Thursday, November 3, 2022

I ❤️ Clinic Work

Wednesday was a lovely gentle day (except for bouts of crying about a beloved dog, Nelson, who has cancer). I walked with my friends in the morning, read with Bruno, Skyped with Dianne, and did some yard work winterizing everything. Why? Because snow is predicted for Monday! Snow! Fuck. I was in shorts and a tee mere weeks ago.

It’s been a long time since I had a day like yesterday. In Summer, there are always things to be done. In Winter, once essentials are done, I’d always read. And read. And read.

The clinic is currently taking around 16 hours a week. Then there’s STAMMA stuff, plus essential dog walks, housework, and shopping. And emails and posting take a good chunk of time every day. But suddenly, yesterday, I had a day to be idle, and I learned more about the value of my volunteering.

Thirty-four years ago, I got into a bath and saw my life happen as though it was a movie on the bathroom wall. At first, I thought I was just watching some movie. I swear! Then I realized I was seeing scenes of my past. I was 40 years old. My trip to FND began then. I’ve long believed it was the memory of my childhood experiences, not the experiences themselves, that has crippled me.

Ever since that day, thoughts about that past and about my condition seep into my consciousness. These are not thoughts and emotions I want. That’s why I like the clinic work so much. There’s all that I do, but there’s so very, very much to think as well. I spend as much time, or more time, thinking about what to do, than I do doing it. The clinic is excellent medicine.

I’m really looking forward to my meeting on Friday with Dyan. I wrote an email to her with a proposal to build a website and I was thrilled that to get together with me was her response. I thought our meeting would give me a chance to convince her to build the site. But I’m not going to do that. 

I’m going to thank her for the meeting and express hope that, when necessary, there can be more. And I’ll tell her about how Nancy and I get together every week. Nancy and I are rockin’ our responsibilities. She says what she wants done, and I do it. But I help her to make her decisions. She is a privilege to work with her.

Then, instead of lobbying for the site, I’m going to lay out options that I can see for how we deal with the newsletter, and how it’s made. And then she can make decisions and I’ll do the finger and mouse work to achieve her ambitions. I’m far more comfortable with a question instead of an expectation.

She’s soon to be our chair. She’s going to have a shitload more on her plate. So, at this meeting, I want to get our community relations and communications strategy nailed down before the shit hits the fan. Sometimes you use a cliché. I am likely to write an essay for her on the options and short-term planning to give her when she arrives. 

 One of the greatest days of my life was the day I went into the office of the Arts Club Theatre to see if I could be a committed volunteer. I asked a cheap genius if he wanted me free for a year. I worked 7 days a week for months at a time. I was in heaven. I found a job and a family. I am still friends of the cheap genius. It was an extraordinary experience. It was the inaugural season of the Arts Club Theatre. I think it was 1973.

I feel much the same way about my work with the clinic. I’m becoming their go-to communications person. I am the executor of a committee responsible for communications, community relations and fundraising. Dyan is the head of our committee. Don is Mr. Fundraising, and I handle the other two. I’m in on the ground floor of a communications department, and I find it really, really exciting.

I also love working as part of a team. I love the shared responsibility. And … lucky me … my colleagues have my respect and admiration. I’m stunned to understand all we are doing.

We are losing two amazing men. They’ve both been on the board for over a decade, and they have been in their positions since the clinic opened. So, everybody’s shifting responsibilities as Dyan becomes chair. I’ll become the voice, I reckon, of communications at the board meetings. That’d be such a fun ride. I’m in for at least 3 years.

The more I’m here, the more I want never to be anywhere else. 

When I’m alone, I have no symptoms—if I’m careful about what I watch on TV. Ad a person, I start stuttering, and it’s fighting to speak. And it’s tiring. And it can very frustrating. I get sick of all that fills my head when I am struggling to speak. I have none of that here, except for when I video chat. I have regular video chats with several friends. I hate dealing with technology, but what a huge benefit it brings to my life.

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