Invincible

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.

HJ-Story :: Love is.. Feeling Invincible | TapasNothing 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.
Love is... feeling invincible. - Love is... Comics
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.

36 thoughts on “Invincible

  1. Melissa

    Hi Jo.
    As a sideline your site looks great!!! I’ve been off the internet for awhile and hadn’t clicked on it. Once again you’ve nailed it Jo. I just think about all the people who will be touched in a bad way by all the togetherness of these protests. These people are not invincible and neither are their loved ones. I just don’t get it! Love to you and your family.
    Melissa from Oregon

  2. CAROL

    What a great post! I to am at a greater risk and I am scared that we will see another spike in cases and deaths if people aren’t careful. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hedy

    Great post Jo. I wonder if these protesters have ever had a really close loved one die? The lady who was complaining about the gray showing in her roots, is that really so important compared to her parents, husband or children getting ill? This disease doesn’t just kill, it maims too. The Broadway star who had to get his leg amputated or others who have heart disease now. I’m in the high risk group because of my age and I’ll just keep on my own quarantine until it’s safe. I’m a steady gal who sets her course and if the winds of life blow me in a different direction, then I go with it. I’m resilient now, I know my happiness is within me.

  4. Donna

    You’re spot on. And I have a feeling many agree with you. I’m also in the at risk category due to age and acute bronchitis (I get it every year).
    I remember in my late teens, I would lay out in the sun with baby oil smeared all over to get that first burn so I could tan later. Even if older me went back to younger me and said, “Dummy – don’t do it”, I would not have listened. Stuff like that. SMH.
    Love and prayers

  5. Frances

    Thank you, Jo for speaking what many of us think. We all understand the need for people to work, seriously. And, I think we are ready to loosen the stay at home restrictions some. But, social distancing, and face masks should be required if you are out in public. From what I’ve seen, many of the protesters are not wearing masks and are not maintaining social distancing. While they may have the right to protest, they do not have the right to infect others just because they don’t want to distance or wear a mask. That is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Public health laws have been on the books for many years.

  6. Beth Haynes

    Thank you Jo. Your posts come at just the right time to express what I feel. Though not having quite the same issues NONE of us are invincible. We want to be so that we can feel in control and not hurt. Thankful for quilting and a stash!

  7. Kate

    I agree. I stay home most of the time, except to grocery shop during “senior” hours with my mask on. I happen to live in a state where there were protests. The protesters were protesting the fact that one could go into a store, but not be allowed to buy paint or gardening supplies, lawn care people can’t work even though they are using his or her own equipment and are not socializing with others because they are outside. I stay home even though I would like a haircut and my dogs need grooming, plus other things. As you stated, none of us are invincible and it isn’t the thinking of the protesters that they are invincible.

  8. Susan V

    Very well written, Jo. I’ve heeded the warnings and stayed in as much as possible. My main goal has been to stay our of the way of health care professionals and first responders trying to do their jobs. When I see that Dove commercial with the faces of health care workers who have the indention of the masks carved into their flesh, I really don’t want to give them any more to do that absolutely necessary. Anything cold happen when we go out.

  9. Paula S.

    Great post Jo. I know one survivor of this Covid19 virus who will forever have heart problems. He was a healthy person before all of this, but not now. Another is fighting for her life in the hospital now because of Covid19. These people are younger and healthier than me so I stay at home. I know I’m not invincible!

  10. Roxanne

    I liked Hedy’s word “resilient”. It’s a skill that grows with experiences—we learn the strength we really have and take that outlook into the future. I see so many stories of parents showing their children their own resilience and resolve. We aren’t invincible but can be resilient. Be still.

  11. Jill Klop

    I agree with your post! I wear a mask when I go to the grocery store, but I so want to be able to go to the quilt shop, or any other store and not wear the mask. What I find interesting is the amount of spread of the virus on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. They have a crew of approximately 4500 people and have 665 reported cases. To compare…I live near a metro area where the population is 1.5 million people. The reported cases is 1015. To me, this proves that we need to quarantine. I think it really does slow the spread.

  12. Peggy

    Proverbs 22:3 The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself,But the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.

    You’ve become shrewd—nothing wrong with that.

  13. Stearns Carol

    My mother was 60 and I was 30 when she died of Leukemia, far away from me in Gainesville, FL. I just didnt know it would be that bad. It was actually april 21, 1979, so many years ago. You have certainly been resilient. Challenges make us stronger!

  14. Kim LeMere

    I don’t think I will listen to a few hundred protesters in TN when it comes to staying home. I prefer to follow the scientists and the medical folks who are reporting from there hospitals. We have been home since 3-14 and we have planned to pick up our groceries or have them delivered, no problem staying home. My quilting room has been cleaned along with a few closets. I got my husband to address some honey do items and to clean his he-shed. Walking our neighborhood has been a nice way to spend some time outside and it costs us nothing compared to golf fees. Stay safe Jo

  15. Sharon Malone

    I agree with your post regarding the protesters for the most part. I obviously don’t know any of these people personally nor their situation. Are they protesting because they don’t like being told what to do or are they protesting because they have families to support and are desperate? I don’t know so I’m not going to judge them. Are they closer than 6 ft. apart? Looks like it in pictures but so do the pictures of people riding the subway in New York recently. New York reduced the number of trains running which resulted in more people on the trains that were running. The solution? I don’t know so I’m not judging nor criticizing. I’m retired and live in a rural area that hasn’t had many cases of the virus. I have stayed home except for 2 very short trips for some groceries. However, other family members have brought groceries, etc. to me. My grand-daughter was laid off from her job as a surgical tech because elective surgeries were cancelled. I kept her 2 children at my home 24/7 for a month so exposure would be less for them since she picked up some hours working at 2 different nursing homes. The point? We don’t always know the circumstances nor reasons for people doing what they do.

