Friday, February 11, 2005

A shot in the keister

As if I needed proof that life goes on, and just keeps on giving, the fates decided to bestow upon me a case of the flu this week. Woke up Monday with 102 degree fever. Most of you know that feeling. Tired, achy, hot, sweaty, then cold, like a truck ran you over. I didn't hallucinate or anything, but boy did I feel funky. Like a heavy bag of half dried cement with glasses.

At first I was furious. As much as you can be when the world is swimming in front of you anyway. You get a fatal illness and you like to believe that everything else will go easier to compensate. Your car won't break down. Garbage bags won't break. The Vikings will win a game. You won't get the flu. I mean, after all, I got the darn flu shot (I felt so special getting one during the shortage). And I'm always washing my hands and avoiding sick folk. So did the powers that be have it out for me? No. Of course not. These things just happen. Sick folks don't get put on a special list that prevents them from having bad luck.

I've often felt like, for me, getting ALS was like having a giant boulder dropped on your back when you're already carrying a full load. I would often feel overwhelmed with everything I'd taken on already, and to keep all those things going along with ALS, well, you feel like you're about to fall flat on your face and have it all come crashing down. And certainly my muscles can relate to that. Yes, a bit more melodrama for the day.

But another way I've looked at it sometimes, is that ALS was this giant grenade lobbed into my life. Boom. And the first few weeks I just stumbled around in shock, looking at all these pieces of my life lying around on the ground. My first instinct was to pick them all up, put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, and press on. Screw the disease. Tell it who's boss. I've been trying to do that. Make all the pieces fit again. But I've realized that it just ain't happening. I need to let go of a few things. So I'm looking at all those pieces, all those other boulders, and trying to keep the important stuff. But I'm a bit of a pack-rat. I don't like to give things up.

So I'm feeling better today. Back at work after 4 days out. What a nice short work week. And you know what? In a way I'm glad I had the flu. While it won't be a good thing for me down the road (the respiratory illness minefield is especially dangerous for ALS patients), it felt really good to get an illness that I could get better from. Getting better is a wonderful feeling. When you get ALS, nobody ever even mentions the idea.

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