Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Truck or Train

I stopped by to see a loved one this week. About nine months ago, advanced Lyme disease overcame her immune system. She's had no pain-free moments since and sometimes wonders if her arms and legs now belong to someone else, as she can't always count on them to do what she commands.

She's getting help, mainstream and alternative, every kind there is. The mainstream treatment is akin to chemotherapy--with side effects that are debilitating, painful, and dangerous. A person wouldn't risk it unless she felt like death from the disease.

When I go to see her, I don't ask "Hi, how are you?" For someone whose future is limited to making it through this day, this morning, this hour, this minute, that question is too hard. Instead, I say, "I hope this is a good day for you."

She's evolved a shorthand answer, either "Truck" or "Train". The good days are "Truck". On those days her legs will support her body and she'll have energy to move. On the other days, her partner or her mother will hold her coffee to her lips and support her weight when she tries to rise.

The day I stopped by, the pain was bearable. She'd been able to get up and even go for a short bike and hot tub time. When I hoped for her good day, her face split in a grin and she said "Truck". We all smiled.

When your choice is between being hit by a truck or hit by a train, "Truck" is a good day. And a badge of courage.

3 comments :

Elizabeth said...

How awful for your friend -- and frustrating that there isn't more relief. You sound like an incredible friend, though --

I hope and pray that she feels better, that someone will figure out how to relieve her of this pain.

deb said...

Perspective.. and you've helped mine this morning, with your respectfully poetic take on hers.

Kathleen Scott said...

Thanks, Elizabeth and Deb. We have hope that she'll one day say "Airplane".