On occasions I really miss the person I used to be.
When I was a child I was fearless. If I wanted something nothing stood in my way. I had no mental barriers telling me I couldn’t. No thoughts which urged caution. For me the way was simple. Yes you can.
Now I am older and some would say wiser.
But I wonder?
Today I think before I act. I wonder is it worthwhile? What will others think? Should I?
Is it the right thing to do?
The more I think the more likely I am to do nothing.
Maybe it is a safe way to get through life but it sure is very different to how I used to be.
I miss the old me.
I remember as a twenty year old coming home from work. I was a student nurse at the time. My father was dying from Motor Neurone Disease and was very unwell. His temperature was high and he had a chest infection.
My father had had to have surgery to implant a tube in his windpipe so he could breathe properly. A tracheostomy. However he could cover it and talk. We had had many discussions about his illness and his dying. The one promise I had made is that I would ensure he could stay at home.
This particular day as I arrived home I realised we were in the middle of a crisis. My Dad was very unwell. He was unable to cough effectively as his chest was slowly becoming paralysed. All part of the disease. As a result he was very congested. He urgently needed a suction machine. We had applied for one but had not managed to get one.
I was enraged. If I could get a suction machine Dad could stay at home. To make matters worse my Mum told me Dad was to be admitted. A new public health nurse was returning within the hour to reassess him and would call an ambulance if he was no better.
I went into my Dad, but he was gasping. His colour was dreadful and his chest was bubbling. I kissed his forehead and in a moment of clarity I knew what I had to do.
Without thinking I roared to my mother as I left the house, that I’d be back soon. I went out and I remember slamming the door very very loudly. My mum came running after me, asking me what was I going to do? I said with certainty “I’m getting Dad a suction machine”. My Mum looked at me and said “Patricia”. A name she calls me when she is exasperated or mad at me. I will leave you imagine her tone of voice. She, however, was unable to stop me.
I arrived at the hospital about a half an hour later and my feelings were unchanged. I had had no second thoughts, no wondering what to do, no caring what others might think.
Without an appointment I knocked and walked into the Matrons office. It caused a bit of a stir but she agreed to see me. Did I want to sit down? No definitely not. I had no time for chit chat. I told her straight out I needed a suction machine and I needed it now.
As I think back to that moment I sometimes smile, at other times I cringe. We were a very busy hospital. All suction machines were badly needed and were hospital property. However I saw none of that. My Dad was drowning and I was not ready to lose him.
She asked me to wait outside. I looked at her and said, “If you don’t get me one I’ll find someone who will”. She held my hand and said she’d make a phone call.
Five minutes later I walked out of the hospital with a suction machine. I can remember my mothers reaction a half an hour later when I arrived home with it. I think she was convinced I had robbed it!
The hospital never once asked me to return it. My Dad recovered from that infection without a hospital admission and lived for quite a number of months afterwards, thanks to the matrons generosity.
As I think recall that impulsive, nothing would stand in my way, devil may care girl, I wonder where she went?
She was definitely a handful. But I can’t help missing her.
Older and wiser? I’m not sure. Just a lot more cautious. A little more careful, and certainly a lot less spirit.
Maybe it comes to us all?
photo credit: Alin S Living with Autism via photopin cc
photo credit: GlacierTim via photopin cc
15 thoughts on “When did I lose my spirit?”
Somewhere in here is a pretty funny comment about an Irish girl and a sucking machine, but me brain be a little spent right now to pull it together. Rain check??
Ha ha. I too have a very clever retort but we will skip that also!! I am just mid way through your post from today!
A heart of gold, that’s what you have. Having lost my stepfather recently, your post brought me to tears. What a special daughter, a true gift to him you were. You may be wiser now, but I’m sure the ‘old’ you is still alive and well. No one that strong willed can be tamed.
Thank you. Maybe if I was put to the test I’d revert to type! Sorry to hear about your stepfather. My condolences to you and your family.
Sure, hopefully we do indeed get wiser with age. But even now, same circumstances, even with the wisdom of today….you would do the same thing. I believe that.
I really am not sure. I hope I never have to find out. But I know it would have been a very brave person who came between me and the machine that day.
I believe in what you did then, and I don’t even know you and I believe you would today as well. And you can’t make me believe other wise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉
Oh, Tric, you just brought me back to caring for my mom when she was at home dying. I, too, had that same spunk 30 years ago, only it was the day after her death arranging her funeral. I nearly killed a young man who worked at the mortuary. I laugh about it now, but I got the thing done that needed to be done. Yet, I think with the passing of time comes a shifting of priorities.
It’s not that I’m complacent now, or even comfortable; I’m content. And I know deep down, should something truly need to be done, I would again get it done, just in a quieter way than before. So would you.
That girl is still there. Hopefully, you won’t be tested again any time soon, but find we surprise ourselves when our loved ones are involved.
I also was a young spunky girl who grew into someone who was worried what was “proper” and what others might think. After my 50th birthday, I realized I no longer cared if anyone liked me. My friends knew the real me and I didn’t need to impress people. It was quite freeing actually.
Still, don’t mess with my family…….. 🙂
i don’t know tric, but you still strike me as that kind of person. i always find you to be very honest and strong.
I doubt that you have changed at all – your spirit is still alive and kicking butt, girl. Maybe it’s just that luckily you haven’t needed to kick out as you did for your Dad since that time, which is a good thing. You’d still move mountains for your family if you had to.
I hope I would, I was a force to reckon with in the old days! Maybe I’d get things done a bit more diplomatically now.
You may be a little more cautious, but I could still envision you getting the machine today! Even if you didnt though, I know one thing for sure….You certainly haven’t lost your spirit. This was a joy to read, as usual:)
Thanks Tia. You’d appreciate how unusual it would be for a hospital to give away a machine to a student!
I do actually!!! That’s why I find you even more fascinating!:)