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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Am Another Person


Racing legend Jackie Stewart once said, "When you put the visor down, you become another person."

I've been seriously thinking. It is time to up my game.

Do I really know if any of the changes I've made in past years is doing anything for me? Is it time to do more?

Today was a typical spring day. There is still a chill but it fades quickly in the morning now.

Spring holds a sensation of promise. There is renewal, literally, in the air.

I am always filled with sensations of yesteryear. Spring was a harbinger of summer. I would break out my baseball glove to take in the smell of broken in leather. Freshly cut grass was the world's cologne and clouds would hurry out of the way to give you the best blue sky you have ever seen though you saw the same sky the previous day.

Today was also Survival Clinic day.

I remove my work tag from my hip when I walk in because in a hospital people associate anyone with a photo tag as an employee.

The clinic always makes me jittery for one reason and one reason only.

I was the first to open their door today. Ten minutes later, the flock of children began.

I've documented the clinic in the past but I can never get used to it.

One year olds. Two year olds....etc. The parade continues - All balding or with no hair showing scars that run up the back of their naked skulls. Multiple tubes on multiple poles sustain them.

I'm the enigma or at least I feel that way. Nervous parents shoot quick glances wondering where, if any, is my child.

It's just me. I try to shrink in my chair.

A flock of bald boys hound one of the workers for the Spiderman House. Another wanted his mom to reset his video game for him. Still another sat in his stroller, wilted, his eyes barely staying open. He may be 5 or 6 years of age but he barely weighed 20 lbs.

A teenaged girl wheeled her way around the room in her wheelchair - All of this in a room no bigger than 20x20.

Chaos. Desperate chaos. Parents faking small talk. Children trying to be themselves.

I had no phones to play with. No technological distraction. I was thankful for that. I did it purposely. I find it cathartic to severe myself from the world even for a little while. This is what's real to me.

Still, I found myself looking out of the window. I followed a trellis made of pipe where starlings were hopping from point to point, heedless to what is going on inside.

One particular bird was busy ruffling its feathers over and over. He sat above a small roof paved with smooth gray and beige stones. I tried to find the flattest one for skipping along an imaginary lake. This takes up my time as more children poured in.

It was finally my turn. They called the only Joe in the room. As I slid my way around the large table filled with an enormous puzzle and a quizzical little girl who was lost in what must have seemed an infinite amount of pieces, I tried not to interfere with all of the play. Truth is, I tried not to step on the tubes, wheels and strewn clothing. I was the odd puzzle piece here.

I was sharing their world but I felt like an outsider. I am always reminded of how my parents must have felt when they took me to the clinic.

It was a long survivor conversation. Again, questions abound but it is all good. I am doing the right things. I am asked to tell others about it at some point. I have testing to perform for next level conversations. Always vigilant.

The nurse practitioner kept talking but my mind was elsewhere. The children get to me. I damn myself for thinking some may not make it to their next birthday. Many can't comprehend the precarious position they are in.

This fuels the nagging thought I've had about what is 'enough'. Can you make a difference? Can we change it all in the end?

Some days I say yes. Emphatically, yes.

Other days, I trip. In my head, I wonder. Lift your weights. Eat your greens. Run like crazy. Rinse. Repeat. All for what?

The children really had gotten to me. They always do.

Tomorrow, I will resolve to do it all better. Tomorrow, I will be a different person. It probably won't be noticeable. Deep down, I will feel the kick. It's a low tremor. All tomorrow.

I know within the changing tides called Me there are more untapped resolute feelings to expose.

I told the NP that viewed me today that I won't know if any of this works for another 47 years. The brings a smile to her face per usual.

I may have to be a different person to keep going. The only way I know how to do that is to put my visor down.