Because I have a history of making bad, even stupid, decisions about my health, my initial fall and loss of strength didn’t trigger an immediate trip to the hospital. No, that happened on a Saturday and on Monday I was scheduled to do a four day lecture series. I decided that I’d go do that and then deal with whatever went wrong. Somehow, in my mind, the possibility of it getting worse never crossed my mind, I had it that it would go on hold, I’d do what I needed to do, and then I’d get to the health stuff.
I made it through two days of training. On the morning of the third, I knew I was worse, much worse. The night had not been kind and now I knew I was in trouble. I told Joe that I couldn’t do it, we’d have to cancel and go home. I hated doing it, I hated myself for doing it, but I knew I had to do it. The audience had been a nice one, lovely people, paying attention, and asking good questions. I felt I had abandoned and betrayed them. But. I was desperately sick.
During hospitalization I had to cancel a number of trips. It was clear that I had been hit hard by this infection, that I had to rest and take time to get better. It all weighed on me, almost to the point of crushing my spirit. It was like one part of my brain was saying, ‘good boy, you are making all the right decisions and taking care of your health and your future,’ and another part of my brain was saying, ‘you failed, you failed all these people, you let everyone down, who will ever trust you again?”
Then I realized I was fighting a double battle, one for my physical health, one for my mental health. I needed to be taking care of both. And, again, I think I was managing that. Look, I’m back to blogging.
But then yesterday I received an email.
It was from someone who had been at the four day training that had suddenly become a two day event. She was there when I fell ill. She just said that she, and others, had been thinking about me and were hoping that I was doing well. Then she said that she had enjoyed the training, that she had learned from it and that it had been valuable to her. Even just the two days. She’d like to hear me again.
I can’t tell you how much this cheered my spirits! I felt that because I didn’t make it all the way through I had wasted their time, that I hadn’t given them anything. But this was the darkness talking. Here she was saying that what I had done, even in just two days, had mattered. That I mattered.
I don’t know what inspired her to write me that note. But it mattered. She mattered.
I wrote he back and told her that she must be the nicest person alive.
She had been there when illness took me from doing what I loved. I had imagined how people felt being abandoned by their instructor half way through a course. I had been wrong.
I got up this morning feeling a little brighter, a little lighter, a little more like the battle is worth it.