~ Celebrating Four Whopping Years Out Of Rehab ~
Today I’m celebrating four years of life.
I may be 40 years old, but these last four years are what today is all about.
May 11th is the anniversary of my discharge from Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Center - located in Jacksonville, Florida. Today... marking four years out. Four times three hundred and sixty five whopping days. Each and every single day being counted and tallied. All adding up to - four years strong - and four years of absolutely killing it at life.
You don’t get to that numerical tally by simply blinking and repeating. Or taking a breath in, and a breath out, over and over again. But then again… you actually, and really, do.
I would not be the happy, content, at-peace-with-the-world, and God loving person that I am right now and today, if it wasn’t for Mayo, and my time spent there. Because while God saved my life, Mayo Clinic helped give me the momentum to keep going after that.
And I’ve rambled on about Mayo in the past quite a few times, so you can go ahead and check all of that out below, if you’re interested in learning more about my experiences at the Clinic:
Christine’s Floridian Dreams: ABOUT
#34) Merry Christmas ~ And How To Buy For That Person On Your List Who Saved Your Life ~
#65) The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
The above articles delve a little bit deeper on how I came to be a patient at Mayo Clinic, my experiences traveling from Chicago, Illinois up to Rochester, Minnesota for treatment, and all the way to my new and fabulous life in Jacksonville, Florida. Plus, why my long and challenging month at Pain Rehab changed my life, and continues to change me - to this day.
So today, I wanted to pull your attention to what I view and believe, very strongly, are the tools and virtues necessary for living a fruitful and rewarding life with chronic pain. Because, four years later, it’s not just a snap of the fingers and life is amazing - it requires work - constant work - every single day. And one needs tools in order to do this work. So - here are the most vital tools I deem imperative toward continued success and maintenance after leaving rehab:
[ Plan ]
I plan. And I plan for everything. I plan my day. I plan my week. I plan my next two weeks out, and I strategically and creatively title that plan - “My Two Week Plan.” I plan the month. I plan the year. And, most importantly, I also plan for all these things to NOT go according to this plan.
But, at the same time I do all of this plotting and planning and scheming and theorizing... I simply live for today. (And, if that sentence makes any sense to you, please let me know.)
[ Purpose ]
I live. And I live now. I don’t wait to live. And I don’t count on tomorrow (even though I plan for it).
I wear my favorite clothes today (and I don’t save them for a better outing). I burn my favorite candles (and I don’t save them for only when guests come over). I sign up for the class I’ve been aching to take. I paint on all my canvases. I purchase tickets to my favorite play. I buy my coffee on the outside (as Jerry Seinfeld once said). I go to museums. I try all the newest restaurants. I create every single day - and not merely when I have time. I read all the books - of all kinds. I travel. I explore. I look up at the sky - and not down at my phone. I drive with the windows down. And I say hello to strangers, all the time. I know exactly why I am here and exactly what I am supposed to do. And I do it. Now. And I don’t save any of it for the unknown future.
Ahhhh, the unknown future. The future on a distant horizon we cannot possibly yet imagine. That brings me straight on up to my next tool.
[ Perseverance ]
There’s a reason the Mars Rover of 2020 was named Perseverance. My goodness! Can you even imagine the amazing journey that darn little robotic thing went on to get where it is right now?
Mars!... Freaking Mars! Do you really even realize how far away Mars really is from us here on Earth? Enough ‘really’s’ already. Without perseverance, there would literally, and really, be zero evidence of humanity on Mars. Or should I say - evidence of Earthlings on Mars. And that’s because the road to Mars is not paved and narrow. There is no defined route to arriving on the Red Planet. We’re making this all up as we go. It’s all foreign territory. And it’s scary. But thrilling. This - this feat - never accomplished before - landing humans on Mars. Who on God's green Earth knows when this will happen? It could take a number of years - a tally of days - a number and amount of time beyond our comprehension right now. And - It will take determination. It will take struggle, and challenges we possibly cannot yet even imagine.. It will take sacrifice. It will take discipline. And it most certainly will take - perseverance.
To persevere, means to struggle. To persevere, means to keep going. To persevere, means to face adversity, challenge, pain, hardship, and loss... and to keep going away. To persevere means you know how far away the future is, and to continue onward anway. To persevere, means it’s ok to fail. To persevere, simply means to get back up and try again.
So, while I plan for the future... And I live life for today… And if at first I don’t succeed, I try, try, again. This fact brings me to my final bullet point of today’s discussion - Patience.
