My dear wife is a case manager for a social service agency that provides housing and assistance for those who need it. I am a retired critical care RN with 27 years of bedside care and I have been an Episcopal deacon for eleven years. Basically we are both professional doters. That is all fine and good.
My health is not good.
I’m a man…who hates being fussed over and does not like to complain.
That, dear reader, is the setup for what the people in the storm business call a perfect storm.
I even dislike writing about this. Yet I must. Putting this on paper forces me to keep my reality in focus for myself and gives others a concept of what living with chronic illness and pain is like, dontchaknow? I also write this with the fervent prayer that no one have to live like this. I’m not whining…and please understand that this is not my pity pottie. I have been like this for a long time and just maybe God wants me to put my words to paper so others may find some strength or some hope for themselves. Maybe someone will read this and think, “Oh wow, I am not alone in my suffering! ”
Now, back to the perfect storm!
This is my reality: major joint and back pain that makes me feel like they are exploding…muscle tiredness…pain in my muscles that is NOT cramps–it’s more like a searing hot pain…bad brain fog… dizziness…unsteadiness…a feeling like I may fall…dry burning eyes…sword-like pleuresy from my lung surgery…that whoosh-whooshing I hear in my left ear from a dissecting carotid… and yet a hope that all will be well. Many times my mantra is from the Rolling Stones: “…you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need…” or it’s those amazing words from His Bobness: “Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than people who are most content.”
The perfect storm is my wanting to suck it up and work with and through the pain and tell everyone that I’m doing OK versus my wife’s desire to care for me and make sure that I get good care. She knows that I don’t care for doctors and doctor office visits…I wish she didn’t know that… but dammit she keeps me honest and stands for me when I want to gloss everything over and get the hell out of the damned doctors office so I can quit wasting their time. Dang I hate being a bother.
Lesson for me? Be of good cheer and let God be God. Be honest with the Tish. Let the damned doctors do their work… and continue to be the ears and eyes and hands to those to whom I minister… show them God’s love…never forget to laugh… enjoy the odd juxtapositions and cognitive dissonances that come my way…and never piss off the altar guild.