Girl Interrupting

On my way to work this morning, I contemplated what I was going to write tonight when I got home. I’ve been thinking about writing a lot lately. Topics included:

  1. A rant about how I only get one mutual day off with my husband next month.
  2. An informative discussion about how Seattle is not truly such a rainy mess. It’s just a cloudy mess because of the two mountain ranges camped out on either side of the area.
  3. A happy post about how great working on a Saturday is because A. there’s no traffic on the commute, B. I can park in the parking garage for free without paying the ridiculous $18-25/day and C. there’s no management patrolling the work space.
  4. Feeling stuck in a rut.
  5. Was yet to be determined.

But then I got to work, started actually working, and She interrupted.

From the moment she walked in, I could tell she was a sick cookie. My sick and your sick are probably a little different. Sick to me means being even more miserable looking than the normal, bald, maybe needs a pint of blood type of look. And she looked sick.

She was in for the usual bag or two o’ red blood cells (RBCs) and some platelets.

Education alert!! **RBCs are what carry oxygen around throughout your body. Without them, people get super tired and pale (think of old vampire movies—they needed blaaaad too!). Platelets are these sticky things in your blood that help you clot. Essentially they help you not bleed to death from a paper-cut or a nosebleed.**

Anyhow, she was just scheduled for blood products, but it soon turned into help with pain. And heartburn. And nausea from the heartburn meds. And itching from the pain meds. And more pain. And more nausea. All this while getting transfused.

See what I mean? Sick cookie.

As we were talking and about 2 hours into her visit with us today, I had heard her speak enough medical-ese that I asked, “Are you in the medical profession?”

Turns out yes. In fact, we work for the same company.

Since she was at the clinic for several hours, we had a chance to talk about more than just her awful symptoms. The more we talked, the quieter I became. My beefs with life faded into the background. Yeah, so I only get one day off with the love of my life next month but it is ONE MONTH…  She’s not guaranteed a cure for her disease. She could beat it with a lot of hard work, or she could have to prematurely leave her husband and two beautiful babies behind on this planet FOREVER… And with what I know, unfortunately I’d say the odds are in favor of the latter.

Sometimes I struggle with the fact that I meet a lot of people who have it worse than I do. It makes my worries and complaints feel insignificant. Or that I’m shallow for needing a pity party (or two or ten). I’ve come to understand that everyone’s “stuff” matters though. You can’t know how much something that may seem insignificant to you means to another person. And you can’t dismiss all your problems because they’re not significant enough according to the rest of the world.

Basically what I’m saying is what I tell myself often. And when days like today happen, it refreshes that reminder:

Live dammit! Don’t just go through the motions. If you’re miserable, feel miserable, and then be glad that you can feel! Fall off that horse, it’s bound to happen! Then remember what led up to it so you can try to avoid that next time. If you’re happy—don’t let someone else’s crabby attitude drag you down! Express your joy! Stand on that mountain and do a dance! Taste! Touch! Go! Sit and do jack squat! Do whatever you can do each day to remind you that you’re alive and that you matter. Be grateful for the little things because they are what make up this whole big thing that’s called Life!

In that spirit, today I am grateful for a sick woman who thought I was caring for her when truly she was caring for me.


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