Yes, I live in the moment, while at the same time... I have to have the patience of a freaking saint.
[ Patience ]
The single most important factor to making it through one thousand four hundred and sixty days of life outside of rehab. Without patience, I wouldn’t be writing this today. Without patience, I would not be celebrating four years strong. Without patience, I would have zero creativity. Without patience, I would be suffering. I’d be pacing, and agonizing, and wondering when in the freaking heck is all of this pain ever really going to go away?... Really.
Without patience, I would not be alive.
There’s a real and solid reason why there is a saying on this Earth that goes a little something like this:
Patience Is A Virtue.
That’s because it really and truly is.
Patience is NOT the most popular kid in school. People tend to not like Patience. And actually, people tend to despise Patience. Patience is continuously, and unrelentlessly, teased and taunted and bullied. And sadly, Patience gets tortured every single gosh darn day, somewhere on this planet.
Yes, Patience is really hard to live with.
But Patience is Required for Success.
So if you really want to succeed at whatever your goal is, I’d say to simply suck it up, buttercup... And to welcome some good, old-fashioned Patience into your new and modern life. Become friends with Patience. Actually, I'd even go so far as to say to make Patience your very best friend in life... Yeah, Patience is really that important.
So while everyone else is beating up Patience in the back alley around the corner from the school yard… YOU - you there, you go ahead and save Patience from that beating. Drag Patience out of the alleyway. And usher Patience straight on into the nurse's office for a solid checkup and mending and a bag of ice to go home with.
Then, take Patience home with you. Serve Patience a plate of cookies and milk - almond milk - not cows milk. And ask your mother if Patience can sleep over. Watch your favorite movie with Patience. And then, go ahead and watch a film that Patience likes, that you happen to utterly and totally despise. But suck it up and have some darn patience already. Humor Patience, and watch the movie anyway. You’ll be best friends in no time. Gosh, and at that exact point - Patience will really and truly love you back, too.
If you can learn the value of patience, you can learn the secret to life. If you can learn the virtue of patience, you will be exactly where you are meant to be. If you can simply have patience, there is nothing that you cannot do in this world.
But gosh, golly, oh jeaz - there is most definitely a secret to being patient - and that is this. if you can accept patience, you can accept your pain. Your struggles, your misfortunes. Your annoyances. Your anger, temper, and all your irritations. Your mind - arguing with itself. Your heading - spinning. Your every breath you take. You can then handle the deck of cards you’ve been dealt. You will learn from this adversity. And that experience will build momentum, and carry you forward, through time. Yes, if you can accept and welcome patience into your life, you’ll be killing it at life too. Because, without patience, you’ll really never know or even possibly imagine where you will be... four years from now.~
*Editorial Note & Disclaimer:
All views, opinions, and statements herein are my own. I am not a doctor. I am not trying to save you, and I cannot make your pain go away. I am merely detailing to you my own personal opinions and experiences with the Mayo Clinic as a patient. Each person is unique, and what works for one, will not work for all. I share my story in hopes it will reach someone who may need to hear or see just these exact words at this exact time to push them to get the help they need… right freaking now. Because - sometimes saving yourself, is allowing others to help you save you. If you are in chronic pain, struggling, or severely depressed, I would highly recommend calling the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida to explore treatment options. Their phone number is 904.953.2000.
Easter Morning: 2020.
It will be very, very different this year.
Most years past, after our move down south to Florida, Easter Morning has become a wonderful and tropical tradition… and always, at the beach.
We’d wake early - as usual.
Make a fresh pot of coffee - as usual.
But then, not, as usual…
I’d pop a tube of highly processed, cinnamony, and sugary goodness into the oven. As the rolls of spiced dough rise in the heat we’d get ourselves ready for a day in the sand. Surf and turf. And pure fun.
As the heavenly scent of cinnamon wafts throughout the apartment in windy swirls, combined with the fresh, salty, ocean breeze floating through the patio door. And coffee beans - doing their thing. We then ready our beach bag and grab our umbrella. When all is packed up and ready to go, and the buzzer finally decides to ding, I then proceed to slide the Easter Morning breakfast treat out of the oven. Something that costs a mere couple of dollars, but brings forth great and priceless joy.
In the final step of preparation, I then glide the spatula over the cinnamon rolls and spread the most delicious frosting atop. Standing in the kitchen, I watch as the ice cold frosting melts over the slope of a doughy mountain. And then, finally, the frosting completely melted, meeting in its final descent, gently hitting the baking tray. And with that act, it is our que to leave.
