I read a free sample of a book at two different times of my life.
The first time I read it, I was new to my lunch lady job, and I found myself sitting in my parked car, yelling at my Kindle, reacting to the author’s words as though he were holding me up as a cautionary tale to a group of tourists – who then quietly (some of them whispering to their neighbors) walked carefully around me, looking at me sideways and crossing themselves as they passed.
The second time was about five months later. I read the same sample in less than half the time, read other books by the same author, and even bought two of them.
No yelling at my Kindle this time. No salty words or narrowed eyes or ranty blog posts (or even the beginning of one).
It was like I was a different person. Or, at least, I had a different perspective.
It’s just that, when I was still new to my lunch lady job, I was liking the idea of sticking with the job for years to come. It’s a part-time job with a 2.5 hour shift – and only on school days. It was tiring even at the beginning, but it didn’t take as much out of me as it did five months later.
When my thyroid medicine stopped working for me nearly as well as before, and when my latest labs indicated that my PKD had progressed to stage 3, the job took far more out of me each day. I was (and still am) anemic, and my immunity is lowered, so I’ve gotten sick more often over the past few months.
For the past few months, I’ve had very little energy to begin the day. By the end of each shift, I wanted to spend the rest of the day sleeping. The adrenaline rush – the only thing that got me through my shift – was over. I’d crash, and I’d crash hard. I’d get home and my whole body would feel leaden and weak. I felt bloated 24-7. I could barely walk up the steps of our split-level before I felt the need to stop and lie down wherever I was to recover. I was a mess. I felt pathetic and useless.
And I didn’t want to go to work anymore. Not anywhere.
Moving and thinking wore me out before the morning was half gone. And coffee didn’t help. If anything, it made me even more tired.
I’m taking iron pills, now, with my daily thyroid supplement. I also have a steroid inhaler and Singulair to help with the asthma, which isn’t as much of a problem as the overall tight feeling in the front and back of my chest area. I can breathe fine; I just feel squished.
I read the book’s free sample when I was in a very different frame of mind from the one before. I still think my co-workers are the best in the world, and I’ll miss them over the summer. One of them has retired, so I’ll miss her even longer.
But I’m not as certain anymore that I could do this job for the next several years.
It’s not that I can’t get healthy again. My GFR estimate was even lower than it is now back in July of 2013, and my creatinine level then was the highest it’s ever been.
But then I started eating better, mainly because I wanted to stop feeling like crap.
And it worked. Not only did I start to feel healthier, my kidney labs improved. My GFR estimate went back up to 62, and my creatinine level dropped to .9-something.
Plus, I was no longer anemic, and my thyroid medicine even seemed to be working better. I had more energy, and I didn’t feel squished in my core and in my head all the time. It helps not to feel squished. It really does.
But I was reading the book and thinking, “Okay. Maybe you’re not a jerk, after all. What I reacted to before . . . well, it doesn’t bother me this time. I’m even nodding my head as I read the stuff that irritated me before. I get it.”
When I read it before, I was on the defensive. I took the author’s words as a personal attack, because something about my life just didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know how to fix it. I didn’t know if it even could be fixed or if it ever would.
I didn’t know where to begin to change things, and it bugged the shit out of me.
Now, I’ve decided something, and I’m taking steps (however small) every day to make what I believe is a necessary change – not only for my life but the lives of those closest to me.
And I’m less angry. I feel less as though the walls are closing in on me.
I need to be healthier to make it work, though, so I need to eat better. No more excuses. No more eating crap and feeling like it, too. I improved my kidney function before, and I can do it again. I’ll do what I can to improve my body’s ability to convert my thyroid medication (T4) to the useful form of thyroid hormone (T3), because if I have to wait for an endocrinologist to tell me what to do, I’ll be dragging all through summer, and that’s not an option.
Oh, by the way, the sample I was reading was from Rob Parnell’s Zero to Hero: How to make a LIVING Writing Fiction (The Easy Way to Write).
I may buy that book, yet, but for now I’ve opted for two of his other books, since they have more of the information I need right now: The Easy Way to Write Short Stories that Sell and Easy Cash Writing: How to Make a Living as a Freelance Writer.
How about you? Have you ever read a book at two different times of your life and had different reactions to it?
I’d love if you’d leave a comment telling me about it. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post, and have a great week!