When I am Neutropenic, it means I have no immune system working to fight off harmful bacteria. I look fairly normal, so it is 100% my job to inform those I come in contact with that they need to wash their hands and probably not hug or kiss me at that time. It is still bothering me that last week I shook hands with a perfect stranger, while I was neutropenic, without giving them any heads up about my condition. WHY? Because I didn’t want them to feel bad or offend them! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I could literally catch something that would at the very least infect me and at the worst, kill me. But I ignored what I knew was best for me because of what someone else might think or how they might react. Messed up.
Now, you know I am going to tell you more thoughts on this. I read several books everyday and pray regularly so that I can become peaceful, happy and free. I go to recovery meetings and invite others to go with me. I go to church to grow and learn and serve. All these “activities” and efforts are disciplines that I have to have in order to become the kind of person God intends for ME to be. SERENITY: the PEACE that passes understanding ( that doesn’t make sense) is something I desire to have dominate my Spirit above all things. YET, as hard as I work at partnering with God in this, ( I read this in some AA/Alanon literature that I can’t seem to locate) “sometimes I pass my serenity over to someone as casually as I would pass them the salt”. Without consideration for what’s best for me, my heart, my family, my spirit, my recovery. Just like that, I am a hot mess of anxious thoughts and worry. Proverbs 4:23 says, “ABOVE ALL, GUARD YOUR HEART.” It is your responsibility to not “shake that hand” if you know it could infect or kill you. Other’s will often push back or even ridicule or manipulate you into doing something you know is not good for your soul. But when you consider the risks involved, offending or disappointing someone might be the least of your problems.
I am proud to say that I learned my lesson. I had to sit for an hour at the pharmacy immediately after I was told I was Neutropenic. There were some complications with insurance ( imagine that) and the Head Pharmacist handed me the phone she had just been talking on and said they needed to talk to me. I froze: I would have to touch that phone AND put my mouth right where hers had been! I am happy to report that I took the risk of offending her, I guarded my “heart” and body, and did what was best for me; I asked for an anti-bacterial wipe to clean off the phone before I touched it! She was, of course, understanding, and helped me out.
Above all, guard your heart. It will help you but also those around you when you are healthy, sane, peaceful, and free.