bed sick that I get fearful when time passes me by that could have been filled with larger than life living. People will often say, “well, none of us know when our time will come; I could get hit by a car tomorrow!” Yes, that’s true. But, let’s face; most people don’t have a clock ticking down at rapid speed, like those of us with severe chronic illness. We live with our mortality every day.
This “Debbie Downer attitude” has kept me from blogging recently. Yet, it feels cathartically healing to write this all out on page and share it with you. And it has helped to refocus my intentions. I may not be communing with the seals of Cape Cod right now, but I am communing with all of you. And I am grateful to be fully alive, and fully present in this very moment.