Posted by: sistermom1 | December 10, 2009

My full-time job

At a recent black-tie affair in Washington, DC, I found myself seated at a table with several people who would probably describe themselves as up-and-coming black professionals.  The kind I used to help strategize about their career opportunities – the folks who called me every day to ask my advice about their next professional steps.  That night I was using a scooter and was with a good friend (one who has had three very successful careers in her own right) and our children. 

During the meal, I re-introduced myself to a woman I had met before — just wanting to re-connect with her.  Her response to me was what has been described as the typical WDC question — “What do you do?”  I admit it threw me for a moment, I have been out of the WDC workflow for almost 2 years (and this was one of those black social elite events) and the typical Washington question surprised me.  I could feel my friend who was sitting with me getting irritated (she hates that question as much as I do, and she is on her third highly successful career!)

I was able to stammer out a response — “Currently my full-time job is managing my health….How about you – What is it that you do professionally?”  I was very proud of myself, and was even happier when I got her response.  She was an attorney for one of the many government agencies represented by alphabets –FDIC, OCC, HSA, whatever….  I mean how many of THEM do we have in this town?  My girlfriend was equally unimpressed and displayed it by ignoring the woman for the rest of the evening.  Later, it did get the two of us talking — about careers, choices, how intolerant people can be to one another, the meaning of life, you know- all of that stuff.

Contrary to popular belief and what has been my own personal opinion, I do have a full-time job.   Managing my health has absolutely become a career for me.  I have resisted this every step of the way and I am trying to unerstand why.  Having Multiple Sclerosis has been beyond difficult for me.  I need help to do most things, but I am by nature a very independent woman.  I love almost everything about being a wife and mother, but I can not do “mom things” like drive the carpool or even make love to my husband the way that I used to.  My ability to follow lengthy, complicated conversations has been affected by my brain’s compromised functioning.  This, when my pre-MS life had been built upon having complex, sophisticated discussions about an individual’s professional direction and career goal-setting.

Today I have accepted that becoming as healthy as possible and as physically flexible and strong as possible is my full-time occupation.  Getting and staying as healthy as possible is the imperative, as new meds are becoming available in the near future and I need to be healthy enough to get access to them.  That is my plan, and I am definitely sticking to it- at least until my next full-time opportunity presents itself!

Yours from the detour….

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