Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News
It has been a topsy turvy kind of year so far. Yes, with less than thirty days in, my life has changed dramatically. And isn't that the way it always goes? We go meandering along day to day with not much changing. Until it does. I am far from the first or the last person to have their reality reorganized for them. But, this was the first time that there were things I could not do, could not change or negotiate my way out of. I am used to action. If your boat springs a leak you simply patch it up and go on your way. Find a strong breeze and sail on. I do not do well with idle hands. The idea of not being able to change someone else placing limits on me. I have done many a thing which I was told I could not do. It is my nature. I love a challenge and being undervalued or over looked has always worked to my advantage. No this time. I have been grappling with new knowledge of the inner workings of my being. That which makes me, like everyone else, human. Fragile. Breakable.
I remember the day I realized that things happened when I was not present. I was four, almost five and my mother took my sister clothes shopping. it occurred to me, that the world was bigger than me. It would take so many more years to learn that I was not the center of that the world, but that is another story. It was a let down, I admit. The truth is rarely kind. As I went along I learned the lessons that no amount of schooling can teach. To put other's before myself and expect them to do the same. To respect other opinions, thoughts and faiths. We are all living out our own truths. Designing our character through our words and our deeds. Things in this first part of the new year have made me ponder. Am I the best me? Have I loved enough? Given enough? I am still breathing, so I must still have more to do. Just like the little girl I was, marveling that my mother and sister continued to exist whether I was present or not, I realize that this world will go on, days spinning into nights without me here to mark them down.
This is not meant to be maudlin, far from it. I am simply taking stock. Checking coordinates and charts. Making adjustments of altitude and attitude. The things in this life I do control. That is where I will set my sights. There are so many things that are beyond our reach to manipulate or guide. Accepting that is within my ability. So I will be reaching out more into this world. With a heart more open. Giving grace where I can, wide berth where I must. I have watched in the last few weeks someone else howl into the wind. Tilting at their own windmills. Casting words and throwing blame. It made them smaller somehow. Their words, clearly caused by their pain, came to define her in a way I am very sure she never meant them to. Now those ugly things said, echo back and blot out whatever good they had tried so hard to achieve. Lost. Gone in a tirade worthy of a small child. Lesson learned. There are things I cannot change, My health is not what it should be. Not even what I believed it to have been. It is a cruel awakening when the truth illuminated by facts, until recently, unknown, reveal themselves.
Sitting in a hospital gown in an ER, my body gave over yet another mystery. One that would give me more questions than answers. I had managed to acquire emphysema. With no help from me smoking, my lungs had betrayed me. I must be gracious in my acknowledgement of my newly realized condition. I told everyone who would listen to stop smoking. I know it is hard. I have never been a smoker, but I have seen so many fight that demon of smoke and ash. I was just settling in to this new me, when my phone rang and a voice on the other end requested more tests, more blood. The third round in a week. So, I set out the next day to give over what was demanded. Something more was amiss. I was satisfied as I was. I did not need another mystery solved. Of course no one in my life was going to let me be an ostrich. Our beaches are far to rocky, with no sand in sight to bury one's head. I was given a task by a dear friend to actually find out what they were testing me for. Something I will confess I have never bothered to wonder. I did not want to know. The child that still lives within me was doing her best to convince me that if I did not know about a thing, well then it could not be true. I am not alone in this little self deception I am sure. So, against my usual judgment I went so far as to ask what they were testing me for. What came next was a completely foreign conversation to me. Terms were given out, numbers and letters and very latin-y sounding phrases were used. I think they do this on purpose. To throw us all off. It is a secret group, speaking a long dead language to keep us on edge. For instance which would cause you more alarm, the fact that you have developed ecchymosis, or that you have a bruise? The first one sounds ominous the other mundane. The nice lady at this doctor's office gave me the order to walk down to the lab. I was sneaky...I read it. I stopped and wrote down all the information that I could glean from this document and then I passed it to the lab. Another nice woman withdraw the needed fluid and she sent me on my way. But while I was sitting there, as she picked out my best vein for this bloodletting ritual, I struck up a conversation. I asked about the test. I knew it's name now. This was actually a retesting.
I had passed the test the first time. Not a test you want to pass either. I am hoping I fail this time around. I have never wished myself into a negative as much as I have in this last week on the bubble. Every time the phone rings, I start to hum. To sing a little ditty I first heard as a child. From a long forgotten remake of The Wizard of Oz named The Wiz. I have played it over and over in my head. I didn't know that I even knew the song, let alone remembered it. When my phone starts to beep at me, I sing back in my not ready for prime time voice "No bad news! No bad news! Don't nobody give me no bad news! So far, it is working.
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