It’s then off to the beach for our Easter Morning. To sit and gaze at the ocean. To take in all the beauty of the sea directly in front of us. Stretching all the way out to the horizon. No end in sight. What’s past that line nobody really knows.
Going to the beach is something we do all the time. But on a holiday - it’s just all the more special. And all the more peaceful.
Hubby plants the umbrella into the sandy floor. We lay out our beach towels. And our doggie sitting between us nestled in the shade. And we swim. And read. And listen to podcasts and music. And mostly, we just drink coffee.
But Easter in Florida will definitely be very, very different this year.
The beaches here are closed to the public. Wrapped up with police tape. Barricaded. Coned off. Caution and warning signs abound. Parking not allowed. To help stop the Coronavirus spread, of course.
So, while there may be coffee, and while there may be cinnamon rolls, and while there may be frosting. There will be no surf and turf.
But knowing all that, one thing is still very, very certain. While they can most certainly close the beach, and can do so fairly easily I might add. There is no front door to the ocean. There is no window they can shutter and latch to prevent us from taking a look. And they certainly can’t throw away the key.
So while it may be in everyone’s best interest that the beaches remain closed this spring, the sea is still sitting out there - doing it’s own thing - very much alive and breathing - and it will be there still, on Easter Morning.
In fact, I tend to think the Sea and all the life within it, are kinda, sorta, wondering, at this point, where all the humans went? I think, maybe, the ocean is getting a little lonely? The dolphins that swim alongside us… what are they up to right about now? Either that - or the sea is laughing at us and saying, “Good riddance! They’re finally letting me take a nap!”
And it is with that thought in mind that we have been regularly going for our morning walks, still, throughout global chaos. As usual, throughout this pandemic, we take a peak, and glance out toward the ocean - from afar. As we get our cardio in, doggy included, we take a look outward toward the gorgeous and colorful and ever-changing skyline. And the forever distant horizon. While never, ever, crossing over the strategically placed yellow and black police tape. Of course.
And that is what life at the beach is all about, Charlie Brown.
Life. And The Sea.
Life surrounding the sea. On the sea. In the sea. And… looking at the sea. Gazing at the sea. And dreaming of The Sea.
Yes - I’ve lived The Sea Life for a few years now. It’s been over three years since I moved to Florida from the Midwest. Dreaming of the sea, ultimately, brought me to the beach. To San Pablo Island.
And with that milestone, there’s another kind of Sea Life that I’ve been living since my move to Florida. It has also been nearly three years since I was discharged from the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Clinic - located in Jacksonville.
There is a cognitive behavioral therapy tool that all of us patients learned as we went through the long and detailed and rigorous rehabilitation program.
It divides our life - the life of an individual living with chronic pain - into three very distinct phases…
The A Life.
The B Life.
The C Life.
And while my C Life is ultimately why you are reading this right now, I wanted to provide you a brief explanation as to how the A and B life have to be lived - in order for a participant in the program to EVER even obtain the opportunity to have a C Life. Their own C Life.
First up is The A Life. And The A Life is just that. It’s LIFE.
The A Life is everything and anything and anybody that came before chronic pain took over the body. The A Life, for me, and for hundreds of other patients, was growing up… it was going to school… it was sports, it was college, it was marriage, it was graduate school… it was first jobs, or many jobs. Full careers. Family. Friends. Parties. Travel. Success. The A Life - was life, itself.
And then, all of a sudden, that darn, no good, very bad day of a B Life came along - and that was a very, very Bad Life indeed.
The B Life enters into a person’s life as chronic pain takes them over. A patient's body succumbs in almost every single way to unrelenting pain. Marriages are lost. Jobs are most definitely lost. Whole careers upended. Some patients even get fired from their life-long career on the very day they choose to take back their own life. To be admitted to hospital.
Money = gone. Even responsible and diligent financial penny pinchers and savers - their financial statuses, quickly changed.
Debts add up. Lots and lots of bills. Bills that can’t be paid. Bills on payment plan. Bills leaving one drowning in paperwork and dollar signs. A feeling that they will never be able catch up. Financial ruin….
All as the patient, and sometimes their family as well, spends every single penny at their disposal on doctors appointments, tests, experimental treatment, lots of travel to specialists, surgeries, injections, miracle creams, potions, lotions, powders, herbs, capsules and tablets. In search of a cure.
Daily life is abruptly changed. All the little things that make up a life. Hobbies are gone. Forgotten in nearly every way. Sports are not even an option. Cooking - gone. Reading - gone. Books sit closed and their bindings collect dust.
