I was sitting in an exam room waiting for my doctor to pop in and I didn’t have anything to do but read the signs and posters on the wall. So I did. All of them. I can now name all of the parts of my lady anatomy in graphic detail and I can also tell you how dangerous Whooping cough can be. I memorized every stage of fetal development and can now recite the phone number to sign up for the local hospital maternity tour. I’m also aware that it is my responsibility, and mine alone, to make sure my insurance plan is accepted by all medical referrals I receive. In short, I’m practically a walking encyclopedia on maternal health in a rural town in South West New Mexico.
One thing that especially caught my eye was a sign urging people to “Sign up to access your medical records online today!” It caught my eye because it was displayed on three different walls. Plus, getting information out of my doctor is like pulling teeth. Having access to my records would be really helpful. I’m the kind of person that feels better with more information instead of less. I want to analyze results and compare them to past tests and Google them to my hearts content. It’s one of the things I live for.
Anyway, on the way out of the office I stopped by the front desk and asked if I could sign up to view my records online. The receptionist at the front desk looked up at me with confusion. I told her I had read the sign posted all over the walls and thought it would be a good idea to sign up. Finally a look of recognition swept over her face and she said, “Oh, that system has been down for about three months.” Then she leaned towards me and whispered, “Besides, the doctor doesn’t give you access to anything like test results so accessing your records online here is pretty much useless.”
So, there you have it. Life in a small town. Sometimes it’s maddening. Sometimes it is funny. Sometimes it is both. There are always outdated things posted to walls and information is so valuable even doctors hoard it.
My friend shared a post on Facebook about people with anxiety and one of the things the author talked about was having a “people hangover” and I couldn’t stop nodding. A people hangover is when you have used up all of your energy being with other people and so you feel drained, tired, and desperate for some time alone. I think this applies to introverts just as much as people suffering from anxiety. I know it applies to me.
We spent 10 days driving to California, visiting family, and driving back. I didn’t get much solitude. The hotel rooms were small and with three people we were pretty much on top of each other. Hiding in the bathroom was not an option, although I made some attempts. Then we were non-stop visiting people (people we love dearly) and don’t even get me started on the driving. Three people in the car for three days straight (both ways) is a lot of togetherness. By the middle of the trip I was drained and by the end just plain exhausted.
I need solitude and alone time and quiet and space. That is hard for other people to understand or to not be insulted by. When you sneak off to be by yourself people take it personally sometimes. They just don’t understand the need for solitude. Art often gives me a way to be alone in a socially acceptable manner. I can say, “I have to work now.” People understand that better than, “I really just need to be alone to replace my energy.”
I recently found myself trying to explain why I didn’t enjoy crowds. It was obvious I wasn’t doing a good job explaining myself. How do you explain something so fundamental about the person you are? I don’t have an explanation for not liking crowds other than that is just how I am wired. I know it is hard for people who get their energy from being around other people to relate to introverts because the concept seems so foreign to them. Crowds pump them up, but crowds make us so tired. So tired. People make me so tired. Without time to recuperate in between social engagements I actually start to feel physically sick like I am coming down with a cold. I get a little grumpy too, similar to having low blood sugar. In short, I have a people hangover. The only remedy is to find some way to get a few hours (or even minutes) alone. Sometimes I do hide in the bathroom or invent a reason to take something to the car…or disappear to admire flowers in the backyard just to get some space.
I never thought about it before, but art-making is an excellent excuse to duck into a room and close the door. It’s a good cover for my introversion. Plus I love to paint so there is that too. I’m really grateful I have found ways to compensate for my introverted personality that doesn’t draw attention to it or make anyone uncomfortable, but I also wish people understood better, or, at the very least, accepted people like me just the way we are. It’s not personal. We just need to recharge our batteries without any company.
Linda Shaver Gleason has stage IV breast cancer. It’s spread to her spine. She is 31 years old and she has a little boy named Linus (and he has the cutest, chubby cheeks I’ve ever seen!). I don’t know Linda personally. She’s a friend of a friend, but I know she is a real person and that she needs our help.
Linda is a musicologist, a wife, and a mother. I find her story so compelling because, as a mom, one of my worst fears is not being here for my daughter. When I think about my daughter having to grow up without me guiding her, protecting her, and loving her I can’t sleep at night. When I watched the video of Linda with her son on the fund raising site youcaring.com I knew I had to do everything in my power to help her pay her medical bills. She needs to survive this cancer. As the video says, she has a lot to live for. We can help her do that by taking away some of the financial worries and burdens her family is experiencing. Her main focus needs to be on kicking cancer in the ass and reclaiming her health. I want to help her focus on being that kind of warrior.
Tweet the fundraiser now:
Linda’s music department started a fundraiser for her. You can visit it here: Help Linda Shaver-Gleason Survive Cancer. Read her story and watch the video. If you have a few extra dollars please consider donating to her fundraiser. If you don’t, please consider sharing her fundraiser with your friends, family, and community. It’s important that we help each other when we can. Generosity, compassion, and kindness are values we hold dear so let’s practice them by supporting this family through a time when they truly need a community filled with love to help them fight the good fight. There will be times in our own lives when we will need the help of others too. We may even need the help of strangers. All of the good we put out into the world comes back to us exponentially. It’s important to be good neighbors.
Will you help?
I’ve put the fundraising widget in my sidebar. As of today, they have 61 days left to meet their goal. Please consider helping this family offset the costs of their medical bills.