You can’t always get what you want…”but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need”…that actually is not where I am going with this. Not that I have anything against The Rolling Stones! I probably couldn’t pick out a Rolling Stones song if you asked me to (except for perhaps the one I just referenced!) but that’s not because I have anything against them. I wouldn’t be likely to correctly identify songs by The Who, The Doors or Pink Floyd (band names courtesy of Google search for ‘artists similar to The Rolling Stones’…please don’t judge me for my lack of music knowledge) either. However, all of this is entirely irrelevant.
Here’s where I am actually going with this…
Basically, life is never going to be perfect. There are always going to be things going on that we don’t want, and all we can really do is try to make peace with the bad things, learn from them, and look for the good hiding within them. While we’re doing that, we can look for all of the good things that are simultaneously present in our lives and give them our attention instead.
Well, that’s easier said than done. I do my best to stay positive, but some days I just don’t want to. Some days, I don’t want to think about all of the good things in my life because I would rather just focus on what’s wrong. It just so happens that today was one of those days.
Pretty much, my feeding tube and I have a love-hate relationship. I love that keeps me alive but there are a lots of things I hate and today several of those things were all working in tandem. My new stitch, which was happily just hanging out for a week, has apparently had a quarrel with my skin and the two are no longer on good terms. This means redness, pulling and pain. I’ve spent too much time these last several days taping and re-taping my tube to try and minimize the pulling. As a result, my abdomen is covered in adhesive remnants. Remember when I said I had really sensitive skin? Well, all this putting tape on and pulling tape off has made it a little angry. Then there is the granulation tissue. I was told it usually goes away and stays away after the fourth attack with silver nitrate, but mine is apparently exceptionally stubborn because even though it has been burnt off six times, it continues to stand its ground. Again, sensitive skin.
It doesn’t help that today I am tired which makes me extra irritable. Twice last night my feeding pump alarm went off and woke me up. That may make it sound like someone was trying to steal the pump, but believe it or not the pump doesn’t come with an anti-theft alarm (though perhaps it should because it’s probably worth more than my 16 year old car). In reality, my pump alarms when there is an occlusion, or when it thinks there is one. Both times last night there were no obvious problems…no air bubbles, kinks, or clogs. I paused the pump to stop the alarm, restarted it and voila, it was fine. All I can conclude is that it was needy for attention. Logical, I know.
Anyhow, when I woke up today all I could think was that I didn’t want a feeding tube. Not only that, but I quickly started to form a mental list of all the things I don’t have that I do want. At the top of that list is a working digestive system. Mine has been on a four and a half year sabbatical and last time I spoke with it, it was still trying to ‘find itself’ so while I have hope that it will get its act together eventually, in the meantime I am not holding my breath.
Essentially, I was in a bad mood and I didn’t feel like focusing on all the good things in my life. What I wanted to do was have a pity party but if you know my mother, you know that I was not allowed to attend such parties growing up. Birthday parties? Of course. Family dinners? Absolutely. Pity parties? Nope. I really am grateful for this, but what it means is that I need to have a way to get out of a bad mood when normal gratitude just doesn’t cut it.
Alas, that is when I pull out a quote from Bob Dylan (whose musical stylings I am also unfamiliar with) in which he is actually quoting his father:
“Even if you don’t have all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don’t have that you don’t want.”
Finally! I’ve gotten to my point! You can’t always get what you want, but you can always find things you don’t want and thankfully don’t have. When I’m having a hard time working my way out of a bad mood sometimes this works. When all I want to do is focus on bad things, this is a way I can do that and move the attention away from my own problems. It’s still a form of gratitude but it just takes a different approach. This is also a really good reminder that even though I may feel sorry for myself or feel like it’s not fair that I’m dealing with all this, everyone out there is going through something. I know I often get frustrated when I feel like people don’t understand what I’m going through right now, but at some point in time I won’t be able to understand what they are going through. Frustration won’t help, but patience and understanding will.
The bad things that we don’t have to worry about? Someone else does. A lot of the time we won’t ever know what another person is dealing with, so I think it’s probably safest to always try to practice tolerance and kindness, just in case.