Parties - gone. Friends - lost forever. Mental strength. Physical abilities. Exercise. Self care. As chronic pain sets in, as chronic pain takes over… everything else is lost.
And The B Life can be a very long life. The B Life can leave a young 39 year old with a whole lot of gray hair on top of her head.
After the patient has done nearly everything, and lost nearly everything, that tends to be when they find out about Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Clinic. Some kind soul usually refers them. A friend, family member, doctor, or maybe even a quick Google search - a quiet whisper in their ear - informs them of Pain Rehab at Mayo.
And yeah - lots of people really do not even find out about the program I am discussing with you today until they’ve lived The B Life for a very, very long time. And a lot of pain has already been experienced. To the point that it’s all sheer madness of a life to live.
But then… That’s when PRC comes along. The C Life comes along. And The C Life - is a brand new life.
The C Life - is being reborn.
Think of it kinda like a cat…. Just as a cat has nine lives… graduates of the PRC Program at Mayo Clinic have three lives.
Like - no joke. I WAS reborn - at Mayo Clinic. My life WAS saved - at Mayo Clinic. I WAS transformed - at Mayo Clinic.
But it wasn’t a light bulb moment. No one flipped the switch. I wasn’t injected with a shot, vaccinating me into a different realm.
No, nope, nope, nope. That’s not how any of this works.
I had to earn my C Life. Through a lot of hard work on my part.
The C LIfe is a lifestyle choice.
But The C LIfe is, once again, Life itself.
The C Life is about acceptance. The C life is about making peace. The C Life is about discipline. Diligence. Routine. Adaptation. Moderation. Forgiveness. Patience.
The C Life is about faith.
The C Life IS hope.
And, maybe most importantly, the C Life helps a patient to say goodbye… To say goodbye to their nightmare, of a B Life.
And then, to take it even one step further - To say goodbye - for good - even to their A Life.
Yes, that’s correct. The A Life is tossed out the window too.
It is then and really only then that the C Life can become a real and new Life.
We do not look backward in The C Life. We don’t try to meet up with our old selves. We do not try to re-obtain our A Life. We accept that it is gone forever. And we simply accept the new selves we have become. Accepting of our past, and working toward a better future. And work - each day - to build a life around that knowledge.
If a patient fully believes and practices the program… all knowing the C Life Is a lifestyle - and not a magical lotion, potion, prescription, or pill - the C Life can really become a brand new life. A real rebirth. An Easter Resurrection.
The C Life, for me, has been truly life-changing. Just as it was meant to be. Just as I allowed it to be. And. Just as I continue to allow it to be every single day.
I’ve been practicing The C Life for nearly three years… It’s lifestyle - not a cure. It’s hard work - and not the waving of a magic wand.
And, The C Life is not perfect. In fact, there may be newer, stranger, or more horrible nightmares of problems that crop up in The C Life. Maybe even more so than in either The A Life, or The B Life. And I say that to be honest. But with great confidence. Because even with pandemics, massive contagions, and disruption of the entire world order, The C Life - can still be a fabulous life.
And anything, anything at all, can be accomplished living The C Life.
Despite all obstacle.
Despite any challenge.
Despite a roadblock, clearly sitting directly in front of a person.
The world is at the fingertips of the discharged patient - from the very first day they exit the Program and walk out the hospital doors for the final time. Life - is waiting for them as they enter their third life. Their new life.
The C Life has brought me more joy and happiness than I ever thought possible.
The C Life has stopped me from waiting… Waiting….. To LIVE.
I now am fully alive. Even today. In the midst of the world’s largest global crisis of our lifetimes. Yes, amidst the apocalypse of this plague. This global pandemic. Every day is still special to me. Every day I am grateful. And every day I am truly alive.
As we all continue in this, our strange and new kind of life. As everyone on Earth, right now, is also going through a transition of life. And, as Easter Sunday arrives on our doorstep.
Churches, for the most part, remain closed. Family and friends will not be meeting up, from afar, to celebrate the special Sunday. Most of us, throughout the entire world, will be having our Easter dinners with only the members who reside in our immediate households.
And while we cannot have the beach, and we cannot look out at the beautiful sea - as we sit in the warm sand - we can all still have each other. While we are all far apart.
Yes, there will be no beach on Easter Sunday this year... That is - Unless Dr. Fauci goes on television sometime between when Christ dies and when Christ has risen - and then proceeds to tell us that it is all now safe, let’s open up the world again! But something tells me he won’t be saying that any time soon.
