Not that long ago I could track, facilitate, and successfully see to completion literally dozens of projects involving hundreds of tasks. Supervising and mentoring dozens of communication employees and contractors for a premier research facility in the US was a typical day. The job was gratifying on a personal and professional level.
Then in 2011, due to complications of long-standing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I had a heart attack requiring five stents. Relentless pain, fatigue, and joint instability involving multiple joints affected by RA threatened to wear me down and a hip replacement was needed due to osteonecrosis. This made it impossible to work. My husband’s health was deteriorating due to a motor neuron disease requiring personal assistance. This led to the difficult decision to retire and move back home to be near family and friends.
These days I struggle with multiple tasks. Pain, fatigue, and I guess plain old stress fogs my mind making tasks complicated and communication challenging. If I grab and articulate the first response that comes to mind and is readily available — it typically comes out as the wrong name or a description of what I’m trying to say that “cold box that holds things” or that “guy my sister is married to.”
Yesterday, I needed to schedule a surgery (cataracts) and I told the receptionist I needed to check first with my mom before setting a date — mom passed away six years ago! Friends say that as a patient and caregiver, I’m juggling too much but aren’t we all. Hey, a lizard just ran across my screened-in porch, the sun is out and it’s a beautiful day.
Now, where were we? Well given the priorities in my life, does it really matter if I call my brother-in-law that guy my sister married? Just trying to get through the day, find joy in the small stuff and acknowledging the life around us somehow seems significant now. Oh, there goes that lizard again.