(This post was presented in ChronicBabe Blog Carnival #3: Learning to Live with Pain on May 4, 2010. "Many of us ChronicBabes live with everyday pain. Here are a ton of different perspectives on what it's like to live with pain - and how to do it with style, humor, and panache.")
Yesterday was EXHAUSTING to say the least. I had my pre-registration at the hospital for my shoulder replacement surgery. I got to my orthopedic surgeon's office at 2:15pm, well 2:30 because I missed the turn and had to find a place to turn around and then make my way back to the office. I got there a bit past my appointment time then. So already my energy was a bit anxious and stressed out. I hate driving on Peachtree Rd. in Atlanta anyway. It is a big, windy and busy street with lots and lots of crazy drivers. People are always crossing the double yellow line. Just last month someone crossed over the double yellow line and hit someone head on right in front of me. Not a pleasant sight. Very frightning in fact. And yesterday afternoon someone decided to make a left-hand turn from the far right land, cutting in front of cars in 2 other lanes! Incredible. So, I was a bit late, but I made it, my blood pressure was high, I'm sure; but I made it!
After meeting with the physician's assistant, my husband and I headed across the street to admissions at the hospital. We filled out the paperwork--I FILLED OUT THE PAPERWORK!...I met with the clerical person and went over the insurance information and other important billing information. Jim sat in the chair and crunched on his pretzels loudly and sipped his soda like he had a microphone held up to his mouth. I thought it would be best for him to leave and head into work. He kept saying that he wanted to stay. I knew that he really wanted to be there for me, but I also knew that he really did not want to be THERE. When I was finally called back to the admissions nurse, she told him that he had to stay in the waiting area. I told him since he couldn't come back with me anyway, he should just go ahead and leave. So he left...
This huge feeling of relief came upon me. I know that seems rude, but he didn't want to be there anyway. The energy wasn't good. He was anxious, making me nervous. I really don't mind waiting. I feel like I spend most of my life waiting--in the doctor's office, in traffic, in line, for Jim to come home from work, for dinner to cook, for Jim to find time away from work, at the post office, at the bank, for the pain to go away, for a birthmother to pick us so we can finally adopt a baby, for my surgery date to finally come, for the other joints to collapse so that they can also be replaced, for a diagnosis, to see if my meds will work, to see how long they will work, to see if the change in my meds will help, for my remicade I.V. bag to be mixed in the pharmacy, to have my I.V. infused over 3 hours, for a taxi, for my surgery date to finally get here (hmmm, I said that one twice), at the vet, for the groomer's to call that Max and Cookie are ready, at the airport--and I really haven't lost my patience. I have no problem waiting. I know that patience is a virtue. I know that getting all fidgety and nervous will not make you get what you are waiting for any quicker, than waiting patiently. So I wait quietly and still. I have actually reached a point where I am content with just waiting. I don't have to be doing something while I'm waiting, like reading a magazine. I will read a book, or work on my laptop if there is something that I need to be working on at the time that I am waiting. But I love that I can actually just be still. But in this stillness, I pick up on the energy of all those around me that have not adapted to the waiting game, and I lose it! I can no longer just be. I absorb that nervous energy and become just as anxious! This anxiety comes out in how I try to control how everything and everyone (even God) affects me and how the outcome will turn out, and this is really difficult for me. For instance, I don't mind waiting for my surgery, but until I have searched and searched for the right surgeon to set the date of the surgery do I feel comfortable. I need to be in control of the search for the physician, or my destiny in other situations. Now I am working on that. It is the biggest thing in my life that I'm working on right now. I want to be able to step back and let go and let God. There are times I believe that we are not supposed to just sit and wait, but help things along, like look for the best surgeon in town, etc. But then I have to know when I have done enough to help in the control over my own outcomes, and just let God do his job. I have not reached that point yet. As I said, I am really working on it. But, once I know that there truly is nothing that I can do but wait, there are no people to call, no extra footwork for me to do to make sure that everything is on the right path. And, again, I really think this is because of all the absorbed energy from those around me who are so anxious. I get that way, when people are driving crazy on the road, even though, I have no where to be and am very relaxed and still. Obviously, this is not my energy, it is someone else's. So this is what was happening to me yesterday as I sat in the waiting area with my anxious, stir-crazy husband! So that is why I did better when Jim decided to go to work.
As for my time with the admissions nurse, well, it went very well. The surgery date is still set for March 29th as scheduled. I have to be there at 9am for a 1pm surgery. Now, talk about no better time for patience. That's a long time to wait for your surgery. That is a great time to be still!
She began by going over my history with the medications that I am taking. As I was going over all of my auto-immune diseases--sjogren's, psoriatic arthritis,--bone/joint diseases in addition--fibromyalgia, avascular necrosis of hips, knees, and shoulders,--and allergies--latex, and some antibiotics...along with many other medical conditions...then the nurse told me she would be taking blood and performing an EKG. She put a red I.D. bracelet on my right wrist and told me not to remove it for 2 weeks so to have it on when I came in for my surgery. Wow, that's a long time to wear a hospital I.D. bracelet! But I will follow instructions. I just can't submerge it in water. Can do! No dishwashing, no baths. I will take showers though, I promise. So, the nurse tells me that in all of her days as an intake nurse, she has never had a patient with as extensive of a history and as many meds as me. She wanted to know how I did it. How I did it? I just do. If I didn't do it, what then? I have to do it! I have no choice. She proceeded to tell me at least 5 times how proud of me she was. How nice of her! But she doesn't have to be proud of me, I'm just surviving, persevering in a sense. Otherwise, life would not be worth living. I believe we make our life worth living, and if we don't, I think it comes back to us in the end. I believe that we mapped out our blueprints before we were born, so we decided what we wanted, and what we could handle, so tough tuckas. If you didn't think you'd be able to handle what was gonna be dealt to you, then you should have thought about it before you wrote it in your plan.
She said to me that she has never met ANYONE with an attitude for life like me. She thought that I should teach a class on how to have a good attitude toward life, no matter what. She had never met anyone with such a wonderful attitude who was NOT EVEN SICK! She couldn't even imagine how someone like me could be so happy and optomistic. I said, "what do I have to be depressed about?" Then I laughed. She laughed with me, and said, "that is exactly what I'm talking about. You should be a life coach, and I'm totally serious!"
Well, perhaps I'll think about this life coach thing. I do have a lot to offer--tough life, positive thinking, patience, etc.--but would anyone listen to someone like me?....Still, I will continue to keep my postive and happy attitude. It may not heal my chronic illnesses, but if anything at all, I feel better when I am happy and positive, when I help others, when I'm selfless, when I love others before myself! I really am a glass half-full, life is full of rainbows, and let the sunshine kind of gal! I wouldn't change a thing!