Monday, March 10, 2008

Interacting with Others

Today was a day of medical pursuit. Where normally I might see one practicioner in a day, I was scheduled for Physical Therapy this morning and then a couple of hours at
Cedars Sinai's Procedure Center later in the afternoon.

I was actually quite dubious about starting PT again. In the past, I've gone there and although I've received good and appropriate care, sometimes felt like I was left to fend for myself. But this go-around, I've received more attention than I could ever deserve. The Therapists and the Assistants are at my side constantly, rooting me on and helping me to physically achieve a better experience and result.

At the Procedure Center, I received IV fluids to rehydrate me. Again, I got more attention there than I was used to. The treatment I endured today was nothing that required any great monitoring, yet the nurse and the receptionist and many of the other nurses were quite interested in me. Animated as they talked and relayed stories of their own lives.

At the same time as all this is going on, I've met a very nice man at Slimmons named Larry Myers. I would normally not let out a full name on this blog, but the fact is that as of tomorrow, he will be known nationally anyway. You see, last week Inside Edition came to Slimmons to tape a segment about his 500 pound weight loss and current struggle to get some of his excess skin removed. Unlike in my case where the skin is unsightly and a small nuisance, his poses a real health threat and needs to be addressed. The sooner the better. The segment is scheduled to air maybe tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, but I think it may be a two parter and will be on both days. I'm sorry that I don't know for sure.

I reached out to Larry since I, to a small degree, have some experience being highlighted on a national TV program. (Entertainment Tonight, 2005, Walgreens Health Corner, 2007, and an upcoming segment on HGTV's "That's Clever," date TBA.) It's an honor to be profiled by these shows, but with the honor also comes responsibility. Although I am not a celebrity of any kind, there are a lot of people who know about my profiles (friends that I know, friends that I have never met) and they expect me to behave and succeed in a certain way. They make no bones about letting me know if I disappoint them.

Larry reminds me of myself from a few years ago. Eager to move on with his life. Stunned at the possibilities after moving a mountain. Terrified of taking his next step. I've talked to him several times, both at Slimmons and privately. Although I believe that he is genuinely happy to hear from me, I also think he's afraid to reach out and connect. I know that feeling well. Being so afraid of being slapped down (or doing the wrong thing, causing people to reject me) that isolation is preferable to the fear.

With these three experiences under my belt in the last week, I really have to think, again, about my progress. I am still scared to move forward. Still so afraid of what others think that I sometimes don't take advantage of opportunities that are right there for the taking. My Spinning Guild is a perfect example. A couple of people have not been so nice to me in the past year for I-don't-know what reason, but most of them are wonderful. Many have (finally) noticed that I haven't been coming around and sent me e-mails of encouragement, asking me to return.

And on the other hand, having so much help in the Physical Therapy and Proceedure Center venues makes me think too. The last time(s) I was at each of those locations, I looked not that dissimilar to what I look like now. So I can't necessarily say that my different-and-better treatment is just one of cosmetics or appearance.

Perhaps my attitude has shifted more than I was aware. Perhaps I was off-putting in appointments past and and now have finally become accepting of help. And because of the change in my attitude, their attitude has changed too. Or maybe their's didn't. Maybe they always wanted to help me to a greater degree than I realized and allowed. Maybe I've learned to interact. Maybe.

Now I'm considering my Spinning Guild and other fiber venues again. Have my fears been over nothing? If I was to show up at the next meeting(s), would I experience a not-horrible or maybe even a pleasant reception?

And would this apply to other activities, events, classes, and venues that I have never been brave enough to try?

I need to think.


Anonymous said...

i love you for being you no matter how down and dirty to bright and shiny you get (Does this make sense) please don't ever feel obligated to show me anything but the true you because that is the you that I fell in love with as a good friend when I needed one in the clubhouse. That was the you that reached out to me at slimmons and welcomed me when I was scared to take that step and cried alot that weekend.

I love you more than I can put to words here. You've been more real to me than a person that I thought was my friend that I've known for 15 years.

When I wonder if anyone is even reading my blog or anyone ever feels the way I do or does this really matter you always come back to say something that always makes me think or know that you are there and I feel loved.

Thank you for being you with me. I do love and treasure you as a wonderful friend.

Vennie said...

Laura, I only disagree with one thing: you mention getting more attention than you could ever deserve. Phooey! You deserve all that and more! It's not a matter of earning proper as well as pleasant treatment--it's your right! Maybe during other visits you were less accepting of help. And maybe now you are learning to accept and say "thank you" graciously. (Don't we all need to work on that!) But the fact remains you deserve the very best, my friend.

If you decide to return to the fiber groups, go in with your head high and zero expectations. Be you, your lovely, funny, generous and bright self, and do not judge yourself by how others respond. There are always those who will be nice, and always those who will be petty and jealous. That's life. There are so many of us who love you just as you are, and for who you are, and always will.


Mrs. G. said...

I agree with Vennie. You deserve the best. We all do.


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