There was a time in my life that I thought I was invincible. If I set my sight on something, I was going to get it. If I wanted something I was going to achieve it. If something was working against me, I was going to beat it.
It was this attitude that let me start smoking when I was 16. I was an occasional smoker…not a lot. By the time I was 19, I was a regular smoker…again, not a lot. At best I maybe ever only smoked about a half a pack a day.
I heard the warnings….but I didn’t listen. I was invincible.
Nothing was going to get me. The bad stuff from smoking happened to other people.
As I got older..and pregnant, I stopped smoking. I wasn’t going to risk my baby. But after that baby was born, I started smoking again…remember, I was invincible. That stuff wasn’t going to get me.
Before long I was pregnant again. I quit smoking again. I had the baby and started smoking again….because remember, I was invincible.
Before long I was pregnant yet again…this time I quit smoking for good. I quit because by now, I realized this stopping and starting was silly but mostly, because I didn’t want to afford it. Trust me, I still thought I was invincible….Things weren’t going to get me.
My first real encounter of learning that things weren’t always going to be in my control and I wasn’t as invincible as I might have perceived myself to be was in the fall of 1989. It was the start of what Kramer and I deemed to be our “year from hell”.
Kelli got very sick. We seriously almost lost her. She had epiglottitis. For those of you who don’t know what that is, that’s when the “flipper” in your throat that moves between your windpipe and esophagus swells shut. She was in intensive care for six days and things were iffy for awhile. She eventually came through that and has no lasting problems from it. It was very scary though and it was the real beginning of me learning I wasn’t invincible. Bad things could touch me.
That was in the fall. Coming around to January Kayla got really sick. We ended up bring her in the ER and the thought was that she might have meningitis. They needed to do a spinal tap. We consented to it. When you sign the consent, you do it with the understanding that there is a chance the people doing the procedure might “slip” and damage the patient for life and paralyze them. Kayla didn’t have meningitis but she also didn’t walk for two weeks…previous to this Kayla had walked everywhere…even ran. It was a scary two weeks. I can’t tell you how many times I regretted allowing them to do the procedure, but at the time, it really was the right choice….she had been so sick.
Then in February Kramer’s mom got sick with heart issue and ended up with an angioplasty. Buck was born. Kramer lost his job. Kramer found a job. We had to move. Remember that girl who was invincible? My invincibility shrank. I learned I couldn’t control things.
The crazy year doesn’t stop there….With a 3 year old, a two year old, and a new baby that was 13 days old, we moved to Iowa.
In March my Grandma died.
In June Kramers mom had quadruple bypass.
The hardest blow for me though was in August….my mom was 61 years old, me 24, she unexpectedly died. She was 61. I had no reason or thought that she might die. She was only 61 and I always believed her to be in good health. For me, that was the blow that really showed me, I was not invincible- bad thing could and did touch me. Things beyond my control could have a HUGE effect on my life and the path I was taking.
My mom was my very best friend. It was a terrible loss for me.
In September I had a gallbladder attack and had surgery for that….
It truly was “a year from hell”.
I have to say that although it was terribly hard, some good did come from it. Kramer and I got to be closer than ever. Even though we had been married for a few years, I didn’t have a complete “us” bond. After that year, I thought of us always as a very bonded “us”. I know that sounds silly but I did. Decisions were made for “us”..not for me….but much of my invincibility was gone.
But…don’t count the “invincibility complex” I had completely gone, as over time and years, it slowly started to build again. We, Kramer and I, had more successes than failures. Things clicked more often than not. We dug ourselves out of that bad year and went on to have some good years.
The kids were grew. We both felt success in our jobs. We bought this house, remodeled it and moved in…we started to believe we maybe should actually start planning for retirement as it just might one day happen. That feeling of invincibility was creeping up again.
Then in 2015 my health issues started in. In 2016 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. That invincibility that had grown back was starting to slip again..but..I got the clean bill of health. I was now a survivor…I was on even keel. Look at me. I could stare cancer in the face and defeat it! I was invincible again!! Well that was short lived. My cancer stuff flared and we found out Kramer had lung cancer. I still have my issues which are all on hold because of covid…and my husband..he died last year- so much for staring cancer in the face. My niece, also a very great friend, died of cancer last fall too. All this, showing me once again..invincibility was not my super power.
I am not invincible. I never will be again. It won’t creep up…I’ve learned my lesson. I am not invincible.
Bad things can get me. Bad things will get me.
I look at pictures of people protesting stay at home orders. I can’t help but wonder if they all still believe they are invincible. They don’t care how close they are together. They have no regard to social distance. No one is wearing a mask. I can’t help but look at them and long for a day that I did have the confidence of invincibility. But it is not mine to have.
I understand freedom of choice. I understand feeling trapped. I see my retirement savings dwindle away in the stock market just like so many of them. I wonder about my job future. I wonder how my life might change because of this. I hate the uncertainty. Seriously, I understand the want to protest. Remember I too once thought I was invincible. I thought I was healthy. I thought nothing could get me and if it did, I’d beat it. I’ve learned. Bad things can get me. Bad things can get others…so I quietly stay where I am.
I am not afraid of covid…but I also know it could get me. If it does, I’m in the high risk category…so me, I won’t be out on the street protesting. I won’t be fighting a stay at home suggestion. I know I am not invincible. I know bad things can get me. I know I am a health risk…so I will heed the caution even if it isn’t fun…even if at times it’s absolutely frustrating. I will error on the side of caution even when I don’t want to because I know, I am not invincible.