A trusted advisor told Max last week,”Wallowing in self pity is a choice.” Ha, I beg to differ.
Sometimes, self pity is the rational response to one’s situation. Just as depression, anger or grief are rational responses to heartbreak, betrayal, and loss, for example.
Our culture insists that we have the power to change things by being positive, and inherent in this thinking is the disapproval of “negativity.” If I were in Max’s position and someone had delivered such an inane assessment of my mood, I hope I would sock him in the face.
Barbara Ehrenreich has written a book about the pressure to be positive, and I couldn’t agree more. She recalls being admonished at a cancer support group, soon after she was diagnosed with the disease. At one point, she was even offered a book called “The Gift of Cancer.” Having hope is one thing. Denying fear, rage or self pity is unhealthy at best, and it’s often just another way to blame the victim of disease or tragedy or unlucky circumstances.
Me, I am full of negative emotions. When things are hard, I freak out. But I know I will keep fighting. That’s why I like to identify with the samurai, and I guess that part is a choice. I could choose to identify with Sylvia Plath, or Joan of Arc, but there is no resonance there for me.
I like the idea of staying on my horse no matter what. I intend to plunge into any battle with total commitment, even if I’m outnumbered.
In the case of the pretend “hospital,” they told me once again that Blue Cross had denied further treatment there, even though Blue Cross denied this. I told the case manager at the “hospital” that we would refuse any discharge plan and appeal any refusal of payment by Blue Cross.
Meanwhile, Max’s current roommate, the one with the noisy oxygen machine, now has an infection from his PICC line. His family has not returned after one visit. I’m afraid he won’t get out of there alive. I ask him every day if he needs anything, and he shakes his head, No. A social worker came to see him last week and asked him to rate how tired he was on “a scale of 6 to 20.” I swear I’m not making this up. Where are numbers one through five??
Today, Max stood up for the first time in nearly ten weeks. Hallelujah. I’ve found a great hospital with an Acute Rehab Unit, but he’s not quite strong enough for their program.
Everyone who has sent their blessings and good wishes, the saints who donated to the Sister Wolf Fund, and the people who made purchases from the Sister Wolf Museum of Hoarding, you have given more comfort and cheer than you can imagine. My sword would be so much heavier without you.