|Navigating Life's Obstacles, by James Aschbacher|
Remember the trash compactor scene in Star Wars? It can always get worse.
I thought the worst thing that could ever happen to me was losing my Art Boy. And that’s still number one at the top of the list, edging out the Trump administration and the zombie apocalypse. (Wait, aren’t those last two the same thing?)
But that doesn’t mean that Fate is done with me. She still has a few nasty tricks up her sleeve, as I discovered about two weeks ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t stand up. Now, diagnosed with MS about 4 years ago, I’ve been getting accustomed to mobility issues — mostly in walking distances, or standing up for too long. But to stand up at bedside, only to sink immediately to the floor and have to start crawling around? That’s new.
True, my flavor of MS is called Progressive, but I expected the progress to be a little more gradual than overnight!
Thus began my 51/2 day sojourn at Dominican. I confess, for months, I’ve been hoping for some kind of time-out, to to take a break from bill-paying, and banking, and taxes, and, you know, sorrow. I longed for time to just be still, take a few deep yoga breaths, and get a grip. But lying prone on a hospital bed was not what I had in mind.
Truth be told, there were many times in the dark days after losing James that I was ready to go too. In the old ’70s sitcom, Sanford and Son, when things didn’t go right for the rascally widower played by Redd Foxx, he’d grasp his heart and cry to the heavens, “I’m comin’ Elizabeth!” There were moments at Dominican when I started to feel like that. Is it my turn next?
|Who doesn't crave a little time-out? Let someone else do the caring.|
My best friend was feeding my cat, and texting me daily updates. (“Here’s a picture of Bella just before she hissed at me!”) And all the post-James business piling up on my actual desktop at home, most of it requiring my immediate attention, like, yesterday? I was ready to let it all go. My brain had left the building.
But, dimly, I began to perceive that nothing makes a person feel more helpless than an extended stay in a hospital. No matter how doting and caring and attentive the staff is — and the staff at Dominican was great — or perhaps because of all that doting attention, it becomes too easy to let that secret part of you that just wants to be taken care of all the time take over. To lie there and just say yes — to everything.
So at some point, I began to rally. Maybe it was when I was able to get in and out of bed unassisted, or when I discovered a bathroom around the corner in my room (who knew?) that I could use like a grown-up. Maybe it was when I asked them to bring a chair into my room so I could eat meals sitting up, not reclining on the bed like some kind of debauched Roman senator.
|An urgent message from my Spirit Guide!|
But mostly, it was James, my Spirit Guide, giving me a stern talking-to. He would have battled like a Klingon to hold onto this life, if only he’d had the chance. “Don’t even think about letting go!” he warned me. I shuddered at the amount of ’splaining I’d have to do if I opted for the easy way out, the path of least resistance.
Heartbroken is one thing. But losing heart is a choice I decided not to make.
The upshot is, they couldn’t find anything wrong with me to explain what happened. After a CT scan, EKGs, ultrasound, two days of MRIs, and monitoring my vitals every 2.8 seconds, their collective best guess was a random MS episode. A glitch.
They intended to keep trying until they found something. Another four days in acute rehab was recommended, but I’m with Amy Winehouse on that one. Home is the best place to remember how to be me again.