The snow did come! By standards of those in the north and west it wasn't a lot but it covered everything right from the start. Interestingly for our area it covered the roads, turning them white before the cars or grass. Typically the roads are the last thing to be covered if that happens at all when it snows, indicating of course that the roads had been cooled down a lot over the last couple days before the snow came. Only a couple inches but it allowed those driving to skid and run into each other as usual for VA. Consequently schools closed and my work closed for the day as well. It is enjoyable to have an unexpected day off and to be able to do things you didn't or wouldn't have time or make time for otherwise.
So Lisa and I decided to walk to the post-office to mail Jaime & Mike's Christmas package as we want it to arrive by Christmas and we didn't want the snow here to get in the way. So there we were walking through the snow holding hands with the moderate sized package in a duffel bag slung over my shoulder.
Naturally on the way back we had to stop at a store on the way home and of course we all know that leads to finding several things that we could not do without. It may well have been back in college the last time we walked through the snow and did some shopping.
It was an unexpected pleasure or maybe serendipity my mother-in-law would say. Nevertheless it was a good way to enjoy the snow and be together. It is fun to have a respite from the normal day to day cares. And hey, we didn't have to go on vacation any where to find it, but here it was right at home!
If snow brings fun like this, well then, bring on some more! I understand this weekend is a possibility. We'll see.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
So Monday, I get up and it is snowing. This is remarkable, exciting, what I hope for every year and many years never see. This year getting snow in December is unusual but great. It is not predicted to be much but it is sticking on the grass and cars. Yeah!
So I get ready and go to work driving through the snow. It is great! The snow isn't sticking on the road so the roads are just wet. Smooth driving, no slipping or sliding. I get to work and work all morning and get to lunch time and enjoy a nice peaceful lunch.
The next thing I know there is a lot of activity and excitement in the clinic. People talking excitedly and moving quickly. We are closed down for the afternoon because of the snow. I look outside. Iit has stopped snowing. I look on the streets, they are wet just like when I came to work. Odd. But it doesn't keep me from enjoying the afternoon off!
Only in Virginia!
Now here it is Wednesday evening. The local schools are closed tomorrow and work is two hours late and expected to close down. Why you might ask? Because more snow is predicted. 100% sure they say. Several inches they say and it will start in the morning about the time people would be going to school and work. There is still snow on the grass from earlier in the week (also an oddity in VA since the last snow is nearly always melted by the time another snow comes).
I'm still a little skeptical because I've been in VA enough to have seen days like this. Snow predicted, 100% sure. Schools close. Next day it rains all day. I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow but I'll believe it and enjoy it when I see it.
I do love the snow in VA.
So there I was sitting on the couch with my youngest daughter. She was a little teary eyed and seemed a bit nervous. "Dad, there is something I need to tell you." So I paid attention. She said that earlier in the evening she had been angry and hurting and had said to those around her, "I hate my Dad". "But", she said now, "I really love you."
I laughed and told her that I had certainly felt that way about my parents at times when I was young. As I look back I think what I may have hated was that they knew what to do when I didn't and I needed their help. Many times that was a comfort, but there were times in my life that I wanted to be grown and totally responsible for myself long before I was ready to do so. Consequently I hated not being able to be what I wanted and in a funny way glad that I had them to help or set me straight as the circumstances required.
I'm guessing that is what she was feeling. You see earlier in the evening she had missed the last step at a friend's house and we found out later had broken her foot. Even later we found out she had chipped her bone and strained and maybe torn some tendons. So she was on her backside at the bottom of the stairs with friends to help and we weren't there. The friends called and said she wouldn't budge that she was hurt too much and so forth. So I ask to talk to her.
"Do you want to come home or do you want the emergency crew to pick you up and take you to the ER where they will keep you much of the night as they determine what needs to be done?" "Home" she said. "Then you need to accept the help and get into the car and get home where I can look at your leg/foot/ankle and we can determine what to do". I made it simple for her, not pleasant but simple and maybe I did it in a way that lacked compassion. But it got her moving and she was soon home.
