I used to count the months that I’ve been unemployed. Now all I know is that it’s been over two years.
. . . Once more, I had been inside my home a few days feeling crummy, both physically and emotionally. Some weeks are like that, some are not. Literally – finally pushed myself out my front door to walk to my mailbox in my condo complex. Foggy brained, I was thinking it had been a few days since I checked my mail. So many months I haven’t felt well. Along the way on my determined journey to the mail boxes, I saw my neighbor walking her dog. Her arms looked strong and tan as her dog pulled on her with his excitement of the smells of the great out doors. We chit chatted, “still unemployed” I heard her say. “Don’t know how much longer I can keep this up,” she added. Only us unemployed know what it feels like to be unemployed for a long time during this time with the economy. “See ya later!” she said as she and her dog took off with long quick purposeful strides. As I finally approached my mail box, another neighbor was checking his mail as well.
He took one look at me and said, “you’ve really lost some weight.”
“I’ve mentioned to you I’ve been quite under the weather.” I felt uncomfortable with his comment.
“But that was some time ago wasn’t it?”
I had no words for his reply. Too tired.
Slowly, I picked up my mail and closed the box. As I turned to walk back to my home I suddenly felt, angry, frustrated, tired and sad. And a new emotion joined in – envy – envious of my neighbor with her strong arms. I felt frail, weary and isolated.
This has been a long learning process for me. Every day an important lesson. The best thing for me to do is to never give up on striving to regain my health every moment of every hour. I must keep it simple. I know many people live with chronic pain. I know I am not alone – yet I live an isolated life as I attempt to regain my health as I look for employment on-line and send out my resume. Plus I am starting the footwork to apply for S.S. Disability. I’d rather get a full life back. But I must accept where I am at the same time.
Due to my many food allergies, eating the right foods so I can heal has become another life lesson – one so I may survive. Get my life back. Be me again. The damage to my gut because I carry 2 copies of the gene for an allergy to gluten can feel unbearable at times. . . . So much so that I asked a friend to take me to the hospital a couple days ago. I had been in nonstop agony. I kick into survival mode – hard to think. . . .When she pulled up in front of the hospital doors, I did not want to go in! But I did anyway – I could barely get my self out of her car. She had to go but she prayed for me – I felt it fill me up immediately. God is so powerful. . . By the time I got to an E.R. bed a couple of hours had passed and I was on my side curled in a ball from the pain. Have I ever been in the hospital by my self before? This is too much. I tried to focus on the activity around me in the E.R. I kept thinking about my father. He is too far away to sit with me. I noticed a handsome young man was being wheeled in on a stretcher, no shirt, lots of tattoos, a couple of cops walking behind him . . . Something was administered for my pain. A few long tests. Quite a few hours – till the middle of the night. Think I was there 8 or 10 hours or so. . .
Another young man on another stretcher passes in front of me, more cops walking behind him. “I wonder what he did wrong?” I thought to myself. He was so young and in trouble.
And that was it. How easily I can forget. I am a recovering alcoholic. Health challenges, unemployment, isolation. The answer is simple – as long as I don’t drink I won’t make things worse for myself! And, I have NOT made anything worse for myself. I’m hanging in there – sometimes I cry and sometimes I am able to laugh – but as long as I don’t make any foolish decisions and keep it simple I will get through this time. This too shall pass for me and so many others in my same situation. Chronic health challenges? Unemployed? That’s nothing. As long as I stay sober, then that’s something. I will pat myself on the back. I will continue to be a tough Prairie Girl – I will not become homeless. Hey, but if I do become homeless, I know how to build a pretty nice fire, my father taught me how when I was a kid.