Old Friends, New Challenges

Reflections on the past, present, and future

I was befriended on Facebook by an old girlfriend from high school recently.

Strangely enough, I’m surprised to be seeing anything from her at all. She was kinda the type that was in trouble frequently due to domestic issues. She was kind of a goofy rebel. Which was attractive to me at the time. And she had a baby at 16, not mine of course.

The only sour note was that our relationship ended in a way that was less than desirable. And by less than desirable, I mean she ended up in juvenile detention for 90 days while I went to my senior prom (which she was supposed to attend, with me) stag, and I ended up dancing with her best friend at the time. I think she had a crush on me too, and she was the same type of girl. I met Amanda a few weeks later and got a second chance at a senior prom, but that is another story for another time.

I was attracted to the wrong kind of woman, clearly.

We reconnected briefly after I finished paramedic school, but only briefly. What was once there was no longer there, and at the time the prospect of raising someone else’s children didn’t appeal to me especially when she could have no more.

So what’s the point?

Just a reflection on the past, and how foolish I was in my younger days.

I think of a New Year’s celebration as a time of reflection back through where we have come in the past year, and where we plan to go. I had high hopes for 2011 but ended up getting laid low for a while (see “Cancer” above) which made 2011 probably the worst year I’ve had in recent memory.

I’ve had 2 surgeries, 9 weeks of chemotherapy, which put me off work for about 8 months. 2/3 of the year. Chemo seems all but a nasty memory, and the surgeries left deep scars, but I’m officially in the clear. Old challenges long conquered. The only problem is now I see more people getting sick, two friends recently confided in me that they have cancer or still have cancer, and either the treatment has yet to begin or is still in progress. It’s like 2011 was a year of deep sadness and sickness.

When I was working this year, it seemed like the people we were transporting and treating were sicker and required more of our skill and more of our talent to, at times, even just stabilize. My colleagues and I worked what seemed to be miracles, or we were just extremely lucky. Health care truths have finally caught up with the economy and the ugly truth that the destitute are just sicker seemed more pronounced this year. We looked to government to answer, and as government usually does answered with a flurry of half-measures in health care. The first phases of the Affordable Care Act took place, and despite the coming expansion of Medicare/Medicaid, I have an eerie feeling that it will do no good and may even exacerbate the problem. The truth I realized from all this that you are responsible for yourself and knowing about your health status, and if you don’t know, don’t care, don’t know to care, or don’t care to know, then no new law is going to change anything. We should expect business as usual.

I pray my pessimism  is unfounded.

Hopefully 2012 will be better. I know it will be better.

This article was written by rstine