Friday, February 01, 2008

The Gratitude Post

Okay, so I admit some of the old familiar demons started surfacing last night:

Anxiety that in the midst of many deadlines, I am bedridden with another infection. Or at least couch-ridden, where I balance my laptop on my stomach and type when I am not coughing.

(And yet even as I wonder how I’ll get it all done when I can’t breathe or sit up, I’m composing e-mails in my head, plotting out the next development or venture, a weird inverse relationship between how I am feeling and how much I think I should be able to do.)

Frustration over the fact I will be canceling plans for the weekend, and hesitancy over making more plans in the near future because I’ve had to cancel far more engagements than I’ve made it to lately.

(I’ve been in this cycle so many times. I’ve written about it and even been interviewed on the radio about it. Infection after infection, cancelled plans after cancelled plans, and soon the fear of letting people down and having to say “I’m sorry, but” starts to creep into my thoughts.)

But before the anxiety and the frustration reached full hilt, I came across this post on gratitude at Sick Momma that gave me pause (thanks for the kind words, Aviva!). Instead of thinking about articles on deadline and plans I needed to break, I tried to consider things from a different perspective.

I am grateful for friends who understand when I disappear for weeks or months at a time, who know when I say I am sick there is nothing I can do about it and that it has nothing to do with not wanting to see them, who are as happy to get coffee or drink tea as they are to go out and get drinks, and who always redeem rain-checks.

I am grateful for a rock star of a doctor who e-mails me back right away, and for a wonderful hospital only a few minutes away when I need it most. I’m grateful to live in an area where cutting-edge technology and research is at my disposal.

I am grateful for knowledge. People with PCD who are only a couple of decades older than me grew up with so much more mystery. It may have taken awhile, but at least I now know what’s wrong, what to expect, and how to prevent further damage.

I am grateful for the community of writers, experts, mentors and other professionals I am privileged to know, people whose wisdom and passion inspire me.

I am grateful to be building a career where even if it means looking at the computer screen over the top of a nebulizer mouthpiece or typing when I’m in a prone position because I’m just not getting oxygen, I can still get work done and still do something I am passionate about. I am also grateful for my students, who are thoughtful and committed, and who teach me a lot about healthcare.

I am grateful for a supportive family who brings me soy lattes and chicken soup and instinctively waits by the phone in case a “hospital call” comes their way. I am especially grateful for a husband who anticipates my needs better than I do, who can tell by the tone of my voice how much air I am moving, and who brings the world to my doorstep when he knows I’m feeling isolated by illness.


Anonymous said...

I am grateful to "know" someone who deals with chronic illness with such grace. I wish that neither one of us had to deal with it, but since we do, there you go.


Anney E.J. Ryan said...

Hey girl... sorry to hear you are laid up. I am constantly impressed at how much you are able to get done while you are sick. I'm healthy, and I can't get nearly as much done as you! You are the rock star. :)

Laurie said...

Thanks, guys! Kind words and feedback mean even more when I'm feeling particularly anti-social!!

Aviva said...

hey Laurie,

You just made a cruddy day feel a lot better. I think it's very cool that my post inspired your post (and I hope others are inspired by your post)because wouldn't this just be a better world if everyone remembered the things they're grateful for?

Feel better soon, Ok? I feel like such a wimp when I read how many balls you keep up in the air despite your chronic stuff, and me? I can barely get my library books back before I get hit with overdue fines.

But you know, I guess that's at least part of why I find you such an inspiration. And I really do mean that and wasn't just trying to suck you in. :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post Laur. I think you are more inspiring when you are lying on your couch with the lap top on your stomach trying to work... your determination is what inspires me (although I wish you didn't have to suffer so much). But you do it with grace, which makes me so grateful for such a beautiful friend.
And to end I have to say, Don't we all wish it was just spring already?

Unknown said...

real friends will still be there when you are feeling up to doing fun stuff. (And a real nice editor will have built in pad time to the schedule!)

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, and wishing you well, even if you haven't heard from me in a while....

Unknown said...

My favorite part about being your friend - the "staying in" hangout times. (and maybe wearing the vest for fun!).

Sherril said...

Just a note to let you know that I identify with that "weird inverse relationship between how I am feeling and how much I think I should be able to do." I just had a one day lay up in the bed, and that is SO what was going on in my head! Thanks for articulating it, and I hope you are better soon,


chronic chick said...

glad to see someone else is spreading the awareness too. Living with one is hard enough,living with lupus and fibromyalgia

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