Storms

The phone rang about 2 that afternoon, I was in the middle of working on some things for work. It was my oldest daughter…

“Ally’s having a seizure.”

Fuck.

With a rushing heart, I ran out of the office and bolted to my car. Jumping in and driving as fast I could.

When I arrived at my ex’s home, I found my 10 year old completely out of it laying on the ground with her mother rubbing her head. She was still recovering from her first seizure after 8 months.

Dammit.

We had seen such improvement, we thought we had the epilepsy kicked. We only needed another 16 months of no new seizures….but, alas, that’s not how the story’s going to go.

As her mother got up to tend to other things, I laid with my daughter on the floor of the bedroom and rubbed her head. I didn’t want this to happen, but it had. That’s the deal.

She had gone into the other room to play with the cat and that’s when my ex and my oldest daughter heard a thud. They called out to my daughter, but no response. Then they heard another thud. When my ex got there, my daughter was leaning against the wall, unresponsive to words, and my ex knew.

She laid her down and held her as she had the seizure, which was in many cases, different from the ones before. No convulsing, no foaming at the mouth, but my ex knew this was happening.

After my ex had administered the meds to bring my daughter back out of her seizure, she had a gigantic headache and slept for 14 hours. A seizure is like running a marathon for your mind and it wears you out.

So, in the quiet of the room, I looked at my daughter resting after this incident and just kept saying, “When is shit gonna calm down. Fuck.”

Guess what Mr Beckett? It doesn’t.

When Times Are Tough

Without a doubt, this is one of the most challenging times for many of us, and I’m not an exception. As a small business owner, I’ve had to lay off my part time staff, hoping that one day soon I can hire them back. Everyone is surrounded by uncertainty and government handouts only help for so long.

Still, it speaks volumes for people who are struggling right now that it’s EVERYONE that seems to be going through some shit on some level or another. It always helps when people who are struggling just like you understand and empathize with you on your journey. That’s one of the brightest spots in all of this.

But it still doesn’t answer the questions that we all have that generate self doubt in all of us everyday. Why? Why does this happen?

People try so hard to control what can’t be controlled, they sometime forget to read that sentence again. “You can’t control what can’t be controlled.”

Which is why the only thing you can do during a storm is seek shelter and wait until it passes. You can scream at the storm to stop, you can run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, you can jump up and down in anger, but the storm is still going to strike.

Which is why, after 20 years before of looking up at the sky and asking “why me?” I was calm, collected, and smiling as I looked at my daughter post seizure sleeping after it passed. I knew that there wasn’t shit I could do about what had just happened except what I could do.

So I calmly called the neurologist, who explained that because of my daughter’s recent growth spurts, she may have to increase her medication, got my daughter comfortable, kissed her forehead, and went home to contemplate my situation.

I had a business in the balance of all of this uncontrollable mess, a daughter who has now relapsed into epilepsy, another daughter who’s in intensive therapy over out of control anxiety, family issues, and all the other bullshit that life throws at us everyday.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep much the next two days. But all of that mental masturbation as I contemplated what had happened didn’t help one bit. As a matter of fact, after hour one, I started to work on solutions that I could actually DO, as opposed to pie in the sky bullshit that only landed on the flip of a coin or worse, the spin of a roulette wheel.

One of my most used sayings is “it is what it is” and it continues to ring true in these unprecedented times.

Two things to remember:

  1. It can always be worse. No matter what you’re going through, imagine there are thousands of folks going through worse.
  2. You can’t control it, you can only control how you react to it, or better yet, how you prepare for it.

There will always be a segment of the populace who labors under the false assumption that their complaining will change their outlook. It never does, it only adds to the misery of how they are living their lives.

You can only control:

  • Your actions
  • Your perspective
  • Your reactions to events

This is it. There’s nothing you can do with things you can’t control.

