Monday, August 11, 2008

Making Mole Hills Out Of Mountains...

Yeah, I KNOW I've got that saying backwards in the title, but this is what I've been trying to practice these days. I'm already a PRO at making MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLE HILLS, so I thought I'd give the reverse a try for a while.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of inviting two acquaintances-turning-into-friends over to my home for supper. Without disclosing too much personal data about my guests, I WILL say one of these folks is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and just recently lost her job...which also means, she just lost her HEALTH INSURANCE. She did not have a high-paying job to begin with, but it DID pay her rent and groceries...it also provided her with access to medical care to treat her MS. We spent much of the evening discussing the ins and outs of applying for DSHS (state aid), disability, unemployment, and so on (I even suggested she go to the ModestNeeds.org website just in case she has a financial emergency arise in the next several weeks).

As I sat and listened to my new friend talk calmly about her latest predicament, I realized just how close to the line of financial disaster she walked. I also realized just how close to a potential catastrophic medical crisis she might be heading toward...without ability to purchase her Betaseron, she risked falling into yet another MS relapse. I felt pulled by her situation, yet knew I did not have the means to resolve it for her...even if I wanted to. The most I could offer for the time being was a grilled steak meal (because my mother taught me eating well could relieve any stress! LOL), a quiet home to talk, and companionship. At the end of the evening, I bid them both farewell and hoped things might turn around for my new friend.

I've never been one to count my own blessings because I suck so badly at math. I see several bloggers writing *gratitude lists* and even THIS process feels somehow difficult or false for me (I'm not saying that applies to anyone ELSE who finds the practice helpful!). After all, my personal belief for myself is, if I am truly "grateful" for something, I will live my life in a manner that demonstrates my gratitude. In other words, I must try to BEHAVE in a way that radiates my gratefulness.

You may be asking yourself, "So how does someone "BEHAVE" gratefully?" Well, that can be a tricky question. I try to live my gratitude through action, word, and deed. Grateful behavior requires a mind set of abundance for me...I must believe and have faith that I have everything I need and I am fulfilled. It is a matter of *faith* that all is well, which requires a certain perspective.

When I am wallowing in fear, it is very difficult for me to radiate gratitude...my emotional walls close in around me in a feeble attempt to make a smaller basket in hopes of giving me a false perception that what I have will FILL that smaller basket. What usually ends up happening however, is the basket becomes so small as I try to conserve everything, that I begin to feel constricted and small...not fulfilled and with abundance.

Behaving in gratitude doesn't mean I shouldn't PLAN for unexpected events in my life (specifically financial ones), but it does mean I must have *faith* that there will ALWAYS be enough of whatever I need...be it finances, love, friendship, food, or shelter. And I have found when I am able to practice behaving in gratitude, I am much more able to participate in giving away my abundance because I will never be "short changed" in life. I am much HAPPIER in life.

Another friend of mine recently dealt with a disturbing burglary to her office. She was upset (among other reasons) that a particular rose quartz rock I had given her had been stolen and she was worried I, too, would be very upset by this theft...that someone had stolen something dear to both of us. I thought about the issue only briefly then said, "It was just a rock...now someone else has it."

So many times in my life, I WISH I could maintain the "it was just a rock" attitude. So many times, I wish I could always have the faith to behave in gratitude, but I am far from mastering this experience. I'm still working on my height perception and being able to distinguish my mole hills from mountains...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay - you'll like this cuz there is a bedpan involved.

Many years ago I was the fortunate and grateful recipient of free medical care at a hospital that I won't mention by name. The fez wearing members of the organization that ran the hospitals would on occasion visit the hospitals to meet the children and see where their generous donations were going. Perfectly natural behavior.

The nurses who worked at the hospital were deferential to the organization members who paid their salaries. Perfectly natural behavior.

In these pre-hippa days the nurses thought nothing of answering any questions the visitors had about the various patients. Also - being nurses and they were not always in tune with 'modesty issues' that patients might have. Particularly patients who were in their teen years rather than their toddler years, as most the patients were.

So one day I was sitting on the bedpan and the nurse pulled back the curtain so this nice older couple could meet me. I had the sheet covering my lower body but I was still naked under the sheet and completely mortified.

I tried to be polite (my momma raised to me always be respectful - no matter what!) but I was embarrassed and wanting to disappear. After about three hours of conversation (or maybe it was three minutes - I don't know) they left to visit another patient.

I don't blame the nurses for not being more assertive with the benefactors. And I don't blame the benefactors for not realizing they might be seen as being intrusive - especially since no one had ever told them. And I don't blame myself for wanting a wee bit of privacy - even in a charity hospital.

