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  • Writer's picturebridget snell

I am not 20

It's 32 days since my transplant. I've been home for 3 weeks. I've rested for a couple of those. 

Kind of. 

I've been to baseball games, dentist appointments, karate classes, dance classes, a dance recital, art class, doctor's appointments, dog groomer, oil changes... You know, typical fortnight. 

In all honesty, thanks to my mother-in-law and Meg, I've been able to pick and choose what I can do while they did all of the above and groceries, laundry, cleaning, driving, mailing...   

So here I am, in bed, struggling with my own thoughts. Battling that time demon again. I've got Dr. Elias' discharge orders in my head: go home and resume life, that's what you came here for. But be smart and exercise caution. 

I think one of those two are subjective measurements.

But the thing is, the healing process is not subjective. And it's gonna take time. I don't know why the delayed reaction, but the reality of what my body just went through is only just hitting me now. And the reality of what I can do and what I shouldn't do, until I'm healed, is just starting to occur to me. Wow. 

And now hurry up and wait. I've said it before: time is the worst side effect of this treatment. I am the least patient patient I know.

This attribute has both helped me and hurt me throughout my life. My father always said that your 40's are the best years. In your 20's you get to be an idiot and make mistakes ("idiot" is not the word he used, but I'm supposed to blog with a G rating), 30's is when you buckle down and build, and 40's is when you finally get to enjoy it. 

So far, he's right on. The only issue: I heard this advice as a 20-something, so I was in a rush to get to 40. 

I might be having a very bad cog fog day, but as I consider the past 44 years, it's a blur of hurry and then a sudden slam into the present moment. Don't get me wrong, my own life-art gallery is fantastic. It's full of color. Let me think for a second if I remember specifics.

A side note: I am one of the lucky 46 million people who are vaguely defined as a generation born "somewhere between the '60's and '80's." (we don't like to be defined, thank you very much, thus the "X" label). I had that childhood with only a Commodore 64 and when phones hung up and bored was when the best things happened and always outside where our bikes were in heaps on the ground because there was no time to put the kickstand down and our knee-high socks had stripes at the top and we wore plastic watches but still used the sounds of peepers to know when to come home and I don't think we ever told our parents where we were and I don't think they asked. 

My 20's and 30's were great because I met my love and began a short but life-altering stint in publishing and met the greatest people from both above and below my alphabet-letter generation. I did some "meh" writing. I did some great writing. I raced a car once and I also got to drive a race car in Toledo. I got to Taiwan to see an old man make auto parts in a factory and I got to buy bunches of goji berries from a kid on the roadside, both of whom were supporting their families. I got to Tallin to eat cake in the old executioner's palace with finnic people. I got to go with my cousin on his lobster boat and wrangle rubber bands onto the big claw. I rode a bike from my rented room to two day jobs, making no money while not being aware that I should be trying to. I got to spend each week lending a hand to Moms and Dads who once lived on the street in my own city. I got to discover a new city, the 3rd in as many years, and watch my husband become amazing at something they say is a practice. I got to carry my first-born without knowing she was a she. I got to grow another right after my first was born. I get to raise two girls.

I really have put some good color on my palette these past four decades. And the days ahead look primed for more now that I've had HSCT and stopped MS from taking me. 

I guess I can be patient with this process a little longer and take the down time to sketch out some new ideas while I heal. 

I feel better about it now. Glad we had this talk. 

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