Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gettin' a Little Perspective

At almost midnight on January 4th, I was quite literally stopped dead in my tracks (literally stopped, not literally dead!) and forced to get a little perspective about some things in life that desperately needed a bit of examination.

It seems almost ridiculous now that my main thought in the ambulance that night -- other than 'this hurts like a mufu... far more than natural childbirth!' -- was 'I need to call my boss right now and tell him that I won't be in tomorrow.' Seriously. That was my most pervasive thought that night. There were projects than needed managing and I couldn't afford to be absent from work the next day.

It turns out that my timing was horrible and it did have a severe impact on my ability to do my job since two projects were slated to be kicked off on the morning of the 5th and those needed to be re-assigned... which ultimately led to my current part-time status.. which is having profound effects on us financially. But did my career come to a screeching halt and did the world come to a firey end? Amazingly enough, no.

In fact, I gained some much-needed perspective and will be taking some much-needed action in that regard, including the commitment to get out and walk (as soon as I can) for an hour a day instead of being glued to my laptop 24/7 so I can take immediate action on any and every need and potential need a client might have at any hour of any day -- because you know, if I don't, the world might stop turning and we we all be thrown into the depths of failure and despair.

Not.

Perspective is a wonderful thing.

I have two friends who are battling cancer. One is my brother-in-law, who has melanoma and is at the end of a long year of debilitating interferon treatments. His disease has had a profound impact on his family, of course, and what used to be a solid, comfortable, predictable life has become chaos and uncertainty. Overnight, on the day he was diagnosed, everything changed. And then there's my dear, dear friend Kristin, who I have mentioned a few times here. Kristin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October, 2004, almost FIVE years ago. She has lost a few organs and parts of both lungs and has continued to fight, determined to beat the deadliest of all cancers -- and she has fought valiantly. Within just a few weeks of her dual partial "lung-ectomy," Kristin was backpacking with her sons in Yosemite! I kid you not; this is the spirit she has! Kristin called me last night and we'll talk again later today. All I can tell you right now is that she sounds very tired -- and this is the first time in 40 years of knowing Kristin that I have heard fatigue in her voice. I'm scared -- for her, and selfishly, for me because I love her so very, very much.

Cancer is so incredibly scary because once it finds you it tends to forever be part of your life, never totally disappearing and forever threatening to grab hold. And me? I have a silly broken foot -- which is quickly healing.

Perspective.

For the past two months, I've lived my life as a disabled person. I need dipped curves and close-in parking and elevators. Stairs are like steep, insurmountable cliffs and terrain is judged by how securely my scooter wheels or crutches can grab it. I need help getting in and out of the shower, I can't play with the dog in the back yard, and I can't quickly grab toilet paper from the garage stash when we run out. I can't run to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread and I haven't taken my beloved bath in far too long.

So many things that I used to do without a second thought now take planning and effort.

But it's a silly broken foot and everything will eventually return to normal. I am so amazingly lucky!

My injury has put so much into perspective for me.

The losses that I sustained with this injury have become gains in so many ways. My gratitude and appreciation -- for both people and circumstances -- run deeper than they ever have, and I know now how truly lucky I am, in spite of a job that has become forced part-time and at risk (because my injury coincided with a dismal economy), in spite of physical pain, and in spite of limitations in mobility.

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8 comments:

susan said...

Dear Northwest Ladybug, today's entry has made me come out of lurk/stalker mode. You have been on the READ ME FIRST list in my Google Reader for a very long time. And now I have to come out of hiding to explain that every entry you've made since January 5, has given me startling perspective. Not only the kind that you have - many people have it so much worse than I ever will - but also... thankgod my ankle/leg/rest of me is fine. I cannot tell you how many times I have started to get whiny, irritated, annoyed at something or other and thought, well, at least I can reach down and scratch my calf. I can pee on my own. I can drop everything and make a Costco run if I feel like it. I am 60 and know that the falling years are looming so I'm taking your experience to heart big time. Thanks so much for sharing all the details. Know that they have been used wisely.

Your stalker, Susan

Carol said...

Hi Susan! I have a blog-stalker?? I feel truly honored and you have made my DAY! Perspective is an odd thing, isn't it? Why did you wait so long to come out of lurker mode?! Please continue to comment!

Carol

susan said...

I don't know why I waited so long, but now that my anonymous stalkerdom is busted, probably I'll comment more often and move to into known annoyer!

I do enjoy reading your exploits.

Tonya said...

I remind myself of perspective often, and what you've gone through has brought much of that to the forefront. Part of it is taking a little extra care going up and down stairs (or dealing with ice!) Part of it is looking at the stress of work and thinking: How important will this be in 5 years? (The other part is that when I'm feeling whiney about my job, which really isn't a whole lot of fun, I remind myself that it's a good thing that I have one). It's about balance and degree and being able to shrug some things off. And to realize that in a blink of an eye, it can all change.

Still looking forward to an opportunity to meet for coffee! :o)

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol,
I am a lurker also, a German one ,
I have read your blog for a long time. Just never comment.
This one really moved me, everything you wrote is so true...I love your outlook on life.
Greetings from a German in Texas,
Susanne

Yelli said...

I am pretty sure you know I love your blog... :)

I also wanted to say that my ankle injury (where I broke my ankle in 3 places and now currently have 3 pins holding it together) is oddly enough a very positive time in my life. I know EXACTLY how you feel except you are much more eloquent than I! It is rather humbling to be reminded that we are aren't as important as we think we are...

Thank you for reminding me that I have a lot to be thankful for also. I don't need to break another leg to remind me. :)

Aleks said...

I just think it funny you spelled mofo..."mufu."

You're innocance is adorable.

Love your son.

Goofball said...

thanks for reminding us too to put everything in the right perspective.

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