It’s been a long time coming for many people as they continue to get smacked in the face by life to just lay there and cry instead of getting back up. They think if they lay in the fetal position after the punch they’ll get left alone only to find out that life continues beating their ass as they lay there.

Punches and kicks don’t stop because you tell them too. At some point, you gotta hit back.

If you want life to stop hitting you, you have to be tougher to absorb the blows.

But you also have to register that fact that there’s nothing you can do. You can contemplate, you can pray, you can do a whole host of things, but stuff is still not going to change until you realize that you must adjust to it all.

The simple fact that the hits keep coming in your life isn’t your fault but it doesn’t change that they’re going to keep coming at you, for better or worse. If my daughter’s medical bills pile up right before I’m about to make a payment on my debt, there’s nothing I can do about that except move forward with my current plan and tweak when necessary.

My joy of seeing my daughter eight month seizure free was dampened by the most recent seizure, but in the big scheme of things, there are children having daily….hell, HOURLY seizures that can’t be controlled with medication.

And with a simple increase in medication and a bit of expense to restock seizure ending meds in the long run is much better than being whisked to a hospital every week with life threatening seizures.

It can always be worse, but it can also be better.

That’s why, regardless of what is going on, you need to construct a plan, sort of a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” type of plan. And you need to go over it every day and twice on Sunday. Have it as a part of your life.

Plan for the Storm

Let’s be honest, there’s no way to completely plan for every little eventuality, is there? Health issues are unpredictable. Financial windfalls and shortfalls happen very quickly. Which is why what this pandemic and ensuing fallout from it is showing us that there’s nothing wrong with being prepared.

Despite the fact that my daughter had another seizure, I was prepared for it.

We had a plan. Contact the neurologist. Understand the symptoms and what was ahead. Know that the medication amount hadn’t changed and we were going to have to raise it. Know that a keto diet may be in the cards. Know about CBD oil and it’s effects. Run through all of these plans.

Which is why I was set back, but not set out. As unpleasant as the eventuality was, I had to keep it on the table. You can’t whistle on the train tracks all day without knowing what to do when a train is coming, especially on a bridge…(for you Stand By Me fans out there).

You have to have a feel for the track when a train is coming. Which is why the reaction to run as the train came was the only one, and it was a distinct possibility that Gordie knew about as he kept feeling the track.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best is your best stance, especially financially.

In my life currently, I am going on month number 2 of monk mode Beckett.

I am working on paying down my debt, once over 75k to now under 19k with more to come. I have cut every last expense in order to get me over the hump and put me in a better position come 2021. My plan, regardless of what happens, will still be in place. I have contingency plans for job loss, for homelessness, for lack of clothing, for lack of food.

I have contingency plans in place for my daughters. If I die, they have millions coming.

If their health, either mental or physical, becomes an issue, I have avenues to work with. We have different paths that we take to get to our destination, and most often the ones with the most hardship are the ones we avoid, but are also the ones that get us there the quickest.

Every situation you can think of can help you craft and mold a plan to ride out the storm. Which is better? Riding it out in a metal shack with holes in it or a brick house that has been built to withstand the chaos?

You build and you re-build, but you never cower and hide. You make it stronger than before the storm, but you keep re-building. You keep preparing so you aren’t surprised like you were the last time. Adaptation is a key component to a full life.

Death? Life insurance. Job loss? Updated resume on file and hard copied. Health issues? Doctors, specialists and people who know how to treat these conditions. Divorce? Several attorneys that can give you advice. Finance? Invest, have a plan, learn about money. Expenses? Only pay for what you need and pay cash as much as you can. Many ways to skin a cat.

This won’t be the last crisis we have. This won’t even be the last crisis we have this MONTH. So you have to be better and prepare for all things, even the worst things like death, so that you can continue to persevere in this life of yours. Get stronger in all aspects of your life and you’ll weather any storm life throws.

The storms aren’t stopping, all you can do is prepare.

And even better, be the storm yourself.