So, here’s the deal.
Today I can walk fairly well. From Tuesday through yesterday, I looked like a squashed crab. Hunched over, spasming, in pain, I hobbled through my last two days in Chicago and my return overnight at my brother’s house in St. Louis. My son, his girlfriend, my nephews, my brother, and my sister-in-law deserve Good Samaritan awards for treating me with gentleness and respect.
I understand how the temporarily worsened impairment arose. My trek all over downtown Chicago with Patrick and Hope inflammed my Tarlov cysts which hug the degenerated discs. Film at eleven, oohhh, ahhh, ahhh. I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining. I’m one of those medical miracles. My body has acquired a long list of nagging ailments. But I could and often do construct an equally long list of diseases and conditions which I’ve been spared — cancer, MS, MD, HIV, COPD, and a whole alphabet of other insidious and hideous diseases and conditions far worse than the ones which I face.
I know it’s not a competition, but I’m grateful that I can manage the symptoms of my dozen or so illnesses and deformities. What’s a 3/4 inch difference in leg lengths among friends? And viruses? Gosh, I only have 5, and currently they all sleep, placated by a daily double dose of Gawd-awful expensive drugs covered by my equally expensive but phenomenal self-provided health insurance. So? I’ve got a good attitude. Sue me!
But make no mistake. As positive as I seem to you, late at night and early in the morning, bitterness can claim me. I shake my fist heavenward. My head falls between my hands. Tears stream down my cheeks. Why does life have to be so damned difficult, I cry. Outloud, through choked sobs. Why do I have to handle all this alone?
Then the sun rises. I drag myself out of bed. I stumble down the stairs and shoo the dog out into the yard. I start the kettle and turn on the radio. As the water boils for coffee, I dab my eyes and swallow the lump in my throat. Lists of life’s tender, sweet moments start forming in my mind. Around me crowd the faces of my son, my shared daughter, my fairy granddaughter. My nieces and nephews. My great niece. My siblings. My friends. Their radiant smiles light the room.
I pour my coffee and sit down with something resembling resignation. I close my eyes. The energy begins to rise within me, flowing through me, chasing the sorrow and the anger. I find the resolve to face another day.
It’s the thirtieth day of the thirty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. On the eve of the eve of the first day of the fourth year of this wild, crazy journey to joy, life continues.