A few weeks ago I wrote about some frustrations I had felt in regards to the fact that I had my surgery and how it had turned my life upside-down in ways that I didn't really appreciate. Someone pointed out what sounds like a cliche but holds true in this situation. It was that true friends will step forward and help you out and share in the burdens that are going on with you. I certainly saw many examples of that over the past few weeks, and perhaps it was a sort of lesson that I needed to learn for myself.
It can be generally said that if something happens to someone I know or they call for help in some way, I will step up and do what I can to help them out. I don't expect anything in return, I just do it. However, I completely and utterly suck at the reverse. I have difficulties with asking for help or even taking help from the folks I know and care about. A little of it is my nature, I'm a fairly independent person and pretty used to doing things for myself. However, it's also a bit of learned behavior in that I fear crossing that line where I'm going from getting a little extra support to becoming a mooch or lazy. It was like I was saying a few weeks ago, I felt wrong that someone was cleaning up my apartment and doing my laundry because my immediate reaction is they shouldn't have had to do it because it wasn't their mess to clean up, it was mine, and I should be responsible for it. However, considering that I was still using a chair to pull myself up off the couch because it was too painful to shift all of my weight into using my legs (as anyone would do), there was no way in hell I could have handled carrying clothing. What I needed to learn was that the people involved understood this and that was why they were willing to step forward and take care of things. Normally I'm the one who is thinking that I get what another person is going through and it's why I help them out, well I needed to learn that there are other folks I know who think the same way.
The other thing I got out of this was learning just who my friends were and where the quality relationships are in my life. It isn't just with those folks who visited at the hospital, gave rides, or stopped by; it was also those who expressed their concerns when they heard what had happened. I guess you do learn just who cares about you when you end up with something more involved than your standard sniffles.
Ultimately what comes out of this is the life lesson that it is perfectly okay to ask for and receive assistance from those you love and care about, especially when you're in a situation where some of your capacities are limited. Am I going to be perfect in recognizing when it's completely okay? Probably not. I will still have to overcome my natural instinct to be Mr. Independent, but at least I have a better sense of understanding that other folks I know will step forward if they feel it is right to do so, and if they didn't, I wouldn't hear from them.
Since we were on the subject about my surgery, I was asked the other day if I was scared of going under the knife. The answer is No. It's not because I am under the delusion that I am invincible or anything like that. However, I was in some pretty hardcore pain and puking my guts out every hour thanks to my reaction to morphine so I really wasn't in a state to sit and let my mind run through the possibilities of how this surgery could go and get worked up that it could go wrong. Besides that, I have no real fear of hospitals in general, and you can thank (or blame) my parents for that one ;-)