Friday, February 4, 2011

"Enjoy the time you have..."

I got a call today from the Nurse Manager overseeing my grandmother's care.  She was calling to say that my grandmother was resting comfortably and in good spirits after receiving her 4th PIC line in a year's time.  A new infection cropped up.  And because I am who I am, with just enough medical knowledge to give myself an ulcer, I had to ask her a question.  In fact, I ask a question every time she calls me.  Keep in mind, this woman is hysterical and loves to harass me.  The exchange went something like this.

me:  "wait...can I ask a question?"
her:  "ugh...yes, go ahead."
me:  "so will this infection cause the dormant staph to flare back up again?  Because with all she's been through, I don't think she could..."
(((She interrupted me)))
her:  "hey listen, what did I tell you yesterday?  We take this one day at a time.  Right?"
me, looking down at the floor in tears, thankful she couldn't see me:  "yeah"
her:  "Tina, enjoy the time you have with her and don't overthink things.  None of us knows what'll happen tomorrow.  You know all about that.  Worrying is just gonna send you into a flare."

How'd she know that tidbit, you ask?  She also has ms.

We all know she's right.  Because one minute, you're living life.  And the next?  You find yourself in an MRI tube with giant earplugs stuffed into your ears, a needle in your arm, GAD running through your body, a stifling, plastic collar touching your throat (but don't swallow!), and a silly, plastic, hockey mask-looking apparatus over your face.  And if "you" were me, you laid there praying it wasn't something worse than those two, lower case letters. 

MS definitely changed the way I live my life.  Sure, it's slowed me down.  I quickly learned the term "energy bank" and am better learning how to "budget" that.  I wouldn't say I worry about tomorrow, but 20yrs from now?  Eh, occasionally.

Sure, those are the negatives...but it's also taught me some very valuable lessons.  I feel like I appreciate things more now than I used to.  I take less for granted.  I will be late to your party, because I've stopped to photograph a beautiful sky.  I will be late for work or some other obligation, because I've taken the opportunity to talk with a friend I've run into, or someone I've come across in passing who looks like they may need encouragement.  I give praise to God, because I have a family and a boss that fully understand this of me.  I also give praise, because for as crappy as ms is, it does have its way of keeping me close to the Lord.  Without it, I'd be off on my own, thinking I was in full control of my life, making a mess of things.  Okay, so there may be times I still do that...but I'm quickly reminded of the err of my ways!

The more I think about it, it really does simplify life when I focus on her words.  And it's not like I've never heard a similar phrase before, but it hit me differently today for some reason.  Maybe it was because she was playfully yelling at me, or maybe it's because she also has ms and we communicate telepathically?  Either way, it was a good reminder.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? - Matthew 6:27

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