When a major life event occurs you deal with its lasting effects. You're left with the fallout of what transpired and you move on as best you can. Sooner or later, it becomes as if a dream. Even faced with the lasting evidence of this event, your memory colors it in such a manner that it blocks out the most painful moments, the most meaningful moments, just as a coping mechanism to go back to the grind of everyday living.
During my hospital stay when I had my liver transplant, I was not the best patient at first. It is incredible what organ failure does to your brain. You become confused, irritable, unmanageable, angry. Once (and this is from multiple third party references because I was not there mentally for the time it happened) a nurse was trying to help me, and she looked at me, and I looked angry. She could tell that I was going to try to swing a punch. From what I am told, she deftly avoided it and just said "Yep, thought he was gonna try that."
Anyway, there was one nurse who gave enough of a fuck to write me a letter. Her name is NOTYOGODDAMNBUSINESS, and I'll call her Genericname or GN for short.
She wrote this eloquent, two page letter telling me how I'd inspired her to be a nurse (she was a student at the time). There's a lot of detail there, and I'll add that later if you're interested but I just have to translate that into something that does not identify her. It all boils down to when I was in the hospital and swearing constantly because I was in pain and upset and she came in the room and I just told her "DO NOT count to three. Stab me and do it quick."
She was amazing. She grabbed my arm and pinched and just stabbed me and was like "DONE!". No cause for anxiety, no way to even retaliate, just she did it so fast I couldn't even come up with a way to complain about it. Skillfully, too, because she got me right in the muscle when I was emaciated, not easy to do.
Now we converse on occasion. It's quite nice to see things from her perspective. She's one of the people who told me (and one of the few who knew quite intimately) that I was knocking on heaven's door when I went to the hospital that first time. She was there for good and bad days and kept track of me. I never even realized it, I was too caught up in my own pain to know someone was trying to help me. And because I was all caught up in my pain I never realized what was going through her head. This is her letter, paraphrased, with all identifiable information removed.
"We rejoiced when you would ask for chinese food or a subway sandwich. I loved dancing in the halls when I saw you coming walking or in a wheelchair. There was a sign on your door because you were so mean to nurses, which said 'Do NOT enter unless authorized!' which to me said, unless you are *me*, don't come in here because he doesn't like you!
Some days I fail a test, or this gets overwhelming and I feel like I can't do it, I just want to throw in the towel. Then I remember you. So far, nobody else has ever told me that I can come hide in their room and nap if I needed a break. You made my experience as amazing as it was.
Even if I can't heal you, I hope I made your experience bearable. When I heard you might need a kidney, I wanted to give you mine.
You make me want to be a better nurse. I hope you know how incredible you are and how much you impacted my career. You make me want to be better."
For the time being, thats the basis of the letter. I just wish it were more appropriate to allow folks to come down to a level where we can understand each other. She did that for me. She could lose her job if I divulge her personal details, because it's not professional. But it's human, it's okay, it's a good thing to voice your feelings and try to help each other.
Btw the nurse was a he, so now ya feel dumb, huh?
Seriously, the world would be better if we could simply communicate better. It's hard for me to tell someone else I'm suffering and to ask for help. It's hard for other people, too. I just want to help. I don't want to be remembered as a monster who couldn't empathize, I want to be remembered as someone who tried their best to help others. I want my legacy to be there, I want to make sure that someone else has been taught that no matter your personal urges or any mistakes you've made or any other factors, that is okay as long as you keep your fellow man in mind.
It is okay to just try your best. I, if no one other, will value you for that. Pain every day does not exclude me from appreciating you.