Years later I told a slightly modified version of this story to a group of girlfriends. I stipulated that I was forever grateful to the organization for the care I received. I stipulated that the nurses perhaps should have known better but that I could see how and why they would allow the visitors whatever access they requested. I went on to say that it was simply one of the most mortifying moments of my life and that I wished I could have said something but that the type of person who could say something in a situation like that is probably the type of person who wouldn't be quite so freaked out by the whole experience.

One of my friends became quite irritated with me and after a few weeks of trying to figure out why she was so snippy and bitchy she finally admitted that she thought I showed a complete lack of gratitude to the organization her grampa belonged to.

The moral of the story is that as galling as it is to observe a lack of gratitude in others (serpents teeth and all) I think being told how much gratitude one must experience and show is equally abhorant.

Which was a very important life lesson for me as even twenty years later I still find myself wanting to scold other people into being just a wee more grateful and yet remembering the hurt and anger I felt in the face of that arrogance. So I try to open my heart (to use touchy feely new age talk) and find a kinder and perhaps humorous way to lead the person to feelings of gratitude.


(I keep using wee as a diminutive cuz I know how you love potty references)

Anonymous. Please lord let me remain anonymous!

LISA EMRICH said...

You are such a compassionate person. Semi-good news may be that Betaseron has the easiest assistance program (so said my MS nurse awhile ago). With guidance, I hope she may be able to successfully go through the state aid, disability, unemployment, etc.

That financial high-wire we walk really should be talked about much more. Thank you for sharing.

Spaz Attack said...

these are not normal mountains we with MS are faced with. After having to quit my job I certainly had to deal with how much faith I have -- and I still question myself about, On hindsite I should have taken the leave of absence, but at the time I just couldn't function or think clearly)
Anyway, the problems facing this gal are immense, depressing and humilating. Help is out there. The local MS society does have some money to temporary help out with meds. Myself, I quit work with a mere $2,000 savedthinking everything would work out. (did I say I wasn't thinking clearly).
Yes, DSHS has some programs to help, but some must qulify and be truly pour. I didn't want to apply, didn't think I could get it. Belive me after my last saved dollar quickly went by the wayside I applied for help. It tooks months to get help, and that is with only help of my parents. If you own a home and try to keep up with MS meds without insurance you will probably lose your home. When I had to go off my MS med at first I paniacked, then realized it wasn't the end of the world. Since REST is the most valuable, proactive thing you can do to help your body I made sure I got my rest, I also exercise and tried to take care of myself by keeping stress low. Difficult to do when I was extremly depressed about not working anynore.
Thing to remember is that going off your MS med isn't the end of the world (I still needed symtoms meds and thos were expensive enough). Fast forward two years, with the help of a lawer, I'm on SSID and Medicaid, plus Medicaid/DSHS program called Healthcare for workers with disability (my piddly amount of SSDI was too high for Medicaid.)that I pay $80 for and it pays for my co-pays and meds through the Wellness pharmacy in Washington state. I'm also poor so I'm subsidies in some other medical way.
I'd rather be working and making money, since I can't I'm happy to have the help of public services.
And Brain Cheese...to you and all the others who work and have private health insurance -- PLEASe get your rest and don't try to be superwoman. It's important to work as long as you can, to have enough money to pay for COBRA health insurance if you have to quit, and have enough to make your house mortage payments for those 2 years before Medicaid kicks in. If I had a choice between paying for the house and health insurance I'd pay for the house -- even if I hAd primary progressive, because from everything I've read the most important things we need to do are get our bodies rest, eat healthy (that means no Mountain Dew--WAH)and push ourselves to cardiovascular exercise at least 20 minutes a day.
By the way...I went mentally off a few times in those two years and wasn't sure if it was a flare, but other than that I did not have flare, my symptoms were very slow progressing, certainly no new ones cropped up. However, after getting back on Copaxone I stopped exercising and eating healthy(stupid) and am experiencing progression.
So yep, I yam a SPAZ

atlantis said...

You are being honest , nothing wrong with that , on the contrary , our lives and the ones of the people close to us improve only when we become honest with ourselves.

have myelin said...

Financial tight-rope....I very much understand. I am on such a rope myself as I migrate thru the legalese called "Legal Separation" and trying to plot a new pathway to financial independence without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs BECAUSE of my help...thank you very much.

What a scary path to be on. I can't imagine a free-fall without insurance but I guess we survive somehow.

Shauna said...

My dad says, Trust in God, but lock the doors (he also says fart and booger) meaning have faith, but still be prepared for stuff.

I try to maintain a positive attitude but my motto is still Shit happens.

S.

Merelyme said...

i love your posts linda...you always tell it like it is with genuineness and emotional honesty. sometimes life just...sucks. to pretend otherwise is just...silly. that faith part you speak of is the key. it is the trust that things might be bad now but they won't always be that way.

hey...i have an MS question over on my blog. being that you are our resident non-doctor doctor...i would appreciate your non-medical yet wise advice.