Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Condition We Are In

There is an old song that says something about "the condition my condition is in".

I have a condition. Don't we all?  I don't like it and I don't talk about it. Mine isn't visible, at least not usually, so most people never know about it. That is just the way I prefer it.

During a doctor's visit nearly ten years ago now, I was diagnosed.  He was a general practitioner, whom I respected, but still, it was a somewhat discouraging announcement he was making.
Although I had suspected it for some time, it was, nevertheless, disconcerting to have it made official.  So I made an appointment with a specialist in that field.

He confirmed the problem and then gave me his best attempt at a good news - bad news prognosis.  "Well, it won't kill you. However, there may be days when you wish you were dead."

Hello -"Thank you very nice" (as my favorite sportscaster, Mike Krukow, would say).  Krukow has a condition.  It has a long, complicated name and he does not like to talk about it.  We would know nothing of it, except that he stumbled and fell coming off the team bus last summer, and it could no longer be kept private.  He now uses a cane whenever he stands while broadcasting.  Other than that, nothing has changed - and he  plans to keep it that way.  I say good for Mike.
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Today I read a blog written by someone who fights something much more serious than that with which I struggle.  She wrote, "Don't become your disease."  She is right.  It is a slippery slope once you go down that path. And no good can come of it.

Two women, who worked in the same company with me, were both diagnosed with the same ailment as the one my doctor identified and at around the same time.  Within a few months they had both taken a medical leave of absence from work, certified by their treating physician.  One ended up hospitalized and later applied for long term disability. The other one simply quit and, from what I later heard, spent most days in bed.

I knew about their diagnosis because they were both very vocal about it.  They groused, they moaned, they actively sought out those who would commiserate with them in the break room.

I watched as they each "became their condition" and allowed their lives to revolve around their symptoms and ensuing work/life/health complications. It wasn't pretty. And according to my doctor and most of the medical articles I have read on the subject, it was mostly avoidable.

From the outset I decided upon a different approach.  I told no one at work, except my boss and two subordinates who would have to cover my duties on the occasional day when I simply could not get out of bed. I let them know that I believed this would be a very rare occurrence and that I had every intention of continuing my duties as usual.

Over the next several years I rarely missed a day of work due to the "condition" - although, as was to be expected, there were days when I struggled to work at the same energy level as I had previously. Once in a while, someone would ask me if I was "doing okay?"

"Yes, thanks, why?" I might reply.

"Oh, I just noticed that you are limping."
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The fact is that we all "limp along" in life, in one way or another,  Some of us limp in a way that is visibly noticeable, however we might try to disguise it. Others have mental or emotional limps that hamper their best efforts. Although we may not be able to avoid our limp altogether, we may often have a choice about whether to make it worse.

Regardless of the "condition" which may have occasioned a particular limp, my observation has been that those who do their best to ignore their limp, and simply keep putting one foot in front of the other, tend to end up in a better place than those who spend lots of time and energy focusing on their limp.  They constantly examine "what condition their condition is in."

Personally, I think each limp is unique.  It can add character, or even panache, to one's walk through life.  My belief is that one's condition is simply one attribute of one's self, like the color of our hair or how tall we happen to be.

Unless our condition is of a completely debilitating or terminal nature, and even then some people manage to keep walking with a lot of dignity, it only becomes fatal when we use it as an excuse to lie down and quit.

So there you have it.  Yes, I still sometimes limp.  But I don't see that as any reason to quit.  Do you?
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Hope you are not limping today.  But if you are, whatever you do, don't quit.  If you keep walking you may find yourself in a much better place.  If you quit, you are stuck right where you are.  Just saying ... Until next time, your gimpy but grateful gardener ~ Marsha


  1. "Your gimpy but grateful gardener", I like your attitude.

  2. This is so true. My husband's grandmother never slowed down. She always said, "If I slow, I'll stop." She never complained and took care of herself right up until her death at 94. Even the day before, she asked her son, who would come to visit, "What do you want for supper tomorrow night?" She never showed her age and enjoyed every moment up until the last. People like her (and you) inspire me!

  3. Hats off to you Marsha! Great post! Blessings to you!

  4. Great post! I see the results of people either becoming their condition or those who carry on, in my job. Attitude and mindset make a huge difference!

  5. You are my Cheer Leader!
    Great post!!

  6. I remember the story in Genesis of Jacob fighting with an angel and not giving up until God would bless him. He ended up with a limp. That's what came to my mind as I was reading your post. I do see people who give in to their diagnosis. If there's something to be gained by a particular treatment, I'm all for it. However, focusing on the negatives and possibilities that may not occur ends up creating a person who is always on the lookout for what will go wrong. Your attitude is so good!

    Blessings and love,

  7. Great thoughts and so true. And thank you because I am limping today but I am going for a walk right now to hopefully relieve the pain and help me forget about it.