Then, everything changed.

I saw my pulmodude Monday.  He gave me two options, given that I have lost one third of my lung function:  “You must not return to bedside nursing because of the condition of your lungs, so talk to your supervisors at work about a lateral transfer to a non-clinical role OR you must take a medical disability retirement.”  I went to the VA spa yesterday and found out that the VA does not give lateral transfers unless the injury is work related.

I came home from HR with about an inch thick stack of paperwork to initiate a medical disability retirement the Federal Government after almost 27 years of service.

Today I returned to pulmodude’s office to sign a medical release for the VA.  I was given an envelope that I opened when I got in my car.  Inside was a physician’s certificate to the DMV for handicapped plackards to hang from the mirror of my car when I park.  At the bottom of it he checked “Permanant Disability.”

Then it all hit home.  My life has changed.  That’s not a bad thing; my life will just be different.  I’ve already learned to plan things out and take things slow and easy.  I’m living life with more intentionality, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

I am reminded over and over of Saint Augustine’s Prayer:

God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;
when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost all courage. Flood the path ahead with light, we pray; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to your honor and glory.   AMEN

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2 thoughts on “Then, everything changed.

  1. Oh, dear Brud… I had a very similar reaction when I got my own handicapped placard about a month ago. I get some laughs (including from myself) when I describe that symbol as a dude with mega-badonkadonk, but the truth really did slam home HARD when I held that placard in my hand.

    It really is a different world, the world of chronic (and often invisible) illness. There is so much you’ll learn — so much I know you already have learned — and so much you’ll experience. I most heartily commend to you the site http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com and most especially the “Spoon Theory” story there.

    Perhaps the hardest for me is the continuous cycle of loss and grief. Each time my life narrows and I see the boundaries of my world moving inward, I grieve for one more thing that I’ve lost. Often this is grief for futures that can no longer come to be, and that’s really hard to deal with, too. I’d never realized (had never had any reason to) that chronic illness and disability bring all these things with them.

    I’m so sorry that you’re in this place, too, dear one. As I have for years now, I hold you in my prayers, holding you up in the Divine Light. Do not be afraid, Brud. God’s peace be with you.

    Blessings and many many great big hugs,
    hedwyg (aka Mrs. Rollins)

  2. Heck, good parking is the best part of a dreadful disease!

    That, and the discovery that pink shoes will go with many, many things (including some vestments)…

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