I’m typing this post while waiting for an appointment this morning at The Pacemaker Clinic.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I’ve had a pacemaker since I was 10 years old. I Am The Longest Surviving Person in the World with a Pacemaker.* I used bragging initial caps in that previous sentence because of something new I’ve been doing lately. I’m being open, even proud, about this.
A couple of summers ago, at a group therapy conference I attend every year, I was participating in a day-long therapy group. During the afternoon, I revealed to the group my Big Secret for People Who Don’t Know Me: the heart stuff and how that affected my childhood. I also described my fears about how revealing this might screw up my connection to the other people in the group. I was afraid that they would withdraw, or see me in a very different way: as The Person With The Pacemaker.
There was this really cool woman in the group, who was wearing these great shoes.
(They’re Neeves, by Kelsi Dagger, which I’ve since found for myself online.)
This woman in my group said to me, “Why not be proud about that? I’m hoping that next year, when you return to this conference, you’ll be wearing a t-shirt that says something like “World’s Longest Surviving Person With a Pacemaker!”
What she said made a big impression on me. All year, I considered getting a t-shirt. And a week before last summer’s conference, I ordered this t-shirt on-line.
During the day of the conference, I had a jacket over the t-shirt (I was too self-conscious to have it out there completely), but I did show it to the people from my group the year before. And they thought it was quite cool.
Okay. Time for my appointment. The people at the Pacemaker Clinic are definitely on My Team, and I’ll write more about them in a post here, very soon.
Thanks for reading today!
* Note: In late January 2014, almost a year after I published this post, I heard from somebody who has had a pacemaker longer than I have. See the comments below, for more about that. I actually am no longer wearing the t-shirt. I’d like to send the t-shirt to the real champ … we’ll see how that goes!