Yes, Easter Sunday will be very different this year.
And with some supply chain disruption, there may not even be those highly coveted cinnamon rolls.
But there will be people sacrificing. For the good of humanity. And for the continuation of life itself.
I saw in the local Jacksonville news the other day that an administrator at Mayo Clinic Jax is now accepting letters, words of encouragement, drawings, images, etc. They will be sent onward - to all the doctors, nurses, and hundreds of other staff members who make up the Clinic. To thank them. We, the general public, have been asked to pass along our best wishes and support. As Mayo plays a prime role on the front lines of this global war on disease.
Mayo will no doubt be on the front lines of research, studies, testing, and treatment of patients - all in the CoVid19 fight.
It’s basically like this - As one of the most amazing humans on Earth always says, “We’re number one!”
All kidding aside though - They really are number one.
And yes - they saved my life. They brought me back into the world. And they lifted me up when I needed it the most.
My experience at Mayo Clinic has given me my C Life...
As I started my first job outside the home in a decade. As I’ve now completed road races, a half marathon, traveled, met countless amazing people, and various other opportunities I never thought humanly possible. Countless milestones and achievements I never thought would be available to me, merely a few short years ago.
But the most important part of what Mayo gave me really is my overall brand new life. The different life. The one that is in no way at all part of my A Life or my B Life. All the countless new doors that have opened. All the boats I’ve hopped on board - to float on out toward that distant horizon line in the vast and open sea.
As I volunteered.
As I fell completely and madly in love with Art.
As I started my own Etsy Shop, Website, Lifestyle Blog, and Art Studio. As I fell in love with writing.
As nothing is impossible to me now. As there is no limit to where all my dreams may take me next.
As Christine’s Floridian Dreams was dreamed up - because of them - because of Mayo.
Doing all things new. With confidence. Doing what was never completed in the A or B Life. Yes, I am truly living The C Life. Even amidst a global pandemic.
In fact, I actually tend to think that it is because of Mayo Clinic that I am simply plugging along, no big deal, throughout this sci-fi, apocalyptic life we all now find ourselves within.
When I graduated from the Program. I had a whole lifeline of tools at my disposal. Tools I have diligently utilized each day of my C Life. Tools I am continuing to use - right now - through crisis.
Life is good. Yes, life is still good. And while there may be crisis. And while there may be death, and horror, and evil, and destruction. There will always be hope.
So, to answer the call from the local news stations. These words of thanks are now my words of encouragement to all the doctors, nurses, and staff - as they fight on the front lines. As they battle the evil virus. As they fight for humanity. As they give hope to countless others. As they change lives each and every day. And as they continue to - right in the middle of a plague.
As they give countless patients a new life. With each deed, word, and action:
You’ve got this. And we are all here with you.
Yes, this may be a very different Easter.
All throughout the world. And even right here in Jacksonville, Florida.
And, rightfully so - There may not be the beach. There may not be surf to ride upon. There may not be men with metal detectors walking up and down the shoreline - looking for shiny coastal treasures. There may not be little children collecting shells, and building sand castles next to the tide pools. There may not be a grown woman with graying hair sitting out on the beach with cinnamon rolls, hot coffee, and a doggie sitting beside her in the sand.
But there will always be life. There will always be hope. There will always be faith. And, there will always be good people doing God’s work - each and every day. And maybe, and most importantly, floating out there on the horizon line… with a door that never closes and most certainly never locks, just waiting for that next someone to step out and push themselves off the sandy floor, onward and outward toward their next high and mighty adventure… forever unknowing of what truly lies ahead… The Sea Life. ~
*Happy Easter to Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Florida.
Thank you - for everything.*
*This painting, titled - “The Sea Life” - is being donated to the Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic Jax - and will be hand delivered, in person… Whenever we can all see each other, once again - In real life.*
[Editorial Note]: I am not a doctor. And I don’t pretend to play one on TV either. This article and personal story is not medical advice or a prescription in any way. But - if this post reaches you because you are living in chronic pain. If you found this article because someone thought it may be screaming YOU. If you were referred here by others who thought you might benefit from this story. Let this reading be that whisper in your ear - informing you of possibility. Know there is always hope. There are people everywhere - on all corners of this globe - who know how to help you. Never give up. The people and place that helped me are referenced within this publication. The main phone number to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida is 904.953.2000. Go ahead and pick up that phone of yours. Punch in the numbers. And help yourself - by getting help from others.
