What do they have in common? They are all part of my past week.
I left our winter hideout last Wednesday and started on the 1500 mile drive home. It took an extra day because of an eye condition that keeps me from driving at night. Most of the drive is beautiful – and this time- so was the weather. We take 2 cars, so I’m on my own for the drive home. What always surprises me is how many people are so very helpful and friendly. Yes – I admit, I love talking to perfect strangers. People are basically kind and friendly.
However – I did not go straight home – I ended up at Mayo for several days for my Spring check-up. As of tonite, I’ve had 15 appts in 2 days and I’m beat up. The hardest and longest appointments are the ones checking my autoimmune retinopathy- they actually put ELECTRODES ON MY EYEBALLS! OWW. Right now- I’m radioactive. joint scans , X-rays, MRI’s – just to determine the damage from the RA and Lupus. Did I mention that I’ve lost 35 lbs from a combination of celiac disease and IBS in the last year? In addition,due to reaction of an antibiotic, RA, ligament and tendon damage I have to wear this on my ankle for the REST OF MY LIFE! How would you best accessorize?
4 more appointments tomorrow and I’m finally heading for the barn. I’m really homesick – I miss my bed. Back to Mayo next week for several more days – results of all of these tests.
How does empathy tie into this saga? Mayo is a place many people go and get less than optimal news. I’ve learned from coming here since dx with PI in 2002, that you can walk into a restroom and find someone crying; get on an elevator and find an entire family so upset it breaks your heart; you can sit in the cafeteria and learn an entire life history from an old guy who just lost his wife. But I’ve also learned when to listen, when to hug, when to cry with them, and when to give them space. A few times I’ve been them – and they’ve given me the kindness that I needed at that precise moment. When I can- I always try to give back. So that’s how this all ties in together. And the lesson that I always learn when away from home – either on the road- or amongst other patients – is that kindness to perfect strangers is the greatest gift we can give and receive.
THE KINDNESS OF A PERFECT STRANGER!
Give a hug,