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When The Helper Needs Help

Eighteen days ago, I had my first surgery. Second, if you count tonsil. I wasn't nervous and actually, aside from the care of my fur buddy Swag, I was excited to begin the process. Jokes pre-admission, pre-surgery, directly after and all throughout the beginning of this healing process, I stayed who I am. The other day, as I grabbed my cane, gingerly tip-toeing about the kitchen, assembling my breakfast, it dawned on me; This isn't even the fifth hardest thing I've gone through in the last six months.

Physical pain isn't really a thing to me. I've been in a constant state of it since 1997, or maybe 1998, not sure. Emotional pain, much longer. Even longer than I realized. So pain, in all it's forms, feels natural. This is not a macho assertion, but my level of pain, within my own life, is always measured against others and it makes me feel severe, even crippling guilt to complain. Sure, I'll complain about my teams, politics and the forty days of shoveling snow, but not pain, in any form.

The past three years, I've waited for things to turn around and while preliminary results show this hip will heal faster than even I thought, it's just the beginning I hope. I've gone through the worst three years of my life, much of it do to revelations, realizations and (gasp) epiphanies, but that is not to say, I don't hold much of the blame. As a good friend continues to hammer into my pea brain, "You need to stop expecting people to behave as you would. They are not you and they are not going to change." It's like that Einstein quote on insanity, which he said or didn't, I refuse to check. During the past year I've hit my own personal rock bottom and the irony is, I did it sober and living the cleanest, most frugal and healthy I've ever known. The problem was, I did it alone. Mentally and physically, I was literally alone. While I had outside support, it wasn't the emotional, physical or physiological type, it was monetary, which, if you've ever had to ask, is as crippling as a physical disease.

I do appreciate the help, which over the past few months has become more than just a loan, but it still hurts how abandoned I was, and even more, how I felt. The true irony is, that during this time, I seemed to help others as much, if not more, than ever. I do have to say, I have two friends, a brother and sister-in-law, who have been ridiculously altruistic. One of these people, I've not seen in 17 years, and was a child when we last spoke. I will never, ever forget him. I take a lot for granted, but I will never take for granted those who have been there for me. They are few and they deserve much more than thanks.

So today, I am writing because I needed to ask for help, from the one person I want nothing from. I asked, not because I need it now, but I may need it later. I asked, because an event will take place soon and god forbid something we to happen, it's important that my anger do nothing to add to it. I did, because I'm exhausted. I did, because I now know, the value of $10. I did, because, I don't want someone else to suffer, albeit in a minor fashion, because of my shortcomings.

I don't think it will ever be easy or even easier. Much like relating to an illness or death, asking for help is something that stays with you, because it bonds you to another soul. I am trying not to make this a habit, but while sitting in a hospital one morning, a smile made me realize, it's sometimes asking for something as little as assistance, that makes someone else's day and that realization brought us both to tears.

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