Disorganization Station – Ritalin Donations Welcome

Control freak

Posted in Uncategorized by Hams on 2008/04/21

A friend’s sudden, serious illness has brought my own chronic (and acute) medical issues into perspective.

My friend’s a younger guy – an otherwise healthy runner, who developed what could have been a life-threatening infection in his lower extremity.  Though the hospital screwed up and it wasn’t explicitly diagnosed as such, the most reasonable theory names community acquired MRSA, a drug-resistant bacterium previously unseen outside of the hospital environment, as the culprit.

During his hospitalization, it was surreal being on the other side of a hospital bed.  The extent of my non-recreational hospital visits are usually limited to the nurse’s station.  Sometimes, things get a little crazy and I venture to a staff lounge (or two), and then there is the rare excursion to a patient’s room during the donation process.  So, sitting beside his bed, I felt overdressed and plain, considering my lack of hospital issue garments and plastic IV tubing.

Last weekend, I took him to the same emergency room where I was seen for my ankle fracture in Feb;  he even saw the same physician.  Later in the week, I shared with him that, despite the fact I am under the constant supervision of at least one specialist at any given time (most likely a cardiologist), my ankle fracture was the most challenging of it all. 

This revelation surprised him, and to be honest, I couldn’t pinpoint at the time why it was the most difficult.  Today in church it occurred to me – I had absolutely no control over that illness.

Sure, most people my age have never had a date with a sternal saw.  Heck, my 76-year-old grandmother doesn’t even see a cardiologist.  Planning that surgery last year was nerve wracking, but I was able to plan nonetheless.  I remember a late-evening conversation last year with Dr. Aklog (my heart surgeon), where he sorta scolded me saying “Jennifer, it’s never going to be a good time”.

Truth be told, congestive heart failure never comes at a convenient time, but I was fortunate to be able to set an out of office message prior to being out for six weeks.  My mom and dad were able to be here and helped me with some of the most personal of tasks.  That ankle fracture rendered me unable to do some of the simplest tasks without assistance, thus forcing me to relinquish control to, accept the help of, and reveal vulnerability to my closest friends.

Scary stuff.

Just over one year has passed from the open heart surgery and it has been just three months since the ankle incident.  The emotion and impact of these events always renders me speechless and without words adequate to describe my gratitude towards God, family, and friends for getting through that time (though my irritable mood for the past couple of days may not accurately reflect this…ha!). 

My wish is that each day presentes a new experience that previously would have gone unconquered because of physical constraints.  Even through complaints, I hope this gratitude is displayed daily in both word and deed.


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