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Boing, boing, boing…bonk, and maybe some perspective

October 30, 2007

I was talking to my friend Pat in church Sunday. Pat is 81, and a widow. Only the third day of my hydrocortisone regimen, I was very weak and tired. I’d been unable to come to church at all the previous two weeks, and the week before that I had to leave early, in a fairly bad state. I gave Pat my best hug and smile, and she said, “We take what He gives us, don’t we?”

Suddenly I realized the truth of our respective situations. The two widows in our church bear the greatest burden by far of any of us. I am certain that I speak for all of us with chronic illnesses and pain: I would rather have my husband than my health.

I don’t know how long it will take for the hydrocortisone to stabilize my energy, or whether it will. Sunday I was so weak that I needed help to manage the code-scoffing stairs to the restroom, and still couldn’t bear to go downstairs during the crowded time. Monday I was unstoppable. I cleaned, I shopped, I did laundry, I culled closets and filled bags for Goodwill, I cut fresh vegetables for a week’s worth of meals, I read, I wrote, I took care of several household business details. I was hyper; I had the grins. I was smiling at everyone in the store where I was shopping. I wanted to go out and find more people to smile at. In Tacoma, it’s largely a matter of luck whether smiling at people on the street will get you picked up by the whitecoats or the vice squad.

Today is Tuesday, and I’m at the bonk side of an apparent cycle. I know it is Tuesday from my atomic clock; the calendar is confusing. I needed more things I was too hyper to think of yesterday, and managed to venture out in time for noon traffic. Objects in motion seem threatening on bonk days. I followed a bus so I could drive slowly without being a pain.

Fairly recent memory tells me that the things of the morning that I take care of before venturing out take about 35-40 minutes. On bonk days they take three hours. I can’t account for the time at all. I shop in nice stores where people are very understanding while I stand there trying to remember why I’m there and what I’m supposed to do next. Slide the card. Smile. Say thank you. Look conscious. The up-side is that the simplest things seem like such tremendous achievements that it is actually very uplifting.

I have little doubt that my cortisol will be regulated within six weeks or so. I hope I will always remember the sense of tremendous appreciation of the seemingly trivial, because ultimately, there is no trivial; everything is necessary and everything is important, and everyone who contributes in any small way to the affirmation of this is the most important person in your life for that micro-moment in time. This inevitable connectedness makes us never alone. And God’s sovereignty is the very antithesis of diminishing: it aggrandizes His glory and makes unimportance impossible.

  1. October 30, 2007 12:42 pm

    Bonk mode obviously does not diminish your thinking or your writing. May God continue to give us both important moments.

  2. October 30, 2007 1:49 pm

    The riff from Tommy comes to mind:

    I have no reason to be over-optimistic,
    But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather…

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