Friday, September 8, 2017

Damage Control

Hurricane Irma is due to hit my former home. According to the news, my current location might experience some residual tropical storm weather as well. The incoming storm has everyone on high alert. People are stocking up on food, bagging up sand, and boarding up windows. Although my area is not susceptible to the severest of weather, they remain in a frenzy of melodramatics. I even went to an appointment earlier in the week where I was asked if my house had stocked up on bottled water. I just chuckled and responded, "no."

This is what is done for a disaster. Perhaps Florida's response is warranted. South Carolina...not really. Floridians are smart to extensively prepare in advance as they anxiously wait for the storm to come. Once it does, they will hope the devastating effects were reduced by their preparations.

But we do not always have time for such extensive preparations. Often, in my experience, there is little warning before a disaster strikes. It is like the split second of an impending car crash, characterized by the squeal of the brakes and the seatbelt cutting into my flesh. It is also like witnessing a pedestrian's death as she is ran over, her body thudding on the hood of a car about a hundred feet away from my own.

Those two events share a commonality, despite occurring ten years apart. I did what I could. I wore my seatbelt. I carried a cell phone. The drivers drove with caution. Even with preparation, I had no control over either accident. I saw the SUV. I saw the woman in the air. Yet, it did not pause the phoning of 991. It did not stop the minor bruising of the fender bender or the ambulance and the causality of the other accident. I was helpless and anticipating for the chaos to ensue.

In a way, chronic illness is comparable to living in an endless cycle of disasters. My body is inevitably failing. I take my medications. I rely on my feeding tube and central line for nutrition. I undergo numerous tests and labs. I attend scheduled appointments with my doctor. However, all of the preparations cannot prevent my illness. I know another flare is imminent. New symptoms will arise eventually, and old symptoms that disappeared for a duration will return. A central line break, sepsis, or feeding tube malfunction is probably in the future too. Disaster is not if, it is when. I am left waiting for tragedy. For the next shoe to drop.

So, where should the line be drawn? Is there a happy medium between healthy concern and an incessant state of nervous catastrophe? Unfortunately, chronic illness is more frequent than a yearly hurricane. There is no weather forecast. And I find myself dreading the calm before the storm. There is only so much damage control possible.

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7