So now you have the story. Child hurts self. Dad tells it like it is to get things moving. Child gets home and realizes that although she doesn't like the method she likes the results and realizes that she loves her Dad and she's glad to be safe at home.
It is nice to be loved even if you were hated just a few minutes earlier.
It still strikes me as odd how those feelings seem to be so close together. Almost like the only people we can hate are those we love because the others...well we just don't have that strong of feelings for them. I am glad my daughter can love so quickly after going through something unpleasant. And glad that I can laugh and remember my youth enough to understand.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I was talking with a young man in my office. He is in his twenties and on medication. He was complaining about the side-effects of the medication. He wanted to know why didn't they leave the side-effects out of the medication. "Why did they put those in?" He wondered if they were putting the side-effects in the medicine so they could control him or maybe so that they could make him die sooner. In this case "they" was the government who was giving him money on a monthly basis due to disability. He figured if he died sooner then the government wouldn't have to pay him so long. "Why don't they help me find a job I can do instead of put side-effects in my medicine so that I won't draw social security so long? Then I could work and not have to draw money from the government."
I tried to explain that medications were made in this case to compensate for a deficiency in certain chemical levels that he had. The symptoms of the low chemical levels were what brought him to us and the medicine was trying to compensate for that. If the medicine is successful then the symptoms will lesson or possibly dissipate.
He was unimpressed and wanted to know why they put in the side-effects.
I explained they made the medication to combat the symptoms and the side-effects were unintentional results that they didn't know would happen or they didn't know yet how to make the medicine so it would work without having those unintentional results.
Still he was unimpressed. He seemed not to understand what side-effects meant or maybe he was purposely being a pain in the goiter.
I was starting to get irritated and that is very rare for me in this setting. Then it dawned on me what he was really saying. Sure he doesn't like the side-effects but even more he doesn't like to have to take the medication. He knows, however; that if he stops taking the medication he will have consequences he likes even less.
So I started talking about the disappointment he felt in having to take medications. How it made him feel different than others his age and why it was worth it for him to take the medicine anyway. Now we were talking about the same thing and we had a good meaningful conversation that may have been helpful to him.
It occurs to me that in life we have a variety of side-effects to things. Mostly we use the term side-effects to refer to something we didn't expect. Sometimes we use the phrase to refer to consequences that were going to happen but we didn't know it. Either way we are often surprised in life by what happens. Even when our intentions are the best we can be deeply surprised at what results.
Once I went to the doctor with some ailment. He prescribed medication. I had side-effects that I didn't like and would find it very hard to function with. So he gave me another medicine to cure the side-effect. Ultimately when all was said and done I decided that I could manage the original ailment better than the risk of side-effects.
And that is the thing we must weigh in life. If I do this for the purpose of having this result will I be happy with the consequences or the side-effects? I may well get the desired result but I may not be too pleased with other side-effects. We like to know what is going to happen so we can make an informed choice but most often we only know in part and sometimes even that "knowledge" is based on faulty reasoning and we find all kinds of things happening that we didn't expect.
Sometimes in Science Fiction or fantasy stories they approach the question what would happen if we could go back in time and we purposely or inadvertently changed something. What would happen. There are lots of good stories about that idea, one of my favorites is Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card. You might want to try it if you like thought provoking Science Fiction.
Each day we are creating history in our daily lives. We are determining some of the future now. And that future will eventually become history. We need to carefully choose now so that we can stand by what we do regardless of the results or the side-effects and then once again we must take responsibility when things go awry.
As in the case of medications the side-effects can sometimes be good. I am aware of a medication that is prescribed at least as often due to the side-effect as it is due to it's initially created intended effect.
Will we live our life and do the best we can and then recognize the good that will come and then correctly evaluate the side-effects or do we think that life should be totally predictable--no side effects added? I enjoy the opportunities and challenges that come by the unexpected (uh... much of the time). I hope I can be as positive when things don't turn out in a way that appears desirable.
What about you? Do you need to have things work your way to find the joy in life or are you able to find the joy and challenge of the unexpected "side-effects"?