Hey - you - over there. If you’re looking for more stories of hope, inspiration, faith and optimism, check out the links below:
64] Stay-At-Home Sunday ~ Palm Sunday
63] Mercy & Comfort
62] PERSPECTIVE @ Seaside Sculpture Park
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
55] The Shamrock
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
41] Minnie The Daschund Mouse & Her Birthday Wish
39] The Very Official &. Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
38] The Year Of The Sweater ~ Bean’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
36] The End Of A Decade & My New Year’s Wish To You ~
34] Merry Christmas ~ And How To Buy For That Person On Your List Who Saved Your Life ~
27] Thanksgiving & Pete’s Bar ~ Not All Resolutions Need Be Fulfilled On January First
26] Deck The Chairs ~ BE THAT CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THIS OUR VERY OWN AND SHAREABLE WORLD
24] In Real Life ~ My First Visit To A Southern Living Idea House
23] Faith ~ And Life Lessons Learned Living With Wild & Untamable Hair
21] Cinotti’s ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
12/23/2019 0 Comments
During the opening scene of the holiday film classic, White Christmas, Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) saves Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby’s) life. It’s World War II. Bombs flying overhead. Rubble and lots of blown up, destroyed buildings half-standing all around. Davis pulls Wallace out of the path of a swaying and then falling, crumbling, and collapsing red brick building wall. He saves Wallace’s life - and injures his own arm in the process.
While in the hospital tent recovering, Wallace goes to visit Davis. To check on him. To thank him. For saving his life.
“It was a life worth saving,” Davis proudly proclaims. And simple, matter-of-fact like. He might as well of said,
“No big deal.”
“I do that sorta thing all the time!”
You see, Davis lived a happy, silly, and very innocent existence. Cheerful all the time, even on the lowest of days, he would find the bright spot, he would always be the jokester. Any scene he was in, it was a scene filled with joy and laughs.
Wallace had always been much more serious. Even in show business, the entertainment business, he was always focused on the Business side of any Show. Wallace and Davis became business partners after the War ended. Wallace - watching the finances - Davis following the dream.
Despite all cost. Money didn’t matter. He had a vision. And he was set to do it.
To convince Wallace to go along with any of his pricey and elaborate schemes, Davis simply pointed to that arm of his. A constant reminder to Wallace that he had saved Wallace’s life…
After all, it was a life worth saving.
Those constant and nagging reminders given by Davis are imperative scenes in the films plot. From that point forward of Davis saving Wallace’s life, every time Davis needed or wanted anything… anything at all, he just points to that arm of his.
So, ever and always hounded by Davis, Wallace repeatedly complied. Following Davis’s every whim, every desire, every dream. Even running to catch a train, and take a long, dreamy, and leisurely and quite lovely ride on the rails up north to Vermont. A trip he originally didn’t want to go on… and sleep in a drafty old club car - with no nice, warm bed? Wallace owed Davis. Big time.
He’d do anything to appease Davis. After all, how do you repay someone who saved your life?
It’s constant, right? For the rest of your life?
There is no amount that can suffice such a reciprocal payment for services rendered.
Wallace understood this. He knew no amount of money could repay Davis for the life he saved under the falling red brick building back during the War.
How much does it cost to save a life? How much would a person pay to be saved? How much does Wallace owe Davis for his act of selflessness and heroism? It was a near-impossible equation to solve. Unless, maybe, getting some insurance adjusters and lawyers, or mediators or other adjudicators, and judges and juries involved to finally solve the problem of Davis constantly pointing to his arm???
No, Wallace would never do that… that would cost more MONEY! Just keep on appeasing him. Just keep on humoring Davis… for the rest of his life. It was worth it. He was ALIVE after all.
In the end, they remain forever friends... And forever grateful of their drastically changed lives and all they had gone through together. War, and horror, death and destruction - to brand new post-war lives, the entertainment business, and finding the loves of their lives, together.
Their happily ever afters.
So, the question remains today in lots of people’s lives… How do you repay the person who saved you? If your life was utterly and literally saved by someone else, how can you possibly repay them? Is there is price tag on that action?
AND FURTHER - when the holidays come around each year, how do you give a gift...what do you buy… for that person on your list who saved your life?
The answer is simple.
I’ve watched White Christmas an infinite number of times. I have it memorized. I can taste the frothy and magical and very appealing drinks in the dining car scene onboard that infamous train ride up to Vermont... “Snow… Snow… Snow... Snow!” I can direct the remake if you’d like me to. I’m an expert.
