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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Forgiving the Inconsiderate

So much has happened in the past few months. I've been on overload and unable to write anything really coherent. So I'll try to catch up my tale and defrag my memory banks ;) Here is the first entry in the catch up.

I was given the wrong prescription this month, and before noticing the mistake (I take so many pills it's really hard to remember them all) I had taken it for close to two weeks. During that time I was very irate, introverted, and terrified. I was so scared and all I could think of is death and dying and how I didn't want to kill myself, but I didn't want to live either - I was done! I didn't know what was wrong with me, as usually I'm strong enough to work through my problems. Even when I saw my brother's family, I felt a strong need to be isolated, and I had a great deal of trouble relating to my nephews and their parents. I had a great deal of trouble being near anyone, or even talking on the phone. My own parents were hard to be around, as my paranoia soared to new levels, and my anger grew to greater depths.
So when I found out about the mistake: I was really exasperated by the situation. I go to doctors upon doctors to heal me, monthly visits and daily handfuls of pills.... it really pissed me off that someone's mistake had taken me a step back. I'd been taking two strong sleeping pills (hypnotics) each and every night. When I stopped taking them, at the advice of the pharmacists, I couldn't sleep for days.
Anger and despair gripped me, as I felt out of control. Many things in my life were making my disease much worse - people's problems, finances, health as usual, and the weather's cage around me gave me the worst cabin fever in months.
I went to the pharmacy in that anger, that exasperation, and I was quickly losing my temper with the pharmacist. She was angry right back at me, never apologized, and patronized me in a way that made me want to slap her. I felt like I was going to cry. I wanted an apology. I wanted them to know how sick I'd been in the past two weeks, and that I trusted them with my many pills. But this pharmacist was having none of it. She hated me and that was that. She even told me that I had to be more polite - and that it was my fault for not noticing SHE gave me the wrong pills.. pills that they knew I was sensitive to. Yep, I'm intolerant to these meds too. So my energy was being sapped by the anger that continued to develop.
I got my money back (a substantial amount, my benefits only cover certain drugs, a good portion of my drugs I must pay for out of my living expenses) and the right pills.. but I was so angry. I wanted her to pay, I wanted her to suffer like I do.. I wanted her to say sorry at least. I mulled over this for a day - cried for hours at my situation. Not just the mistake, no, the most part of what I was crying about was the sheer helplessness that came with fibromyalgia. Your body is decaying, you're on poisonous pills, pain is the main focus of your life - and fatigue colours everything you do. This is of course a summery of FMS, quick, as it is certainly not the point of my revelation. Nothing new there.
People generally make my illness worse indirectly. You know, people dump problems on you and then won't let you help because you're just a disabled naive person.. what the fuck do I know? I just live under a rock. I am treated by the majority of the public like I am a lazy sack of horse manure, faking or exaggerating, or thinking I'm milking the pity of people around me. Most of them never even consider that I am really in a lot of pain and tired, most of them never even think that maybe I AM disabled and need help from people every day. They make fun that I live with my folks and my folks help me out. This woman highlighted all of this by intimating many of the perceptions others feel.
I was sick in bed, my pain at horrible heights, crying and feeling so much hate towards people - especially this rude pharmacist. I truly had sunk to rock bottom and didn't want to live, I was sick of being treated like crap by so many people. (NB: not everyone treats me like crap, many loved ones treat me wonderfully)
So on and on I went, unable to sleep, filled with anger, when I took a risk. I got a note card and a pen, sat down and took a deep breath. I understood what anger could turn a person into, I understood that it could make you just hate everyone and be sick to death of them. I felt that the pharmacist was in pain, especially by her actions and words. I wrote an apology for my anger and told her that I sensed her pain. I told her to take care of herself before others, and to share her pain with others. I told her that angry customers just need to be connected with - they need to know that someone understands why they are angry, and that emotion needs to be acknowledged. My hands shook as I gave it to the pharmacy tech (as the pharmacist wasn't there). I wondered if I was making a mistake. Was I being stupid? Was I doing wrong?
A couple of days passed and I thought she'd ripped it to pieces or laughed with coworkers about it - my paranoia still high from the pills I'd taken.
Then, irony came, stepped in. The humor of the Creator, if you ask me. My lungs started to clench, and I had several asthma attacks. My lungs felt like they were wrapped by many elastic bands. Liquid came out. So I went to the doctor and he gave me stuff to take- my lungs were indeed (are indeed) in a bad way due to some inconsiderate smokers. (Isn't it dumb to smoke right outside of mall doors and blow your smoke at people walking by?? Even if you're not allergic like me. But of course smokers are touchy and hate when I get mad at them when they send me to the doctor or to get hooked up on a machine for hours. Sorry smokers, I'll be more considerate.)
I went to the pharmacy, and as the tech was filling my prescription, the Pharmacist came to me and smiled. Never had I seen her smile. Her face was alien to me now, and I was worried she was going to say something mean through her teeth. But no. She thanked me for my consideration and was really touched by it. She was happy!
Such a small thing, I know. I didn't do anything Ghandiesque, but it took a lot of pain to turn my anger into forgiveness... to see that others are suffering. To give up my indignation and consider the plight of the person who's making me angry. It's so essential that we are forgiving.

I find that people see forgiveness as a weakness.. as an admittance of being evil... or as a way to sneak out of trouble. It's such a hard process to let down our personal pride, our dignity - both trashy qualities if you ask me - to give up revenge.. to give up our Cross to bear. When I stripped away my hate and my indignation, a pure emotion came over me - a neutral feeling that made me feel strong and weak at the same time.

We all need understanding.. even if the person we hate or dislike isn't understanding us - it's our duty to try to understand them. Otherwise we're just in a shell of pride, thicker and thicker until all we want to do is shy away from society... or worse, die.

On a last note, I don't feel that the pharmacist is lower than me because she didn't do what I did. People are people, at different stages of life and realization. I'd be stupid to expect reciprocation, for all I know she could be dying of a painful cancer. Emotions, like furious whirlwinds, stop people from seeing clearly. Life is too short to be mad. Life is too short to throw away our purity - however small the amount is left within us.

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