Saturday, August 6, 2005

MagogoS'S Musings on a Changing Life

 Mood: Pensive

Two years ago today, at 7:45 AM my life changed so radically that it is still hard to believe. I was at work at the Women's Prison, when I got up to run to the bathroom before the day began. I didn't know the phone cord was wrapped around my ankles and took a fall that rocked the whole Medical Unit. You can read about it in my first Journal entry, July 21, 2004(I have yet to learn how to link entries-maybe someone could tutor me). 

 I not only broke my right elbow, but shattered my right upper arm to smithereens(it was no longer connected!) and damaged the radial nerve, probably beyond repair. I spent 16 days in the hospital, had surgery, came home with a frozen shoulder and elbow, an uncontrolled drooping hand, and what eventually turned into chronic pain.  I have not been back to work since, although it was my dream job-HIV testing, counseling, and education, and running an HIV positive support group. I still miss the inmates dreadfully.  

This was the catalyst for the changes which have now taken over my life, dragging me along, sometimes kicking and screaming, occasionally flowing along smoothly with surprising (to me) courage.   I've learned a lot about myself. First and foremost is that while I hate change, I can be rather good at it at times. I went into physical therapy a fragile mess, and emerged 15 months later with the ability to move hand, elbow and shoulder close to normally. I have learned to cope with more pain than I ever thought possible, both acute, then miserable moderate to low, long term. I have accepted I will have serious radial nerve damage for the rest of my life. And I had to fight Workers' Comp every two months for more sessions  

I have become Warrior Woman with the Medical System, fighting and demanding and refusing to see mediocre doctors, even when I am sobbing with frustration between phone calls. And lately it has been literally screaming with frustration between phone calls, which is more satisfying somehow.  

I started going to a gym seven weeks after surgery, literally staggering in, mortified by my size, clumsyness and weakness.Now have a personal trainer(this still make me laugh) to whom I have been going for almost two years. I will never be buff, but I am stronger and slightly more mobile. I lost 45 pounds, gained 60 back and said, enough, never again. I spent hours researching Gastric Bypass, and chose to do it despite all I knew it would bring into my life.  

Of course, not all change is wonderful. Being home full time has lead to depression and self-pity and a real loss of identity-am I still an HIV counselor even though I may never go back to it? It has been hard on Rene, who is happily retired, to have me home and often miserable, and has put such a strain on our relationship that we're now in counseling together. And my WLS has not helped at all, causing more tension in the house.  

Still and all, change is inevitable, and while I will probably never go skipping happily forward into it, I now know that I can live with and (eventually)embrace the changes I am given by life. It will never be easy for me-my poor mother made that impossible-but I now know I can do change when it is thrust on me, and even choose to change when I know it is right for me. Not bad work in just a couple of years.  

I started my Journal one year and three weeks ago to muse on my changing life. I never dreamed that the support I would get from my new friends would often give me the courage to keep going during some very bleak times-but it is true. Thank you all so much, you have come to mean the world to me.  

Blessings, Margo            

11 comments:

indigosunmoon said...

Margo,
I haven't worked as a registered nurse in over two years now.  I feel at times so overwhelmed with sadness because of that.  I say I'm a nurse...but if I'm not a practicing nurse...am I still a nurse?  I've wondered that question myself.  
I'm sorry to hear that you and Rene are having some problems.  Going to counseling is a good thing.  You guys have been together too long to just let things go kaput.  
Anyway,  You are doing great my Warrior Sister!
Love you!
Connie

lrttklly said...

Being home full time has lead to depression and self-pity and a real loss of identity-am I still an HIV counselor even though I may never go back to it?

Hey, Margo...
You and I have a lot in common with this.
I can name the exact day I had to leave my career... practically to the minute.
You sound like a really strong woman... I love the warrior woman image... have you ever read the book "Warrior Woman"?

You will always be an HIV counselor. Work like that is more of a ministry than career... it is a calling. So the Divine will make the path for you is you toss in the work.

Regarding the "who I am" dilemma... FYI... I am now to the point in which I tell people I am a retired social worker.

That I have been able to live with.

Your journal, I am sure is also a big help to others with the same challenges you face.

Thank you for writing and sharing.
(((((Hugs)))))
Loretta

thebaabee said...

Margo,
Just as Loretta commented.... We have a lot in common.  I, too, am feeling hopeless.  Losing my career due to my health has caused many problems.  I cannot seem to get out of this hopeless fog I am in.  But then this morning in my email box there was something that gave me hope.  God doesn't want us to be in despair.  He has a plan for us.  I am still having a hard time seeing that plan but I have nothing left but to believe that this is true.  What else do I have?  I cannot live with these problems on my shoulders much longer without some kind of help.
Bunches of hugs and love, LuAnne
http://journals.aol.com/thebaabee/LUANNESLIFELIVINGWITHLUPUS

ryanagi said...

I know sort of where you are coming from. I gave up my career to be a full time mom. It was by choice, on my part, but it took a long time to mourn the loss of my "work" identity. I was quite successful in my career and being a mom was a new gig. The satisfaction I get from being a mother is not the same as working. It's good. But not the same.

christapaz said...

Happy Anniversary! You are two years away from the beginning a long growth period. It seems we often underestimate the emotional turmoil long-term change brings, but from the sounds of it, you grew into the courage needed to be where you are now. You have taken action to drastically improve your physical health, and that sounds pro-active to me. I don't seem to mind the changes I initiate myself nearly so much. Hopefully, it's up from here!  love, christa

blondepennierae said...

The support you have given others has overwhelmed any support we have given you.  You are someone that we all look up to, the 'Warrior Woman' that we all wish to be.  Love, Pennie

yankeygr said...

You sound like a very strong and wonderful person to me! I think you should stop beating yourself up so much. All the events that happened were not your fault, but still you have handled them with grace.  Keep your chin up!
             Love to you, Rhonda

jouell3935 said...

Another re-enforcement for me that out of negative can come positive. You found that positive. To me I find your story, your situation inspiring! Your strength, just witnessed here in Jland(as I have lurked for a very long time...:o)  )is  just so evident. SOmetimes we sit at the keyboard typing away, throwing thoughts out onto this monitor...knowing that when we hit save..it goes out into the internet abyss. We "forget" that our words reach others and touch others. As your words have for me. Happy Anniversary!! Glad you are around!!!
Peace
Jodi
PS
Go to the entry you want to link to...highlight in the address bar, copy...go to your entry...highlight the words(what you want linked) up above the edit box...see the little earth click that...then paste the entry link click okay.... should be set to go!
And we are neighbors, kinda sorta! I am in CT as well!!!

judithheartsong said...

love to you my dear friend. judi

mccine said...

Thank You.

hestiahomeschool said...

You mean a lot to me, as well...