Building and Breaking Down Walls

I can honestly say that the entire ordeal with Dr. Liar was and has been the most difficult time in my life. In fact, there are days when I still struggle. I wish I could snap my fingers and make it all go away, but life doesn’t work like that. I often wonder how long it will take to make myself move on or if I ever will. However, I have learned that life is about facing both the good and bad and trudging through as best we can with a smile on our face.

I find inspiration during difficult times from God, music, writing, meditation and other people. One of my favorite people to read about is Mother Teresa. She was a women of character who devoted her life to helping others — mainly the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. I am amazed by everything she did and how she sacrificed her life to help others, mostly complete strangers. One of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes is “God won’t give me more than I can handle — I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!” Even living with so much sadness in the world she still had a sense of humor!

During the time following surgery, our home was filled with beautiful flowers, fruit baskets, meals — prepared with lots of love, gifts; handmade and those purchased knowing exactly my taste as well as many beautiful cards. So many lovely gestures — each one treasured then and even today. I created a scrapbook for many items and others are stored in a special memory box. I want to remember those who were so kind to brighten up the long painful days. Many people knew I had surgery, but didn’t know the extent of what I was going through at that time.

While doctors, expert witnesses and even my employer were lying and/or turning their backs on me, there were people who simply said “I care and I want you to know it.” That was until my employer told co-workers that they could no longer have contact with me. There were a few who took exception and to those friends I will forever be grateful. After all, should an employer tell employees whom to interact with during off hours? I wasn’t and still am not sure. They were told not to call or to see me and if they did — their jobs could be in jeopardy. I have to admit that when I heard this ‘rule’ it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I was shunned from the very place where I was welcomed with open arms and a boss who told me he loved me. It was a few years later when I realized that Dr. Liar and my boss had more in common than I wanted to admit. I guess I was once drawn to those types of people.

I believe that when you go through a difficult situation you discover there are people whom you can count on and those whom can’t be bothered. No matter the day or the time, there are people whom you can call with the simplest of questions or the most complex requests. I have been blessed to have people in my life who fall into this category. Many people say, “Call me if you need anything!”and while you know they mean well, there is something about the way they say it that makes you know it isn’t genuine. I have learned that sometimes many of us put up walls not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to tear them down.

The most giving person I have ever known is my best friend, J.J., who lives in New Jersey, and has always been there for me in both good and bad times. And, even though life has taken us in different directions, she holds a special place in my heart and always will. While I never had a sister, I love her as if she was. I wrote about her in one of my previous postings and how we met — in 1993. If you do the math, we have been best friends for 18 years.

To my special friend and a true hero to me below are lyrics to a song that reminds me of the times she was there for me. This song seems like something she would say (cause she sure can’t sing) to me when I was feeling down and as I have shared…there have been lots of those moments. She has been a better friend to me then I have been to her. To J.J., thank you for all the laughs, tears, meals, advice and for being the perfect example of a best friend.

Written by James Blunt ~ Cry:

I have seen peace. I have seen pain,
Resting on the shoulders of your name.
Do you see the truth through all their lies?
Do you see the world through troubled eyes?
And if you want to talk about it anymore,
Lie here on the floor and cry on my shoulder,
I’m a friend.

I have seen birth. I have seen death.
Lived to see a lover’s final breath.
Do you see my guilt? Should I feel fright?
Is the fire of hesitation burning bright?
And if you want to talk about it once again,
On you I depend. I’ll cry on your shoulder.
You’re a friend.

You and I have been through many things.
I’ll hold on to your heart.
I wouldn’t cry for anything,
But don’t go tearing your life apart.

I have seen fear. I have seen faith.
Seen the look of anger on your face.
And if you want to talk about what will be,
Come and sit with me, and cry on my shoulder,
I’m a friend.

And if you want to talk about it anymore,
Lie here on the floor and cry on my shoulder,
I’m a friend.

I must admit there were/are days when I was/am still trying to figure how to put one foot in front of the other and continue my journey. How do I become a new person when I can’t be who I once was since that person no longer exists? Most people don’t wake up from surgery as an unrecognizable person; however, I did. Occasionally I see glimpses of who I once was, but for the most part, I changed without anyone asking my permission. What makes you get up and move on with a life that you didn’t ask to live – is it faith, stubbornness or good old-fashioned selfishness? I didn’t and don’t know the answer or how to move on. I was able to get to a particular place, but then I was stuck. I knew that drastic times meant drastic measures.

When I moved to Pennsylvania in 1993, I thought it was temporary. I never knew I would end up staying as long as I did. When I ‘woke up’ from my four-month hiatus and wrote my to do list, at the top was ‘Move back to Virginia’. I loved the area where I grew up; however, they say that you can’t go home again. Was that true? My husband and I had been looking at property and were hoping to buy several acres and build once we retired. However, life had other plans.

Beginning in 1993 and throughout the years, I had questioned the move to the Northeast and taking my daughter away from her extended family. Was it now time to move back or was it too late? Since I made a good salary when I was working, I was able to send her to Montessori School for several years as well as private school. She had been exposed to things that she would have never experienced living in a small Virginia town. We attended Broadway shows as often as possible, enjoyed going into NYC, took exotic vacations and cruises and she traveled to England and France for an extended period of time. After much thought I realized that things really do happen for a reason. She had experienced things at a young age that I had only imagined while I was young. In fact, I had never flown on an airplane until I was in college.

My husband agreed to the move and thought that it would be good for us. After all, what was keeping me in Pennsylvania? We hated the winters and the horrible weather that came with it. If I was around my family I would keep busy and maybe put the past few years behind me, right?

During my daughter’s spring break from college, we had a family meeting and began talking about moving to Virginia. We were trying to prepare her for the inevitability of a move. I almost fell off of my chair when she said that she was willing to move since she was unsure what she wanted to major in and was considering transferring colleges. I was mentally prepared for “I don’t want to move Mom…this is my home.” Kids…they really do say the darndest things! I thought she would be the toughest obstacle; however, she ended up being the voice of reason.

We made several trips to Virginia and just when we thought there was no perfect house…we found it. We had narrowed our search down to one-story houses due to my difficulty with stairs. And, as soon as we walked into the last house we were scheduled to see…we knew our search was over. It was a one and a half story house with just a bonus room and bath on the second floor. The house offered everything that we wanted and we knew this was the house we were meant to buy. I believe that our realtor was as excited as we were — we had worked her hard.

After a few offers, we and the sellers agreed on a price as well as a contingency offer, which meant that we would buy the house if/when we sold our Pennsylvania house. However, the seller and realtor could continue to show and market the house. If another offer was made, we would have 72 hours to buy the house or let it go to the other buyer.

As soon as we returned to Pennsylvania, we contacted the realtor who listed the house when I purchased it in 1993. Following a meeting, the house was up for sale along with the thousands of other houses for sale in the area. Since we wanted to move and had already found a house that we loved, we asked a fair price and knew that any buyers would be happy with their purchase. Within a week and a half, we were sitting at our dining room table with our realtor who had an offer in her hand. Could it be possible? We weren’t lucky people…at least up to that point. Thousands of other houses in the area for sale; many offered as short sales and foreclosures…why would someone buy our home over those? We were about to find out. But, were we ready?

©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com. 2011.

 

 

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About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Depression, Disability, Dr. Liar, Employer and disability, Long Term Disability, Medical Malpractice, Pain, Pain Management, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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