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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Road in My Head



Anna (pronounced  Auna) the woman who is taking over for Amanda while she is in training, just left.  She took me to the store, came back and scrubbed down my apartment.  She did much more than they say she would do; like deep cleaning.  I didn’t really ask, she just cleaned by bathroom really well, and boy did it need it.  Then she vacuumed and tidied up the kitchen. 

We had about 30 minutes left of her time with me, and I gave her something to drink (not alcohol) and we sat and talked.  I showed her pictures of my family and she talked about herself and the fact that she is from El Salvador (she’s legal and has three kids that were born here) but she misses it and may go back.  She works her tail off and I know they don’t pay much.  I wish I could give her more but I can’t.  I already pay $300 a month for the help, but it would be a lot more without Medicaid.

I didn’t realize until I started getting the help how much I really needed the help.  Just going to the store wears me out and causes the pain to shoot skyward at light speed; there’s hardly energy left to put things away and clean.  When I do vacuum, it hurts like the dickens.  Even taking my recycle out (it’s a bit of a walk from my unit) makes my legs burn with neuropathy.  I was in tears talking to her about it.  But not in a “poor me” kind of thing.  It was more like embarrassment and shame.  Shame that I need the help at my age (like that has anything to do with it) and embarrassment that I need it at all.  It makes me want to crawl into a hole.

I know there are others (in fact, one of the replacement helpers had a brace around her lower back under her shirt which she showed me AFTER I had asked her to do something that would have been too hard for me….lifting something.  IF I had known she had the brace, I never would have asked her to do it) with worse problems than mine.  Still, I beat myself up all the time.  And then I swing to the other side, wishing I had a partner in life who could help me with these things.  I feel guilty that I need it because of the economy, and then I go down the very dangerous road in my head…you know the one.  Sigh.

I want to be strong and I give prayers of thankfulness every time I buy my groceries, put them away, make my meals and all else that is living.  I thank G-d for the help I’ve got, for my family, my friends and the strength that it took to get this far.  I want nothing except freedom from pain….but as Stephen Levine writes: “Freedom, as it motivates us toward our natural state is great joy: the desire to be free from things the way they are is great suffering” 

For me, there are few truer words.

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