Not as well as I would like. As I have said, my first thought was being grateful that I didn't have a brain tumor or something. Once I got past that, things went a little downhill, I fear.
Let me get out of the way what I think was an appropriate reaction. I didn't ask "why me?" Because, let's be honest, why not me? I don't think I have a special dispensation that keeps me from having bad things happen to me. Getting upset with God felt like a millionaire whining that they were over charged by a few bucks. In actuality, if someone was going to have a medical problem, I would be a good candidate -- I have good social support, good medical insurance, and flexible work options. I am not a single mother who will have no one to watch her kids if she gets sick.
But my nose was definitely out of joint. I remember looking at my toenails and thinking that I needed to trim them. I was immediately assailed with the thought that I wasn't going to do it. I was going to let them grow until they clacked on the floor when I walked. So there! And shaving my legs? Ha! No way!
I texted my sister and told her I was never going to cut my toenails ever, ever again. "Me either!" she wrote back in true sisterly solidarity. "We will have long toenails together!"
I felt a little better.
So, how did I handle the possibility that I had a debilitating neurological condition?
Well, I shopped on Ebay, for one. It is funny how, once you start looking around, there are all kinds of things that you never knew that you needed that suddenly make a good deal of sense. Like the antique spinny condiment holder.
I thought that I would get it and put little jars in it for office supplies. You know, for paper clips and stuff. Today it looks like this ...
Sam has taken it over and I think I like his use of it better. He puts pictures in there for me. My favorite is this note I found a couple of days ago.
"I am all ways here for you, siad Sam
You can see why I don't have a whole lot to complain about.
The metal cigarette case that I thought vaguely would make a nice card case (I never have a business card when I need one) didn't. It was cheap and nothing like the picture. It wasn't worth sending back. Anyone need a cigarette case?
And I got some nice odd rings. I don't know what the sudden fascination was for rings, but there you have it.
And I got some Christmas presents. Ebay for Everyone!!
My daughter noted darkly that I Had a Problem and accused me of being addicted to Ebay. I loftily informed her that it was an upswing, but any deviation from my normal not-buying would be exaggerated.
And I went through a book buying phase from Amazon. I completed my collection of books on treatment of schizophrenia and the history of mental health treatment.
In addition to my odd spate of shopping (believe me, I am not a big shopper), I felt crabby whenever I saw someone doing something physical -- like running. I would think, snippily, when seeing a jogger -- "well, isn't that nice for you."
I think I was angry. Not at my fate or anything, but at my body. It wasn't enough that it was getting older and wrinkled, now it had to become a major topic and time-waster. All of the normal betrayals of age were driving me nuts. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way that I was tired. I hated that I was gasping after walking up two flights of stairs. I tried to line dance and almost fell over. Every time I dropped my keys or lost something, I was just soooo irritated.
And I regained the five pounds that I had lost, plus two. And I didn't care, even when I had to buy new jeans because the old ones didn't fit. In a size that I have never been in before. My body deserved stretch jeans. Ugly ones at that. I almost got a pair of 80's acid-washed tapered jeans, but stopped short of that. A moment of sanity.
And I was getting these little weird cuts and scrapes, and because of the aspirin dose I was taking, they weren't healing. I was at work and I fell into the gate and scraped my arm and bled copiously for minutes. I don't know what I did on the unit, but I was walking around with a scrape that it practically took a tourniquet to staunch. I am afraid that I am going to get MRSA, because we have periodic outbreaks of it, which is fairly disgusting. Kim, my friend and co-worker, looked at me in shock the other day and said, "What happened to your forehead!?" It was bleeding ... just lovely. And not a little.
Ewww! Ewww! Gross!
Stupid, stupid body.
Now that I am feeling better, I am less annoyed at how my body is functioning, but only just.
So, if I shopped and gained weight, what didn't I do when confronted with the possibility that I had a debilitating neurological condition?
I didn't pray.
I just couldn't.
About three weeks ago, I finally confessed this to Kim, because I knew that she had been praying for me. She asked me why I couldn't pray, and I struggled to articulate it.
I told her that I just felt like it was so ungrateful to ask for God to heal my body. It seemed petty and unnecessary. And I could not even consider getting those words out -- they lodged in my throat.
"God, I know that You have given me so much that I could never ask for anything else, but please take this one small thing away from me. I know that other people are really suffering, but this is inconvenient. I am tired. And my leg is all tingly!!"
And I know all about how we are to ask for everything and that God knows what we need before we even ask it, but I just couldn't do it. I felt weird enough asking people to pray for me.
I think that part of it is that I see people who are suffering more than I could imagine handling, every day. I know people who are looking at a life of imprisonment, who suffer from voices that torment them, from paranoia that causes them terror that I cannot imagine.
And it is not that I think Christ would grudge me the request. And I know that I am to lay all my burdens down at His feet, for He cares for me. I know that. Heart, mind, soul, spirit and to the bone. I know without a doubt that God loves me, because I can see it in all the world around me, every moment. And that He ardently desires all that is good for me.
So, why couldn't I pray about this? Not even for healing, but not at all. It was like a topic that I couldn't even broach.
Of everything I thought I would ever, ever do, this is not one of them. It never crossed my mind that I would be unable to pray. I felt mute. And my silence surprised and disappointed me.
So, the other day, I finally managed a small, tiny prayer, because Kim was right and she had taken me to task.
I just asked for Jesus to walk with me. That is all. But I knew He was already, but He likes to be asked, I think. And I said that I was grateful for His goodness.
And I felt better.
I still don't know why I couldn't pray, but I think I am past that now. My prayers are about the things that are really important -- my family, my patients, the things that I am grateful for. And I can say how grateful I am that Jesus is with me in all things -- this no more or less than anything else. That is a truth I can manage.
I have been listening to Jonny Lang, and his voice suits my soul right now. It is sweet and raw and he has a lovely, surprising falsetto that just pierces me.