Breathe

Have I ever mentioned how impatient I am? I want to know everything. And I want to know it right now. When I first suspected I had RA, I immediately began learning everything I could about it. I spent hours - probably days - learning about how RA works, what drives it, what might affect it, and how to best combat it. I read up on the blood tests used to diagnose it, how to understand the lab reports, and what the medications could do to help. In becoming more informed, I became less fearful. Long before I ever saw a Rheumatologist, I knew about my condition, the medications that were likely to be prescribed, and about how the disease might progress.

I tend to approach life this way. Knowledge is my armor, my shield, and my sword. I use it to both protect and defend myself and the people I love. There are other ways to fight, and I use those too when I must, but knowledge is my preferred tool. When it doesn't work, when words fail, I am left scrambling for a position that is tenable. Only after I am convinced that my efforts will avail nothing do I move on to acceptance of what is, deep reliance on God, and faith. I know this shouldn't be my second position, it should be my first. I struggle with this daily.

I was raised to be independent and taught to do things for myself whenever I could. Further, I was taught that if I saw a task that needed to be done and I had the ability to complete it, then it was my duty to do so, no questions asked. Help was something you looked for when all other avenues failed. And that included help from God. In his later years, my father's outlook on this issue changed, but for much of my childhood, extreme self-reliance was his watchword and the way he lived his life. When I was in my late thirties and going through my divorce, my dad took me aside and said, "don't be afraid to pray and ask God for the help you need. God loves you and wants to hear from you always, and especially when you're hurting and sad. Give him the chance to help you, just like you'd give me the chance to help you." That advice has stayed with me, and I've struggled to put it into practice, especially when things get bad. Like now.

The past seven days have been nightmarish. A terribly stressful event last Wednesday left me shattered and reeling. Two years ago, I would have rebounded quickly - at least physically. But now, my body's health seems to be inextricably linked to my mental-emotional state. Who knows, maybe it always was. I spent Thursday and Friday trying to make sense of something that I just don't understand. By Friday night, my body was weak and I had been unable to keep anything down for more than a few minutes at a time since Wednesday at lunch. On Saturday morning, I was cold and unable to get warm. My body vibrated and just walking across the bedroom left me exhausted. My daughter drove me to the ER, they checked me in and started trying to figure out what was going on with me. Tests revealed a severe kidney infection. I was given fluids; saline with glucose, Rocephin, and morphine for the pain that was radiating out from the center of my back. I was still shuddering intensely and I felt as though my body was full of ice from top to bottom. My teeth rattled. I think my heart finished breaking around then; I remember being almost incoherent and crying, "I want my daddy." My face and extremities were numb, I was freezing to death, and all I could think of was how much I wanted my dad. My daughter assured me that he was there with me, watching over me, praying for me. In that moment I could feel his strength coming through her. I knew that help was there for me, if I'd just ask for it.

In the days since, I've been trying to cope with a new reality. Beliefs that were a part of my foundation were shaken. I was left weak, needing help from people I would have preferred to nurture. It is hard to admit neediness. Hard to accept help. Hard to hear your seventeen-year-old tell you, "Mom, you need to eat something. I don't want to spend another day in the ER." I've been praying a lot, trying very hard to accept things the as they are now, to acknowledge what I can't change, and to live with things the way they are.

I don't know what is going to happen. I can't control how this ends. I can't make things turn out the way I desperately want them to. Not in my life. Not in my job. Not with my health. I can only make the best choices I can, and pray for strength and ability.

The past week has been one of the hardest I've endured. Pain has come from every direction, faster and harder than I can handle. There's the ever-present ache of the RA which varies in strength from four to nine on a scale of one to ten most days. There has been the pain from my infected kidneys, which has made my stomach churn and my abdomen cramp. Then there's the pain from my broken heart, which feels like it shattered, and who knows when it might mend? So much hurt. So much sorrow. And nothing to do with it but just pray and wait, be patient, and breathe...

Comments

  1. I love you so much. Thank you for baring such a personal place. It makes my bad days seem not so alone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love you too Mare. Really, we are never alone. It is just so hard to feel the presence of the Divine until the bottom completely drops out and there is nothing left to cling to.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Prologue: The Pied Piper

The Importance of Access

Hope is in Short Supply