Always be prepared

two person walking on pathway between plants

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My grandfather was a scout and won a lifetime award from the Boy Scouts. My father was an Eagle scout and all four of my brothers worked hard for that same honor.

You might be thinking that this is about the Boy Scouts and how they have changed over the years. You would be wrong.

This is about how I absorbed the honor in the code because I was a girl surrounded by Boy Scouts. I absorbed two things– be prepared for anything and honor. It was the reason I finally enlisted into the US Navy when I was 27 years old.

My problem is that you cannot be prepared for everything. It was a hard lesson to learn. Being stalwart is all good. But, when the winds blow and your life is uprooted, then it is better to be able to bend like tall grass.

Oaks crack in very strong winds.

So I am in a new strong wind. Even though I knew for years that eventually I would get to the point where my kidneys would fail again.

Let me tell you about last time. I was going Grad school to get my MA in Adult Education. I was halfway through the program and doing well– well enough that I was getting job offers– when my kidneys failed. I can list all the symptoms and if you haven’t had a disease of an organ failure, you won’t be able to understand the devastation.

I will try. I had just finished a class and was writing the last part of my assignment, when I began spewing liquids at both ends of my body. I thought it was the flu at first. All I had to do was to be steadfast and I would survive it. Everything I ate started to come up. I could time it. I would drink Gatorade and in four hours I would vomiting the red stuff into the toilet.

I lost weight– about ten pounds in less than two days. When you lose this much weight and when you can’t get nourishment from food, then the brain goes. My entire life was focused on sleeping and vomiting.

I don’t tell you these things to gross you out. I’m making a point. No matter what dreams and goals I had had up to that point, they were gone. Even when I was diagnosed and put on meds that saved my life, my cognitive function never fully came back.

I could cry at what I had lost or I could bend and look for something else to do.

I have to admit that the first two years as I took the meds and lay in bed, barely able to move, that I did crack. When I started to feel well enough, my mind was still under the influence of prednisone, which made me crazier than a fruit loop.

This wasn’t the only time that I have been hit so hard that I didn’t know if I would come back. I have to remind myself that this glitch is another setback. I can survive it.

Dreams are good. They let us go farther than without them. But– when that wind blows in your life bend with it. Instead of a tree, you might be a seed being sent to a new life.

Changes are always drastic and always chaotic.


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