Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Doctor Is In

Yesterday I had a bit of a "check-up" of sorts with a doctor of mine from the past. As soon as I enter the ward I begin to feel anxious. They say smell is the sense that will trigger memories most readily. Isn't it funny how often the strongest memories that come rushing back are negative? I wonder why our brains are programmed that way.

I can't say that the visit didn't disturb me or throw me off for a little while. I can say that I didn't allow it to ruin my day.

At the moment I was living the worst part of my life. I have more negative memories from that time in my life than I will ever choose to share. It's easy to forget that there were positives as well.

And so I choose to remember the positive.

I remember my mum cooking me a scrumptious breakfast prior to me going to class in the morning, temping my palate. I remember Mum rocking me, playing a song by Steve Bell. I remember my parents going the extra mile to seek help. I remember a Christian doctor who didn't always follow all the rules - who gave me the impression that he cared about his patients. A nurse who yanked the covers off me and forced me to face another day, proving to me that it's ok to use tough love with your patients.

A girl who saw me in a class and approached me to develop a friendship. Janell, you have lived more life with me than anybody else. Good and bad, we've made it through things together.

My sister and her husband sneaking their laptop in to play me "Achy Breaky Heart". The entire family in the lounge when Jen pulled out a huge bucket of lego. And we created as a family. Jen made an archway. I met my beautiful sister-in-law for the first time. I knew she was something special right away, coming to see the sister that her new boyfriend loved. Letters from David. I still have them. Timmy visiting faithfully with the parents. I remember daily visits from Mum and Dad. And watching out my window as they drove back to the farm, Dad often flashed his flashlight towards my window. And I would cry and smile. Grandma and Grandpa as well. I remember them bringing me Hagen Daaz ice cream - 6 bars of chocolate coated vanilla bars. Pistachios were my favorite food and I would go through Costco sized bags. Alex and Monica came for a night of movies and snacks in the lounge. Gerry visiting faithfully, "standing in the gap" for me. I remember a pastor's faithfulness. Darnell visited week after week, reading me Psalms and then going home and printing the ones I liked so that I could put them on my walls for easy reference. I remember walls filled with cards and pictures.

And then Guelph. I met Amy, my amazing adopted sister who I love as much as if she really were. I remember her family and making Schmoo Torte and questioning the ingredients we had found online. I remember movie night and Blind Date on TV. Christmas was spent away from the family, but Mum made sure I had a tree and plenty of presents. I think more than everyone else there combined. I remember Anne. What a good friend she was. Strong, intelligent, beautiful. I often long to see her again. I remember William. Handsome, fragile, tender. We went for long walks and shot pool. His hair was the coolest. I remember Bible studies and helping Patricia become a Christian. Linda was my roommate for while. She slept with her purse. I slept with my teddy. I remember crying when it was time to go. It's funny how going through intense "stuff" together bonds you.

All of these are about people. There are times in people's lives when family and friends either pull together or pull away. I'm thankful for those who pulled together for me. I couldn't have done it alone.


Amy said...

*fake hugs*

Its true, unpleasant memories can come up so quickly sometimes, but its 'membering the good things and seeing how far God has taken us that makes us realize how blessed we really are. Really really...Five years for me yesterday. Pretty impressive I say. Love you sis, you made the dark times not so scary.

Linda said...

Beautifully said Val.

Mom said...

I'm beginning to think your skills are being wasted on the hospital ward -- charting is not very creative writing (at least I hope not)! You do have a few other skills, like being very smart and able to do 10 things at once, that I imagine are very handy for a nurse!
I am so thankful for the way you have allowed God to work in your life, creating beauty from ashes -- which is, after all, what God is best at.
I am very proud of you -- you bring an incredible compassion and caring to your work -- you understand pain (in all it's many guises) in a way you never could if you had not gone through this time. Although it was at great cost, you have become richer for it. I love you!

Valerie Ruth said...

Aims - congrats on 5 years!! it's a big deal. ((((fake hugs)))) and *real feelings*

Thanks for the compliment, Linda.

And Mum you're one of my hereos. Thanks for always lifting me up and never giving up on me. Your words are extra meaningful to me.