This past week, a couple of incidents helped renew my faith in the basic goodness of human nature, despite the deranged actions of the brothers who bombed the Marathon. On Wednesday, we went into Boston to see the Big Apple Circus, the first time I have seen a real circus since I was a kid. It was a real blast. On our way in, we parked in a garage near City Hall, but because of the events of the previous week, there was a policeman monitoring all the cars entering the garage. He began talking to us amiably, and when we thanked him for all the police had done in the aftermath of the bombing, his response was, "You people are great!". We were puzzled at first, but then we found out he was a New York cop who came to Boston after the Marathon to help, and he really liked the people in Boston he had met. We had a wonderful conversation.
This was a little hard for me to take in. After all, he was from the home of the Evil Empire, the hated Yankees, not to mention the (ugh) Jets, and the (gasp) Giants. The Yankees even played the Red Sox theme song, "Sweet Caroline" at their next home game after the bombing. Aargh! What was I to do with this? Where is the room for hate? How could I look at a "Yankees Suck" bumper sticker after this without some feeling of shame? Now that I know that the bomber brothers were planning to go to New York next to blow up Times Square, there is kind of a newly-sprung bond between the cities now. Not that I would rush out onto the field to give ARod a hug or anything, but the world is full of some really good people, even New York. ;-)
Then today, we met a young 21-year-old waiter named Patrick at the Beach Coma (catch that Boston accent?) restaurant on Plum Island. It was a beautiful day and he was so happy, outgoing and convivial. It was clear that for him, today was a great day to be alive. Talking to him further, we found out that he is legally blind and has serious leg problems, as well as nerve damage to his arms and hands. It turns out he was a victim of Lyme Disease at the age of 14, which left him permanently damaged. It took the doctors a year and a half to properly diagnose him.
Don't get me started on Lyme Disease! The medical community really sucks on this one. Their ignorance on this is shameful and inexcusable. Having gotten Lyme Disease twice, I have personal experience of their ineptitude. I have vented on this subject before, so I won't go on, but here is just another sad consequence of their willful ignorance of this pernicious disease. When Patrick was finally diagnosed, he needed a central catheter to deliver antibiotics directly into his heart to help him recover.
One might think that he would be somewhat embittered by his fate. But not so. Gretchen told him she believes everything happens for a reason, and he totally agreed. Before his sickness, he was a hockey player, but when he couldn't do that any more, he turned to music, which is now his first love. He feels it was meant to be. Talk about the power of positive thinking! Here was a nearly blind, partially crippled young man who was happy and exulting about just being alive on this beautiful day.
Attitude is everything. Gretchen's quick recovery from her brain injury was helped immensely by her positive outlook. And for myself, I have always had an optimistic outlook on my condition.
When I was a kid, I was different. Whenever I got sick, I used to whine, "Why did this have to happen to me?" I was a little spoiled brat back then. If could go back, I would smack myself upside the head. Fortunately, I outgrew that childishness. Since my diagnosis with Multiple Myeloma, I never have defined myself solely as an MM patient, but rather I am just a person who happens to have MM. It's a big difference. It is just something to deal with as best I can. I don't mean to imply that I am doing well right now because of a good attitude. No, I give the Farber credit for that. But I never succumbed to a "poor me" attitude. The glass is half full. Regardless of what happens, I plan to live whatever days I have left to the fullest. I hope I can always be like Patrick.