  16. Robin

    I agree. I am of the mind that I can make my own rules for myself when things open…..I only go out when necessary to grocery, drugstore or post office and will continue that practice, until I feel safe doing otherwise. When I go, I wear a mask and practice distancing, using hand sanitizer once back in car and wash when I return home.
    Good luck to all…

  17. Robin

    I am not sure if my previous comment posted…computer went wacko

    Agree…I am of the mind that, when things open, I can make my own rules as to what I will do and where I will go. I will continue the practices I have been implementing when going to grocery, drugstore, post office…distancing myself, wearing mask, using hand sanitizer when back in car and washing when I have returned home.
    Good luck everyone.

    (If this posted twice, I apologize)

  18. Judith Fairchild

    Appreciated your post. Not invincible but resilient and hopeful. I’m thankful my daughter does most of the shopping. I went the 1st part of the month to do my major shopping I wore a mask because it just is plain common sense. I don’t want to give or get anything in the way of sickness from anybody. Especially as I am considered high risk

  19. ColleenM

    I don’t mean to be a jerk but I, a quilter, was at the protest in MN last Friday. I DO NOT think I am invincible. I have had many people around me die. (not of corona virus) But I do think that this pandemic is over stated. I chose as an American to stand up for my God given rights. We have not been given all the information about this virus and the models, etc. When all is said and done the cure for this disease may have been worse than actually getting it. When liquor stores and abortion clinics are considered essential services but I can’t go to church (while social distancing), I have a problem with being cloistered. Do you know, you can be diagnosed as having corona virus via an app on your phone?? No doctor visit, not even a virtual visit. No test, you are now part of the statistics. I have never been able to get an Rx for strep throat (which I have had so many times I have lost count) without being tested. Why now for this virus? I don’t want to start an argument with anyone but I will be careful and wash my hands and not touch my face, etc. and I will continue to live.

  20. Jane Hill

    HI Jo. I have only ever commented on your blog once before but I want to tell you what it is like in New Zealand. Our Prime Minister went hard and went early and we have been in complete lockdown for nearly 5 weeks. We only had 5 cases in the whole country yesterday and no deaths. We are required to live in our bubble, with the people we were with when lockdown occured. We have one designated shopper and that person is the only person who goes into the supermarket which is the only shop open and we are asked to go the the closest shop. If you are going to work with other people ie in a supermarket then you self isolate at home. We have just about beaten this virus into submission and we will keep people like me and my elderly mum, compromised people from dying. I feel safe and I think that freedom from fear is a really important freedom we forget sometimes.

  21. Katherine Gourley

    I could so add many of my invincible years learning experiences and so could every other reader. In many ways I find it comforting to know I am not invincible and on God is in control. God does not make mistakes and he deals with this fallen world in whatever way he believes is best for his children. I was quite ill last year and spent most of my time in the house and had to wear an n95 mask when I did go out (sound familiar). I missed my quilting friends, but did what was best for my health. I am at peace and know my best friend Jesus has my back. He even accepts it when I think that my hair could use a good cut and color.

    We can be content under any circumstance if we believe. I pray for everyone struggling for any reason — even their hair roots. HaHa. Love and peace to everyone.

  22. Lori Douglas

    Thanks for the perspective! With my science background , I shook my head at the protestors. We have no idea how many people this virus will take out. I am at a high risk also. Best be safe… we cannot control this virus.

  23. Grace

    Thanks Jo. Like you I am high risk due to asthma and age so since I came back to Canada I have been in isolation- 4 weeks now. Also like you I have been busy making masks and scrub hats for friends and family in particular those who work in hospitals. My husband works in a large hospital and we are physically separated in our house which is not much fun. As a Microbiologist I don’t understand why people think they can disobey the rules. Here in Canada we see our curve flattening but we would be even better off if all people would obey stay at home orders.

    All I can say is no one better say anything about quilters stash!!

  24. Sue

    I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion of the responses I’ve read. My daughter is in health care also and around numerous people every day, including her children, my grandchildren. I haven’t been able to see them for over five weeks based upon what our governor recommends about not going to each other’s homes. But we can talk on phone and FaceTime. So I feel fortunate to be able to do that. I do believe some states are going to reopen some businesses too soon. I hope we do not see new spikes upward. I am so happy to have quilting as a hobby. We will get through this together.

  25. Donna Williams

    I too thought I was invincible for years. Tough lesson to learn. We’ve been doing a good job staying home, just 1 or 2 trips for groceries. Masks and gloves every time.
    I also wanted to recommend Vera. It’s my ultimate favorite. I have Acorn and Britbox. She’s a marvelous detective with very interesting story lines.
    Keep well, thinking of you and your family.
    Donna Williams

  26. Becky Gilliam

    Well said, Jo. As most or all young folks, we felt ’10 feet tall and bullet proof’ as that old country song went. Now I am much older and suffer severe asthma, I know I am not bullet proof. I feel for the folks who still think this and are running out of options needed to survive daily life. Not everyone has family support to help out when needed as you and I have had. Prayers continuing for your daily battle with thyroid issues as well as your family members having to work on the front lines now.

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