That’s a pretty scary word, actually.
Intractable, meaning, in this case: not easily relieved or cured.
When you have pain, the very last word you want to hear is “intractable.” It’s the medical method of saying that they don’t have a f*cking clue why they can’t help you, and they’re sorry, but your visit is over. Oh, and you’ll get a survey emailed to you for feedback in the next three to seven business days. Thanks.
I have intractable migraines.
I don’t talk about them much and I try not to let them rule my life, but the truth is—I don’t remember life without them.
Recently I’ve been hit with a particularly bad one and I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of those I work with here at elephant, and in my personal life, to make it somewhat okay that I’ve spent the last week shuffling from my bed to the hospital and back again.
My arms are bruised from I.V. infusions. My eyes are so sensitive to light that I’ve actually switched my cell phone screen to black with white text. I can barely move my head without a wave of nausea hitting me, and all I want to do is eat a meal in the light, rather than in the dark.
If you’ve never had a migraine, check out this video. It’s pretty powerful. But, that’s not even my point.
My point is that in the last 24 hours, something has shifted. I don’t feel any less pain, but I feel like less of a burden. Yesterday I answered my cell phone in a bit of a haze and dragged on a sweatshirt to go answer the door to my secure building. There was a man standing there waiting for me with a flower delivery.
My parents are the sweetest. Their thoughtful gesture brightened up my room, even with the curtains closed.
Today I reached out to a friend. Do you know what he said? He said, “Let me help you.”
The power of those words. Those simple, four words. They inspired me to be writing this now, in the dark. They woke me up. They shook me, and they humbled me. I needed help and he wanted to give it.
And so here I am, reflecting on the human desire to help others and the innate desire to turn down that help and to do it ourselves. I don’t have a whole lot to show for my week other than these fading bruises, some canceled meetings, and a whole lot of love, but I think that accepting the love and the help—that may be the best thing I can do for myself. Ever.
It reminded me that I’m human. And that we’re all just human. And as much as we want to make a go at this thing called life on our own, we all have a desire to help out our fellow travelers along the way.
So, from me to you—keep helping, keep loving, and keep giving yourself a reason to pause and say, “thank you” to those who help you on your journey—because that’s how we’ll know we’ve accepted some help along the way.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ~ Maya Angelou
Author/Editor: Molly Murphy
Image: Author’s Own
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Lieselle Davidson