My special purpose

On Thursday I entered the dialysis clinic with my bag containing a blanket, books, my laptop, headphones and half of the trepidation I had felt on my first visit. I was greeted by an entirely different Nursing Staff, which gave me the opportunity to drop my “oil change” joke 💀. It was fairly well received. I’m going to ask for a tire rotation next time to test the waters.

I already know the routine. I weighed in and sat down while 2 nurses, 2 potentially new sounding boards for my repertoire of Dad jokes, went through an impressive routine of programming the machine and unwrapping needles and fastening clamps and god knows what else. It really is something to watch, it must have taken a hell of a lot of training. When they were done and I was hooked up, they went on to other patients and I settled in for 3 boring hours.

I wasn’t in the mood for TV and not ready to read so I looked around the room. There are 12 stations in the room and every chair was full. I recognized most of the patients in the room from my first visit. The staff was all new to me. In particular I noticed a thin, older woman with a buzz cut making the rounds of the patients. I figured her to be the Nurse Manager. She was making her way towards me. After spending a few minutes with the gentleman next to me she came over and introduced herself as Kim, the clinic’s Social Worker. She knew who I was, had researched my case and apparently was looking forward to meeting me. Part of me wishes I could say the same. I respect social workers and what they do, but their goal is to get me talking about myself and my condition and how it has affected me and everything else that I don’t want to talk about. I deal well by not talking about “it”. Social workers chew away at my armor.

Kim sat down next to me and asked me a few questions about my overall reaction to the dialysis process, was I feeling better? Did I have any issues or complaints? Standard stuff. I immediately found her east to talk to. I had been anticipating an interview and instead found myself in a conversation. I certainly had time so I decided to drop my guard a bit and see where it goes.

The questions flowed easily from her and although it was standard fare; how long have I been sick; my marital status and my living situation. I answered all of them honestly and in some detail. She was taken back by my story, especially at the saga of my marriage collapsing. She kept asking, in different ways, if there was a chance at reconciliation and I continued to say no. She was surprised at my acceptance of the situation but dropped the subject. She then asked me if I was working, would I be able to or plan to in the future. I explained my situation with SSDI and that seemed to satisfy her. She then asked me what I used to do for work.

I found myself telling her all about my most recent position at the finance company and of all of the things I loved about it. I don’t know how long I spoke of it but when I was done and looked at her she looked captivated.
“If you could see the look in your eyes as you talk about that job” she said.
I had actually teared up as I had told her my tale.
“It meant a lot to me, Kim. You will never hear me utter a word of hubris, but when it came to that job I was damn good at it. I miss it.”
“I can tell.”

The conversation eventually wound down and she moved on to another patient. The emotional reaction to talking of my career lingered on. I explored it deeper and had an epiphany of sorts. Of all of the things I hate about my current situation is that I am no longer needed by people in my life. My family no longer seeks or expects support from me. I no longer go to work each day and try, in some small way. to make a difference in someone’s life. See, I had no throttle control before this happened. I was “all in” on life with family and career. I was active as possible as a parent and a husband, Teaching, mentoring and loving my kids while giving what remained of my ass to my job was what I lived for. I was a doer, a guy that made shit happen. A guy people came to. I was a great father, husband, friend and co-worker. I rode bikes and walked miles in the name of charity. I donated money I didn’t have and didn’t care.

Now I have none of it. Maybe the pace proved too much for my body.

I have beaten to death my family life on this blog and it is well documented that I love my family with all of my earthly strength. But I haven’t discussed work often and it was a big part of who I was. Men have often been accused of strongly tying their self-worth to their profession. I was guilty of this. I vowed never to be the guy who called in sick and no one noticed. My job, to quote Steve Martin in ” The Jerk”, I had found my special purpose.

The days when people came to me for advice; when calls were transferred to me because no one else knew enough or how to talk to an irate customer; having the owner boast that you are the “best in the business”; being given a seemingly impossible situation and finding a way to fix it. I have such fond memories of talking to people where the conversation started as a confrontation and ended with a “thank you.” It wasn’t that I was particularly skilled at everything, I just knew how to talk to people and I really, genuinely cared about them. I was proud to go home many days of the week with the knowledge that I actually may have helped someone through a tough day. I don’t have that anymore.

