I cannot tell you, Glenn, how many times I have said those very words after having described what I have endured in my life these last twenty-eight years. I am grateful to you for having the courage to be open and honest with us, not just your fans, but your friends as you describe us, letting us know all the hardships you have been dealing with for some time. We share some symptoms, you and I, though not their cause. At 22 in 1985, I was diagnosed with a cyst about the size of a quarter deep inside my brain, when it began to impinge on my optic nerve I underwent surgery to decompress the cyst (‘pop the blister’) in August, 1986. I suffered complications from that first surgery, a happenstance tiny bit of scar tissue developed in just the wrong place, from that moment until this it has been surgeries to my brain, my brain stem, my spinal cord, long-term chronic head pain, spinal cord damage, muscle deterioration due to nerve weakness … the list goes on and on, I don’t need to detail. It is not a matter of being ‘worse’ than your troubles; you and I know it is not a contest.
The worst symptom for me has been the fact that like you, I no longer achieve REM sleep. In that initial surgery, my pineal gland was removed, it is the center in your body wherein sleep is regulated. It recognizes day from night, the light that comes into your head though your eyes are closed, why it is so difficult for those who work the graveyard shift to sleep during the day no matter how exhausted they may become. I have not had what we all know as a good night’s sleep in all these years; a dream is an extremely rare occurrence. The only time I get any body repair for the exertions of the day are in the first three hours after I do fall asleep, if that is disturbed for whatever reason, the whole night is shot. I will doze on and off for the remaining hours of the night but that repair time is lost. Needless to say, I am quite far behind. But even at that, I had been able to maintain a relatively normal, capable life, even with on-going loss of independence due to the continuing increase of spine/leg weakness. The last two years however, what had been a gradual slope of deterioration became a sharp decline due in good measure to the incredible inconsideration and downright ignoring of my obvious disability by both strangers out and about and, surprisingly, other disabled persons with whom I would have thought to find understanding and assistance, if not downright compassion.
When you spoke of your exhaustion, how you had to be carried off stage, or from one conveyance to another, it made me think of my own increasing extreme fatigue. I no longer have any real strength or stamina but the last few months, I am finding myself with so little energy, only enough “oomph” to accomplish that which is necessary for the normal day, washing, dressing, getting myself into a position with enough comfort in order to pass the time in simple hobbies which do not task me physically. One of those has been to type submissions for Ann-Marie Murrell, editor-in-chief and owner of PolitiChicks.com; she kindly invited me into the writer’s coop a year ago June. It has been a wonderful outlet for me; I don’t think I need to tell you the importance in having that type of creative outlet to the writer’s brain. But lately, I simply have not had the energy to do the work required to complete an article. I missed writing a piece regarding the formal Grand Jury indictment of the so-called mastermind of the terrorist attack on our special mission compound in Benghazi. I had wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech with a comparison to what we are experiencing in the country today. I intended to write a final article filled with the joy for the Tahmooressi family now that Andrew has finally been released from the cruelty he had known for months, unjustly held in a Mexican prison for the terrible crime of making one wrong left turn. Where once I could type over 700 wpm, I am now able to use only three fingers on my right hand, the slow tedium of punching the keys only adds to the fatigue.
Glenn, when you had the poignant exchange with Ed, the alcoholic who called you seeking real help, you explained how his call getting answered was no coincidence–I believe this to be so very true. Monday I had planned to send Ann-Marie an explanatory email, asking my friend to forgive my lack of contributions and why it has been so hard to do such a seemingly easy task, but the fatigue won out once more. I spent the time working a different, less demanding (for me) task while listening to you, then Rush, then my latest daytime favorite, Jay Severin. When your special tv show began, the look on Tania’s face brought me to full attention. After hearing your words, truly physically knowing about so much of what you described, I changed my mind. I decided to instead use the typing effort to write a submission for PolitiChicks, not just for you to know I am empathetic, but for the likely others who suffer from something, but feel they are alone in what they endure.
Something dreadful has happened to us as a people, Glenn. Not all of it political polarization, though your discussion about the Ed Schultz post, and the comments made after, prove that politicization is a reality and one that sadly goes both ways. The same type of unkind and downright cruel comments were made on threads after the death of Ted Kennedy, just to name one. I am only one year older than you, so we both can recall a time when neither would dare happen in America. Those of us with nothing good to say would follow the admonishment our mothers gave to us.
Where did the hardness of the hearts come from? Has it really been just the coarsening of our culture, the isolation and anonymity the internet and mobile phones has caused? God has His plan; like you, I am aware of this and daily ask what it is, what am I to do today. As hard as my life has become physically, why God, why have You opened my eyes again this morning? I see Him working through you, especially now that I am aware of what you have endured in order to accomplish so much throughout the physical troubles–and I know I must do the same, asking where He wants me to go and then paying close attention to hear the answer. There is a reason for everything, His reason; sometimes I wish the ‘why’ was more clear to my human mind.
But I will strive harder to hold onto that fact, that it is His plan, His will, His reason, and do my best to at least set the wondering aside. Again, thank you Glenn, for choosing to let your larger circle of listening/viewing friends know the difficulties you have gone through. We both have survived ours for His reason; like you, I will do my best to stand where He wants me, do what He will with me. The world needs all of us He places in it.