My capacity for listening to others has greatly expanded in the last year or so. I don't know if it is because I was away from everyone and everything for so long, or the trials and tribulations and surgeries and pain I had to endure. I don't know if it is because I lost my confidence, my zest, my passion and became more introspective. But it's different.
I ask more questions than I ever have before. Questions about people, their families, their lives. And I'm learning things I would have never known otherwise.
I have someone I work with who has rheumatoid arthritis. She takes the same chemotherapy shots every week. She's been on the anti-malaria drug. She goes to the rheumatologist frequently and has a battery of tests at each visit, just like me.
I have someone I work with who had a knee replacement (like me), but this person has also had both shoulders done recently (like me). We have gotten to know each other a bit better by going through the same kinds of things.
Just today I found someone I work with who quilts and does crafts, too. I never expected she would be doing those types of things in her free time. If I hadn't listened and asked questions, I would never have known.
I like listening and I like knowing about other people's lives. It's good for me to stop thinking so much about myself and start focusing on others. And it certainly more interesting to hear others' stories than dwelling on my own.
At dinner I did have to dwell on my own. With our daughter home tonight, my hubby wanted us to have a family conversation. I had mentioned to my husband last night about wanting to tell the rheumatologist I want off the merry go round. I want to stop all treatments. I want to stop putting heavy-duty toxic medications in my body. I want a treatment that works, but it is painfully clear that my only option at this point is my twice-denied by insurance infusions. My husband didn't think I should be making the decision on my own since it has the potential to affect them. We left the conversation with the agreement I would discuss it with the doctor, not make any decisions ahead of time.
So we'll see what tomorrow holds.
As for today, it held surprises at work and surprises on the road. A bit of snow dusted the roads and made things quite slick. But, oh so pretty when the sun came out. The bright sunshine made the picture not nearly as pretty as what I saw in person.