I have tried to be as useful as possible since the collapse. I volunteer at the food bank, I help some of the older people in town with basic chores. I don’t charge them, they don’t have the money. I am kind to my fellow man and I put out zero negative energy into the universe. I hope to become healthy enough to volunteer at a camp for the families of terminally ill children next summer. I am being the best person I can be.

But I don’t feel needed. I can’t believe how much I miss that feeling.

26 thoughts on “My special purpose”

  1. I like ‘social workers chew away at my armour’. I know what you mean by not being needed: my grandkids are grown up now and no longer need me like they used to; it’s a little sad but you wouldn’t want them clinging either. I guess we gotta move on, develop fresh interests 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This may seem like a strange question, but bear with me… When you started writing your blog, did you ever expect to find so many wonderful new friends? Did you know that seeing your little green light on facebook each day, was just enough to keep me from crawling back to bed on some days? I know that you can’t see it yourself YET, but you do make one hell of a difference, and you are very much needed. You just haven’t developed the confidence in your new role to know it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I lost my job and my career 4 years ago for a reason I will one day discuss here. I went from being a somebody to being lower than a nobody. I am well aware of that feeling. But you and I are somebodys Billy and we are needed here. We bring as much hope to others as we receive. We are writers and people follow us. They read what we write and like it. We ARE somebody Billy. We are somebody. And we ARE needed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If you are alive, you are needed. Being yourself is your special purpose. The time I realized no one truly needed me to do anything in particular, I felt like a emptied balloon. And then came the freedom to be who I am, with or without a special purpose.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Never say never my friend. I wouldn’t close the door on the idea of feeling needed because if this process you are going through has better and longer lasting results than the last time, you might actually turn into Superman and be able to get your mojo back. Then you’d have the benefit of perspective from this ordeal and who knows what you could accomplish

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You are needed, Billy. You gave me kind words when I was feeling especially down so therefore I need your uplifting light and wonderful perspective. I suffer from physical and mental illness and there are days that I feel absolutely and totally alone, even in a crowd. Whether it be family or strangers, I always feel so empty and misunderstood. Hang in there my friend,

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Being able to hear you as you work your way through the miasma that is your current reality is something. I know there are faiths out there that would say there is a purpose in that. I don’t know. I just know you have an incredible ability to share it so honestly.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I found this incredibly sad and touching and was wiping tears away at the end. In a way, you described what the whole empty nest syndrome feels like to me. I think I’ll come back to this one and hopefully make a more meaningful comment.

    How often do you have to have dialysis Billy? My brother-in-law had it every M, W, and F for many, many years. Said he felt somewhat tired and weak the day of dialysis, but the next day had good energy and generally felt good. He loved his dialysis clinic and became very close to the nurses. He said they were all like family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wasn’t going for sad, it was more of an observation of what that empty feeling was. I may never go back to work again, the company is gone and the position was pretty unique. I just hope to be healthy enough to be active and charitable again.
      My treatments are 3 days a week. I am feeling tired but generally better. I expect to be close with the staff as well.
      Thank you for checking in Gail

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I was thinking the same thing about the empty next syndrome too Gail. If it helps, I am learning to realize that where my kids are concerned, it’s even better to just be wanted instead of NEEDED, it means I did something right. I’m not saying it’s easy by any means, but I am also learning it’s not the end of me, it’s just time to start a new chapter

      Liked by 2 people

  9. consider this: you need yourself to pull into health. How can anyone else enjoy the benefits you offer if you can’t do it for yourself?
    you need to do for you what you’ve done – all your life – for others.
    When people say ‘I’d die for you,’ it’s meaningless, they leave it all behind; when they say ‘I will live for you,’ it means something.
    I want you to live for you, so you can be the best you possible, so you can go back to being the person you love being.
    And if that makes no sense, start again.

    Liked by 3 people

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