5/7/10

No Joy this time. Just Gratitude

Cafe GratitudeImage by meganpru via Flickr

Well, friends, we were really scrapping the bottom of the barrel, and there was no joy, no joy at all. There were no secret boyfriends to spice up my happy. There were no delicious movies to sweeten my cocktail. There was only the willful determination to smile through the misery train.

We were in the hospital last week. Four days. The teenager was the patient. We were trying to see if she would be a good candidate for brain surgery, and that right there should tell you all you need to know about the state of things here. Alas, she is not a good candidate. So we move on to new meds, other things.

But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about "keeping calm and carrying on," as the British say. How do you do it? How do you do it when every ounce is joy is sucked right out of you? How do you do it when EEG wires turn your daughter into Medusa so that a screen can show you -- in real time -- the Haitian earthquake that becomes her brain whenever she seizes?

You do two things:

One, you meditate on the fact that this dismal time is temporary. It will pass. It has passed. We are much better now, and the new meds are looking promising, so there you go.

Two, if the circumstances are such that you cannot cultivate your joy, you must look for some other worthy concept to cultivate. For me, it was gratitude. Do you know some people bring their very clean and well-trained dogs to visit hospital patients? Do you know some people bring their guitars? They'll just pop in your room and say, "Do you want a song?" If you say yes, they'll come and sing you a song or two. They don't know you. They just do it to be nice. Then, of course, there are the nurses. It is not hyperbole to call them angels of mercy. You might think it is, but it's not. They are the best people you will find anywhere in the world.

It is a humbling thing to realize that people you've never seen in your life want to help you, not because they pity you, but because they are good people. You should be so lucky to have been touched by the kindness of strangers.
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29 comments:

altadenahiker said...

This is exactly why you're one of my all-time favorite people. And from the grandstands, I'm always cheering for that family of yours. Big fan.

Linda Dove said...

Having a child in the hospital, hooked up to many a machine that makes beeping noises, is absolutely no joy. I'm glad you're on the other side of it and hope new meds and new ideas improve things.

Hugs to you and yours.

Rois said...

Ah Lady...I have walked in your shoes 100 percent of that road.I can't count the times people asked me how I keep going.How? I don't know how,I just do.Gratitude is a BIG part of it for all of the reason's you wrote.
When things get really bad at the hospital I remember Issac's smile and that his name means Laughter,that helps a lot.Find a shinning thing to hold onto.
Keep on swimming, swimming, and know you are not alone.Issac and I are rooting for you and your family.

... daisy... said...

I wish I could say anything at all to make things better, but I love this: you and the way you look beyond things. You try to make the best out of everything. I am moved... and I really esteem you. You're a great person. I bet you know that, but I have so many things in my heart I would put down here, but some are too personal, and the others... I just can't get them into words. Thank you.

Susan C said...

When I was in the big house, I was amazed at how much joy a Christmas caroler or a cheerful nurse could bring.

Hoping for the best with the new meds.

Cafe Observer said...

True, that too will pass.

What is magical is that there are indeed these "nice people" who sprinkled around the planet. I hope it's still ok to judge.

What is not so nice is that the planet today appears to be overpopulated with mean and evil "people." These have found no reason to behave decently to their fellow humans besides, "it's against the law." And, "The Golden Rule" of Behavior? I like to hear the answers to that question from Jay Leno as the man in the street!

Olga said...

I so admire your attitude and forbearance. I pray that the goddesses wil bless you and your family again and again.

Deb said...

Oh, Margaret. I am so sorry that you (and your daughter and the rest of your family) have to endure this process, but am so touched that you are finding a silver lining here.

I work in a chiropractic office and today one of our patients (an elderly lady) was in, telling us the horrors of the health care facility where her husband is recovering from surgery right now. She was so distraught when she arrived, focusing on telling us about the awful doctor, the rude administrator... It was nice that by the time she left our office her spirit had been lifted. She told us how much she appreciated our kindness, and then she told us about a few of the people at the nursing facility who had made a difference in a positive way.

I always say that attitude is everything - pick a good one. And it sounds as if you are doing just that.

Hang in there, Mom. I'll be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts your way. xo

Daisy said...

Sending you a (((B I G))) Mother's day hug, Margaret. I wish there was an easy way through these parts of life, or that I could "fix it", (I LOVE to fix things!), or that I could be there with you and help with transport, meals, house work, and pour you a glass of the very best wine in the whole world (which you deserve) to go with non-fattening organic best chocolate.

I call upon all the wise women, all the goddesses, to surround you with strength and love and wisdom. I'm glad that therapy dogs visit there. That is a wonderful program.

Barbara and Daisy

Joanne said...

Oh Margaret, I am so sorry to read this. I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... You are truly your daughter's goddess of strength, hope, and love. You and your family are in my thoughts, sending peace and goodness your way.

Stacey Smith said...

This post is amazing. Thanks for the reminder on gratitude.

Blessings .

pasadenapio said...

Thanks for bringing us on your journey via your blog. We're all thinking of you and sending our best wishes to your daughter and the rest of your family.

Petrea said...

Like Daisy, I like to fix things. I have no fix for this one. I think of your daughter's sweet face and how much she charmed me and I think I wouldn't want to "fix" her except to make her feel better, just make her pain go away. Yours, too, sweet Margaret.

Shanna said...

My heart goes out to you, dear Margaret, and also to your daughter.
I, myself was hospitalized several years of my childhood that was torn away from me. (Polio).
She needs your love and acceptance for who she IS now and THAT will make all the difference as it has for me due to my own wonderful family.
Blessings.

Shell Sherree said...

Oh Margaret. You are special ~ I'm happy that you are able to find the gratitude and kindness in amongst what's happening. I love Rois's encouragement ~ "keep on swimming".

Em said...

Life is filled with so many challenges, but this is one of the truly tough ones & you are so graceful about it.

Please know that I wish you and your daughter and your family well.

Coppertop said...

Sending good energy and love from Colorado.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Margaret,
If you need someone to hang with, help get yourself out of your head...call me. I'll ply you with alcohol, get you to laugh (or cry) take you on a mini get away. I'm just over the hill and I have a excellent view under a covered patio.

kanmuri said...

I hope the new meds will be good. I hope things will get better.
Take care

Daisy said...

Did you know:
http://news.cnnbcvideo.com/?nid=nbhTp8TnIkGc3ilcaeAm7jM4MDEyMg--&referred_by=7297254-20_fVyx&p=care2

:-) I hope the link works.

Petrea said...

Daisy, that's great!

Margaret said...

Daisy: I love it! Thanks for that. It made me day, and thank you, all of you, for all of your kind thoughts and for all of your support. Best wishes to all of you.

baffled human said...

My father has chronic leukemia. Last week he had a bad spell and hospital stay. I do okay with it while it's happening but then I'm a wobbly, nervous, rung out dish towel after I get he and my mother home safe and sound.
I wonder about myself sometimes when I can't find my way back to okay. You answered my question tonight Margaret. Thank you.

Margaret said...

Baffled Human: It is helpful to know we've shared the same shoes. Thank you.

TheChieftess said...

May God's love and blessings surround you and your lovely family during this troubled time...

TheChieftess said...

May God's love and blessings surround you and your lovely family during this troubled time...

Paula L. Johnson said...

I've been behind on my blog reading, so forgive my late comment.

I'm sorry your charming daughter (and all of you) had to go through that ordeal. But any hospital with roving dogs and strolling musicians sounds like a good place to get treatment.

Bec said...

I'm sorry for what you and your family are going through. I pray and try to focus on what there is to be grateful for. I'll say a prayer for your daughter!

Star said...

Thank you so much for this message.