In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again. At times, I feel like a modern day Sisyphus, especially this past week.
I give up; today, I am bringing out the party hat, pity party hat, that is. I will refer you to Chapter 6 of Slipped Away for finding out about pity parties through Steve’s eyes. Many perceive me as strong and dealing well with the cards life has dealt me. However, as it was with Steve, things are not always as they seem. I write because it is cathartic and I usually can convince myself with my own words that things will turn around and get better, hence most of my blogs end on a positive note. However, I am struggling to be positive right now.
This was a particularly bad week. Friends of both Steve and I lost their young daughter to cancer, another friend of Steve’s and myself who was battling ALS passed away, another friend of ours going back to the 1980s is in liver failure and an online friend of mine who has been so supportive of Slipped Away is dealing with some serious health issues. Being the good multi-asker I am, I thought for sure I could handle all this. After all, I have survived cancer, the suicide of the love of my life for 33 years, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and moving to a new home over 70 miles away from my roots. However, my PD symptoms seem to be rapidly progressing so much so, that I wonder how much longer I will be able to live independently. Sometimes I try not to give any energy to the thought that I have PD, other times, I feel I must accept it. Refusing to acknowledge I have this disease is a Sisyphean effort in itself.
So, to try to step outside of my misery box this weekend, I decided to drive out to Montauk (a place that holds so many happy memories of my life with Steve) to watch Airborne Tri Team members participate in what was Steve’ favorite triathlon. Along the way, I experienced multiple emotional breakdowns, each one precipitated by passing a favorite place Steve and I used to frequent. I was even staying in the same hotel room Steve and I stayed in whenever he did this race. Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck and I holed up in my hotel room all night. I knew I would break down in tears just talking to anyone about something even as mundane as the weather.
Then, the next day, as I was watching the race, I believe a “perfect storm” (PD symptoms, dehydration, hot sun and emotional state), caused me to pass out at the triathlon. It was surreal, and I felt it coming on. As I started blacking out, I slumped to the ground. I could hear my friend yelling to have someone call 911. I sensed people rushing around me, heard the sirens and felt the oxygen mask going on my face. I tried my hardest to sit up and tell everyone I was okay, but it was a futile effort.
I am thankful for the excellent care and compassion of the Montauk FD EMS team. Since my vitals were okay, I chose not to go to the hospital. What was in the back of my mind what a doctor friend of Steve’s once said to us. He told us the best way to remain healthy is to stay out of the hospital. Other than feeling like my usual lousy PD self, I will be okay to try to push that boulder up the hill once again.
Since my head was spinning this morning with so much “not in the moment” type thoughts, I decided to take a yoga class to try to clear my mind. The instructor had each of us randomly pull a card from a deck of wisdom cards she had so that we could reflect on it during our practice. Of course, my eyes filled with tears after I saw what my card said… “self acceptance”.
I will end today’s blog on that note and take off my party hat. I have work to do.