This morning, every moment of three days of intense preparation combines with my 61-3/4 years, that five extra pounds that I regained (with ten others) and can’t compel myself to lose, and the nasty little virus which eats at my synapses. This quadruple whammy sends me stumbling through the house. I don’t care though. It’s a good kind of tired.
When I started my “miracle drug” regimen in December of 2014, the Stanford gurus warned me not to overdue my activities. It’s a big mistake our patients make. They start to feel better, do too much, and experience symptom whiplash. I shook my head in amusement. Their ideal patient would have been well enough for a full life; stricken; saved by their efforts; and then resume normalcy.
I’m not that woman.
I’m the woman who has never known a day without pain and impairment since age eighteen months. But I’m also the woman whose mother said, If you walk every day of your life, you’ll walk every day of your life. So keep walking. I buckle my spastic feet into heavy Doc Martens to keep from toppling into bushes. A walking stick lies on the floor of my car but I’d rather use the walls for the occasional need to rest, because my hands remain free for my work satchel. With a computer slung over my shoulder and a pocketful of hopes, I forge ahead, doing too much, trying too hard, smiling too wide.
I’m the person who won’t let a damned bug get me down. I laugh boldly, hitch my leggings to my waist, and wade into any fray.
This weekend, my efforts, my attitude, and my rock-star secretary drove the bus to a successful event, raising funds and awareness for the bravery of fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders who dash to our rescue at the touch of 9-1-1. In the process, we opened our doors to 150 or so folks who stood mesmerized before John Howe’s Kansas City Veterans Portrait Project and the fabulous sculptures of Wes Casey. People gasped when they learned that the lovely wooden boxes came to life under the hands of a blind, retired KC firefighter. They gazed on the ethereal forms in photographs by Scott Anderson.
They also bought raffle tickets and bid in our silent auction, hoping to win one of the marvelous items donated by generous sponsors who give every time I ask.
We raised $1200.00 to share among three organizations: Warriors’ Ascent, which provides counseling for first responders and combat veterans experiencing PTSD; SAFE, an organization working with surviving spouses and the families of law enforcement injured or killed in the line of duty; and the Good & Welfare Fund of Firefighters Local 781, which does the same for the firefighters in Independence, Missouri. We also gave these organizations an opportunity to mingle and talk about their work.
How can I let worry about my fatigue level stand in the way of such an important undertaking?
It’s 8:09 a.m. on a Monday morning. I need to get my muscles moving enough to shower and dress. I’ll get there, soon. Not on time; not early; and not dressed in the starched linens of a “real” lawyer. But I’ll be present and accounted for, as I have striven to be every blessed day of my life, virus be damned. I think my mother would approve.
It’s the fifth day of the forty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.