Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bernadette and Reprogramming the Inner Computer

If my body were a computer program, today would have been the day that I removed the program in its entirety, and then reinstalled the upgraded, and therefore better version. Sadly, I am not given this option. For the last two God Damn Days I have awoken feeling as though my chest is going to collapse and my head is going to explode. I realize that this is likely only a virus, and will run its course; however coping with illness on top of a disability is about as much fun as putting your head in a bee hive to see what you can see.

One of my best friends is a nurse, and fortunately enough, she is a rational sort of person. When I get to thinking too hard about “poor me”, Bernadette is more than happy to give me an incredulous look and wrestle me to the floor. More often than not, I come to my senses somewhere between the headlock and having my face squished against the laminate flooring. Bernadette is that type of a person; she accepts no guff from anyone. In fact, some months ago after a particularly annoying day with her hubby, she informed me that there "was going to be spousal abuse going on shortly." Normally, when a woman tells you that she fears there is going to be spousal abuse going on shortly, you worry for the woman as it is a given in most circumstances that she will be the victim of said abuse. When Bernadette says such a thing, however, you feel compelled to tell her hubby to get into his car and drive for about an hour until he can re-enter the house without being made to pick up his teeth with his elbows. That, dear Internet is why I adore Bernadette so.

I think everyone should have a Bernadette in their lives. If everyone had such a person as a friend, a lot fewer people would be complaining bitterly about things they can do nothing about. Why, you ask? Because after being wrestled to the floor a couple of times, people would quickly learn not to react with such negativity. It’s a very effective form of aversion therapy.

In reality, though, Bernie keeps me honest. Because she’s a nurse, she’s seen a lot of things in her time, therefore, nothing I can say or do will surprise her. That type of life experience comes with a certain steadiness of mind, and when I am crying or telling her that I can’t do this anymore, it also comes with a firm hand. Bernie is the first person to say: “What are you going to do about it?” when I’m whining. Sometimes, that makes me want to scream, because I feel like I can’t do a damned thing about it, but there again, sometimes that’s just the point Bernie is making. Though I do feel frustrated and tired at times, I also feel blessed. I have good friends, and good family…both of which stick by me during those rough times.

Sometimes I stand in awe of these people…these angels in my life. I wonder how it is they make so much time for me when they have so much going on in their own worlds. This is what allows me to feel gratitude amidst my frustration, and happiness within my tears. These people are truly my family, some by blood, and some by choice. I have been blessed with them all, and for this I am be grateful. My little one smiles at me, and tells me she loves me, even after I’ve had a horrible day filled with pain and anger, and in this she reminds me that I am important to her. I am the one that she adores, and looks up to. What a responsibility!! What a way to take me out of self.

It’s a trap many fall into, really…thinking solely of self; especially on those days we are sick and hurting. I have done it. I have regretted it. Sometimes, though, something happens to remind me that it’s not all about me, and it really never was. Sometimes, I can see beyond my own backyard, and be grateful for the good things in my friend’s lives. Bernie is special to me in that way, because so many good things have happened for her over the course of the past year. I’ve seen her go from having to carefully budget every cent to having more than enough to feed her family, and her success fills me up with joy, and gratitude. Sometimes, feeling like that for someone else is just the medicine you need to walk away from a self-indulgent pity that serves no purpose.

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