But, I always used to question Bing Crosby’s character in the film. Wallace never told Davis to SHUT UP, to STOP WITH THIS LIFE SAVING BUSINESS! He never gave in or gave up on him. He never yelled - Stop pointing to your arm! Stop reminding me you saved my life! Stop bothering me!
Well, wait… maybe he did.
“Sometimes I wish the wall had fallen on me…” Wallace complains to Davis.
Awhhhh moans Davis, you don’t mean that!
Maybe Wallace did tell Davis to schedadle. Go away. But in an innocent manner. He never really meant it. That’s why they remained life-long friends. They helped each other through a dark time. That never goes away. Even as life changes in the future. He will be forever grateful that Davis saved his life.
You CANNOT put a price on a life. All life is precious. A life saved cannot be repaid. There is no amount. No check you can write. No card all-encompassing.
When stuffing the envelopes for your holiday cards and you get to the person who saved your life… do you add some extra glitter in their card? After all, they need something extra from everyone else, right?
Sure, every day, in trials and settlements, financial figures are calculated to affix and satisfy lawsuits etc. Insurance companies and attorneys calculate cost-of-life and benefits, etc. etc. etc. Money owed someone over the course of a lifetime - a calculated financial equivalent to compute what a life is worth with a dollar sign. But the money does not make a person whole. And life is not about the money. Which really explains why there is no suitable Christmas gift to give to the person who saved your life.
There is only one way to repay the person who saved you. One Christmas gift you can give them. It is by living your life. A life of gratefulness. Of service. Of thanks and gratitude. Of giving and generosity. Living the amazing and completely priceless life you were given - by that person who saved you...
By living your very best life - each and every day. Only someone who has been saved and pulled from the darkness can potentially even understand this. It just doesn’t happen all the time. That’s why there isn’t a section in the Hallmark card aisle devoted to it. We have - Merry Christmas to Mom & Dad, Happy Holiday’s To My Co-Worker, Dear Grandma, To My Dog Groomer - at Christmas… But where’s the card for - At Christmas… For Saving My LIfe??? I need that card. To give to someone I owe. But it doesn’t exist.
And that’s ok.
The person who saved you understands as much. They just want you to live your life. They don’t want a big thank you.
I know this.
I know this because my life was saved.
Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida saved my life. Both literally and figuratively... Physically and mentally. Three years ago. This will be my third Christmas since my life changed forever.
How can I possibly repay them for what they did for me?
I volunteered at the hospital for a years time. I donate. Etc. Etc. Etc. None of it adds up to how much they helped me. I could hand them the moon - because that’s what I want to do. I owe them everything. I cannot possibly repay them though.
My first holiday season post-treatment at the Clinic, I wanted to do something for them to thank them. Nothing matched my gratefulness. I wracked my brain. There was no money. There was no Hallmark card?!....
I’ve got it!
I’ll bake cookies!
Frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies - to be exact.
So during the holidays of 2017, my husband and I spent an entire weekend in the kitchen. Baking. It was wonderful. After many years of marriage, it was our first time really taking some quality time together to simply do some solid and legitimate baking. And our first real slow-down during any Christmas, ever.
And now, three years later, it is tradition. One weekend a holiday season, we stop everything. We don’t go see any Zoo Lights that weekend, we don’t go see the St. Augustine Nights of Lights that weekend, no Deck The Chairs, no Luminaria, no Christmas Pop-Up Bar, no Beaches Town Center Christmas Tree and lights, and no gingerbread house at One Ocean, we don’t shop at Rockaway Gardens or buy any Christmas greenery that weekend… we simply bake.
I light festive and dreamy scented candles. We turn on Christmas movies in the background. Our apartment becomes a pine and fir and balsam and sugar and dough scented Heaven on Earth. And we bake.
And frost… of course.
By Monday, the day of my follow-up care each December, I go off to Mayo, with a box of sugary and holiday goodness in hand. I check in to my appointment, and drop the box off at the Pain Rehab Clinic. And then go on my way, to meet with everyone else who comes to these sessions, everyone else who has had their lives changed forever by the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
We meet. We attend our sessions. We listen. We learn. We talk. We snack. We dine. We say goodbye. We go on with our lives afterward.
Another two months go by.
We all meet every other month. Coming from places near and far. Driving, flying, and yes, by train ride also. In the interim, we all keep in touch via a private Facebook Group for “Graduates” of the amazing program. We are not merely just patients who have been discharged. We are graduates of a program designed to give us life again.
