Some recently asked me what if anything I had learned in the 18 or so months since I have been going through my medical issues. This is actually something I have thought about over the last year or so and I have wanted to put it into words, but I kept putting it off. It has challenged some of my long held beliefs about myself and the world. And for that I am grateful.
I remembering being in the hospital after my first surgery when they took the two toes off my right foot. The recovering time was going to be at least two months, most of that with a wound vac hooked up to my foot with me out of work. I was real scared because money was already mostly non-existent. I saw myself losing my car which would be bad since I was planning to move to Lancaster as soon as I could to be closer to my kids.
So I created a GoFundMe page and shared the link on my Facebook. I didn't know what to expect. But within an hour, I had my first donation. I was a little surprised. I felt a little bad, too. I felt like I was asking for handouts. I've never liked to ask for help. I prefer to find a way to do things myself. But I knew that wasn't happening this time.
Friends who couldn't help financially reshared the page. One former colleague in TV news shared it on Facebook. Not long after, one of his fans wrote me and I said, “I don't know you, but if he vouches for you, yu must be OK.” And she made a donation. Other folks I hadn't heard from in years chipped in. I was able to keep my car, pay for some prescriptions and finally see my kids when I was able to drive because of this.
I've always been cynical by my nature. I often have a biting sense of humor and at times my world view is dark. But what I have realized is that people are actually generally very nice. They want to see you do well. They worry about you when you're not. I made a post once and a friend saw it, noticed it was a little darker than usual and changed his plans for that day to come see if I was OK. I wasn't, but his visit helped tremendously. Another friend who is going through her own health issues knew of people in Columbia. Since she could not get down herself, she asked one of them to come see me. He and I turned into fast friends and I looked forward to his weekly visits.
It's been really eye opening. We are so quick to think things are much worse than they really are. Maybe we watch too much news. Maybe we follow too many folks on Facebook who share this view. But I don't believe tis is how people really are. I think the vast majority of folks are great people. I hope I remember tis feeling. I hope in time I can start helping people, too. I hope I can pay it forward. I owe it to the folks who have helped me.