Putting pain to good use

On any other Monday, I would be as fit as a fiddle, running around trying to do anything and everything that time can allow. Instead, I am lying in bed trying to type this post at an awkward angle.
For the past five years, I have been hospitalised at least once annually for a condition that is yet to be ‘correctly’ diagnosed. It comes in small doses during the year but there is always that one episode that comes prepared to crash and burn. When this happens, I run several tests with the hope of a new, more satisfying response but these efforts are mostly futile. Still, one must keep trying!
Last week when I saw a ‘new’ doctor, I recounted this to him and he asked “Have you been admitted this year?” I happily responded in the negative and he added, “So, is today the day?” I told him I hoped we would find an actual problem this time and treat it so I could go home. Several tests were done and they each came out negative. I left with drugs to take care of the symptoms, feeling worse than I did when I made my way to seek medical attention.
The fact that I know my body sometimes turns against me means that when I am 100% healthy, I have to be 150% active. When I work, it’s like my life depends on it with 2,345 items on my to-do list. When I dance, it is to ‘finish my money,’ never mind that half the time, no money has been paid in the first place 😛

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

There’s a positive side to all this and I guess that is what I would like to highlight today. Experience makes you wiser and wisdom gives you insight that can help you ‘save’ others. Let’s see if I can illustrate this.
My grandfather was a humorous man who always had a joke up his sleeve. When he got Alzheimer’s, it was difficult for us to tell because most of his actions resonated with the personality we had grown to love. When he was diagnosed, it all started to make sense, albeit too late. Thankfully, he came to live with us to ensure he was surrounded by love and maximum care in his last years.
One of our family friends whom I shall call George noticed some changes with his own father a few months later. When he shared this, mom quickly recommended grandpa’s doctor. As suspected, he too, had dementia. He began treatment immediately and the gentleman who had looked after grandpa during his illness is now a caregiver to George’s dad. Whereas we lost a loved one, another family benefited from the lessons we  learnt.

The irony is that as I treat my yet to be identified condition, I am constantly dispensing mostly unsolicited advice on the meaning of certain symptoms, which specialist to see and when to seek a second opinion.
My ‘experience’ as a full-time participant in health issues concerning myself, my loved ones and those around me  has ensured that I often make the right call ‘accidentally.’
Recently, I visited a friend’s mother after her surgery and very soon the room filled up with her friends and relatives. We exchanged several ‘horror tales’ of our country’s health system. After a while, her cousin tapped me and asked “How long have you been a medical professional?”
It was sadly funny.

I guess my message today is to encourage you not to let any kind of pain go unused.
This might sound pretty strange but you need to make the most out of it, in any shape or form that you can possibly muster.

Julie lost her job and it turned out to be a great time of self reflection for her. Before long, she knew exactly who her real friends were because the fake ones walked out the door the moment they realised she was broke.
It didn’t matter that she had picked them up during their lowest moments. They quickly forgot that and became instantly unavailable whenever she needed them.
As she starts her new journey, she knows exactly whom she’s carrying along for the ride and those she will happily leave behind.

We all have these moments. They come in form of different experiences.

You break up with Bosco, the love of your life and suddenly everyone has evidence to prove that he is such a low life. *Never mind that none of these friends told you when you were together. * <smh>

Before long, your heartbreak turns into a ‘good riddance!’ and guess what, you still continue to breathe after this failed relationship.

As cliche as it sounds, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. The best gift you can give to your current  and future self is to deliberately seek out the lesson in each situation that threatens or even manages to break you. After all, you can’t mend that which is not broken in the first place 🙂
It’s only a matter of time before it is a distant memory and the best ‘revenge’ you can ever get is to take a seat, grab some crayons and draw your little rainbow when it’s all over.

jumping

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Fare thee well

Viv sent me a link yesterday. I decided to wait till I was ‘free’ and comfortable before I could read it.

Little did I know that this blog post here, would change everything.

I sobbed pretty much through the entire thing.

It was deep, painful and I repeat, painful.

I don’t know if it was because I could relate to this numbing pain that outwits the mightiest of painkillers or the fact that someone was going through it, in real time.

Maybe it was Mbugua’s unwavering faith and the strength I could feel oozing from him as my shaky index finger scrolled to unveil a new paragraph.

Perhaps it was the fact that I was in a bad place myself and was suddenly guilty of not being thankful or even worthy enough.

Whatever it was, the post broke me into so many pieces and before I could recover, I sent Viv a message telling her all the things that I felt.

Her reply was “I just felt that you could relate and appreciate it. Must have been God speaking.”

I told her she was right and that I planned to read all his blog posts. She cut me short with the heartbreaking news that my newfound hero passed away on Sunday. The horror!

She cut me short with the heartbreaking news that my newfound hero had passed away on Sunday. Oh the horror!

I was almost  mad at her for giving me a good thing, then taking it away. If I felt like this, what about his family, his friends?

As if things could not get any worse, I found out he got better along the way and even proposed to his girlfriend who has been by his side the whole time. Now he was no more. Whyyyyyyyy?????!

“Lucky” for me I generally have trouble sleeping so I had plenty of time to mourn, pray and ponder life in all its complexity.

I was both humbled and convicted by a paragraph within his blog post where he dared to ask the question “Is all this pain worth it?” I have to share this.

To answer the question of whether it is worth it to go through this painful experience: If by this pain I have been a witness to the truth and glory of Christ; if by this pain I have strengthened and encouraged a believer; If by this pain I might have pointed someone to Jesus and caused them to desire a personal relationship with Him, Yes, it is worth it. My body will probably disagree, and it is expected, but I choose to side with my spirit and soul, which vehemently affirm.

Whether you are a believer or not, I am convinced each of us has a role to play, an innate ability, to inspire others even  in the slightest of ways.

We may not all be eloquent or confident  enough to stand tall and speak of God’s goodness but that we are alive is enough. For what better way to testify than to live your life? e have no excuse for simply existing because every minute is an opportunity for us to be a living testimony for everyone we encounter.

We have no excuse for simply existing because every minute is an opportunity for us to be a living testimony for all the people that we encounter along life’s path.

I visited the late Mbugua’s facebook page,  A prayer for Mbugua that has been open throughout his illness with updates and so many uplifting words of comfort and support.

It is evident he touched so many lives through his strength, faith and words.

I might have gotten to ‘know’ him at a time when he was saying farewell but he has impacted my life too.

The hospital bill was cleared as an emergency finance so that the family could leave the hospital in India. If I remember correctly, Mbugua’s body arrives in Kenya today.I got this number from the facebook page 0706551777 for contributions via Mpesa. At least the family can concentrate on mourning, knowing the financial burden has been lifted. Do support if you can.

Death is a thief and it takes those whom we feel most deserve to be with us but there is comfort in knowing that he who is no longer with us gave us great memories, and in Mbugua’s case inspiration too.

I did not know this graceful gentleman who lost his battle to cancer, but from the little I have learnt in the past few hours even I have a story to tell.

Rest easy Mbugua, may your memory continue to inspire and bless the ones you left behind.

verse