And we have access to the benefits of the Rehab Clinic for the rest of our lives afterward.
After two months, we do it all again...
But it’s that December session, during the holidays, when I always bring the cookies.
By the end of all the baking and frosting during that wonderful weekend, I have a delicious box of cookies, all wrapped up and ready to go. I try to ‘up my game’ every year. Maybe better-shapes. Maybe better overall presentation. This year, we tried to master the difference between border frosting and flood frosting. I certainly did not “master” it by any means, but it was a great start, and hopefully my cookies will improve even more next year. A great article about border frosting and flood frosting can be found here - one that even a lazy baker can follow.
When I drop off my cookies, I’m proud of myself for just a small milli-second. For “stopping my life” for 48 hours. For dropping everything. To give something to someone else. Something so very simple. But something to show and express my gratefulness. Gratitude goes a very long way. But cookies go even longer.
This post is utterly and sincerely dedicated to all of the staff at the Mayo Pain Rehab Clinic. The doctors. The nurses. The occupational therapists. The physical therapists. Nutritionists. Pain Psychologists. Any and all other staff. The invisible and unnamed hard workers. The ones who stuff envelopes reminding us of our appointments. The awesome woman who always answers the phone. The people who keep all the amazing facilities clean and tidy and safe so that patients and doctors and nurses and other staff can do the life-saving work they need to do to get back out and into the world. The ones who are currently working very hard on building construction to renovate and add to the facility to make room for a whole additional team of patients, who will be able to partake in the program in the near future. Everyone. Thank you.
There are no words.
There is no amount of money.
There is no Hallmark card I can buy.
I can never repay you.
I can bring you cookies. But I can never repay you.
You saved my life.
You brought me back to life.
I know I helped just a little bit. And God did too. And I do give God all the credit here.
But right now, this one’s for you. YOU deserve A LOT of the credit.
I do the hard work it takes each and every day to continue to survive after my discharge and graduation. I know that.
But y’all work so hard too. You deserve everything. You deserve the moon.
You pulled me out from the bombs flying by overheard. You dragged me away from the heavy red brick wall collapsing on top of me. You lifted me out of the rubble and mess. You saved me from war and death and all the destruction it brings with it. All your hard work. All the efforts. Oh, the broken arms all the Phil Davis’s have endured to help save us patients. It can never be repaid. I can never thank you enough.
But you know what? I think you know that.
I think you know… that graduates living our very best lives, and doing our very best work to live a healthy, productive, generous and giving life ourselves, is our way of repaying you… each and every day. And I try to do just that.
It’s a lifetime of work.
Yes, it is for the rest of my life.
As one of the most amazing humans the world has ever known always says and reminds us... this is a lifetime commitment. There is no end date. This lifestyle is a commitment we make with ourselves until we draw our very last breath upon this Earth.
I completely understand what he means in every sense of those words.
So thank you. Thank you for those words. Thank you for your help. Thank you for saving me. But it was a life worth saving. I try my best. I thank you forever. But my life and my life’s work ahead of me is my real thank you to you. I cannot repay you with money. I cannot even explain it in these words here and now.
You know that...
So Sugar Cookies will have to do in the interim.
Thank you Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
God Bless the Pain Rehabilitation Center and staff.
This is my Christmas gift to you.
And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my very dear readers and subscribers. ~
This personal story is my Christmas gift to you (or someone you know) who can benefit from it in any way. If you, or someone you know, is in pain. If you are struggling. If you feel hopeless. If you are in chronic pain. If you are suffering severe depression. There is always light. There is always hope. I am not a doctor. I cannot save you. My hope with this blog is for you to use me simply as one example. To read about others, and their stories. Learn from them. Seek help. In this article is the physical facility I personally recommend. While everybody's experience will be different and unique to them, I am sharing my experience for others to benefit in any way. In my story, I am specifically referencing the Jacksonville, Florida branch of Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic has three branches - they are located in Rochester, MN, Jacksonville, FL, and Phoenix, AZ. In my own personal experience and my own personal opinion and not referring to anyone else’s, they are very different from one another. This article is referring specifically to the Jacksonville, Florida location. Their main phone number is 904.953.2000. Use my story and my example as a push to get you or that someone you know the help they need. YOU are your own best advocate. No one else will ever be able to advocate for you - better than you, yourself, and YOU. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and save you… save yourself… just maybe by letting someone else save you. But anywhere you are, there is help. Get out there… it’s YOUR JOB to get out there... and FIND IT.*
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