During covid I remember that one of the things I was concerned about was having medical supplies on hand. I downloaded a plant identification app for the purpose of learning the local plants and their medicinal properties. Somewhere I still have a tincture I made from purple dead nettle that I would’ve never consumed or let anyone else drink. It was supposed to be something that would counter the effects of a cytokine storm.

Downstairs I have a Rubbermaid tub of now expired IV fluids, tubing, and start kits. Like if for some reason the hospitals were shut down, or filled to the brim, or there was some kind of natural disaster like the people of Hoyleton being struck by an earthquake caused by the activation of the New Madrid fault and we needed to go back there and help somehow, then we needed to be ready. I haven’t started an IV in over 14 years, and when I retired, I had not reached the point yet of being completely confident with my IV start skills, where you’re a one and done stick with no bruises.

I remember one day when it occurred to me, when I was walking around identifying plants I no longer remember, that in all of these scenarios I am the one who is the helper and not the one in need of help. I am not the one in need of the IV fluids, sutures, or painkillers. I am the strong one helping the hurt or sick one in need. This disturbed me to think about. Counting on me to be the person who is never sick, never injured, never the one in need of care, did not seem to me a reliable system.

Josh took the boys to school today. They left earlier than normal which means they needed to be dropped off at the before school care program. We hadn’t registered them, we hadn’t paid for anything, we hadn’t let anybody know they were coming, he just showed up and dropped them off. All of this happened while I was barely awake, when taking them myself, while potentially doable, would not have been a smart option. The person at the door showed the boys where to go, where they stayed until it was time to go to their classrooms.

When they came home later I needed to go to the bathroom. I’d gone during the morning but this particular time I was having trouble standing up. Josh stood in front of me, walking backwards while I held on to him and he held on to me. “Isn’t this romantic?”, he said, and I said, “Yeah, it kinda reminds me of dancing.” Every time he’s had to do this I think, “No, this is my job.” This is what I am supposed to be doing, helping people go to the bathroom, get up and walk, and get ready for bed.

It’s crazy to me how visceral it all is, how close it still is, how fast it comes back. The memories, the motions, the walkers, the smells. I liked that job and yes indeed, I do miss it. Like, I am done now being the one who is in need and unable. I am done being the one impaired, who can no longer do the things I used to or want to be able to do. And I know this isn’t right, that I might as well be uttering blasphemy, that until the Lord returns, the good work and wait of being human is never done.

3 thoughts on “Fellow

  1. Andi

    My heart hurts in your anguish. Even though I’m not experiencing quite what you are I, too, am not doing well with life changes. Last fall, I was digging up bushes and cleaning out my very large hosta bed, when I messed up a lumbar disc. Now I can’t do things I love to do. I’ve been going to a chiropractor and it was feeling so good until Sunday when I moved wrong while simply cleaning my tub. So I started using my inversion table and I do get relief. But I can’t do many things that I want to do yet. And it makes me sad. Looking forward to going to the chiropractor today.

    1. Rebekah Post author

      Andi, I’m sorry to hear that you are going through something similar. 🙁 Lumbar pain is no fun and it can be very discouraging to be limited and experience setbacks like that. It’s such a tender part of the body, especially once its been hurt. It sounds like you are doing good things to help it. I pray that you would be able to get back to feeling good again, that you’ll be able to get back to your gardening soon, and that the chiropractor’s visit was helpful for you.


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