Thursday, January 16, 2014

5:30a.m.

   Crickets from my alarm clock begin their chirping. No, they are not real but the subtle noise wakes me and allows Mandy to continue sleeping. What day is it? Thursday, that's right. Only nine more days until the weekend. I slide out of bed and reach for my robe. My morning ritual has begun. I let the dog out, make the coffee, and head to the bathroom as it brews. After my face is washed and my teeth are brushed I let the dog in, pour a cup of black coffee, and head for my chair next to the fireplace. The fire is still burning so I throw a stick of wood on the coals and in moments it roars to life. Brody is waiting patiently. As I descend into my chair he jumps into my lap. The cat has also noticed me sitting and makes her way over to have her ears scratched for a while. Every day is the same. These precious few minutes as I idle my internal engine and try to come to life are the only time that I am still. My pills wait on the end table. I love them and I hate them. The dog and cat seem content to stay put. Too bad for them. I remove them from my lap and place them on the floor. Sorry guys but I need to start my day. The coffee is good and is a nice contrast to the taste of the 5 pills I am trying to choke down. When the last of my pills are consumed and my coffee cup empty I reluctantly rise from the comfort of my chair. It is 6:05. I fill my thermos, throw my lunch in my pack, and pour a to-go cup for the road. I hastily dress into my dingy work clothes. They are fresh from the wash but you would never know. The dirt is eternal. Time to wake Amanda.
   I awake to an alarm. Mandy wakes to a kiss. She wraps her arms around me. I won't be leaving the bed side anytime soon. :-) five minutes later another kiss goodbye and I head for the door. I put the cats outside on the way to the door, grab my keys, and off to work I go.
  This is my life and it is not taken for granted. I often wonder how much longer it will last. I like to work. I like getting dirty and working with my hands. When first diagnosed I thought of going out on disability. It has been seven and a half years and I am still working hard every day. What will happen if or when the day comes that I can no longer perform my duties at work. Sure, I complain about my job almost daily. When I have to climb into a steam vessel or into some shit hole that is covered with grease and water is raining down on my head I ask myself "what the hell am I doing here"? The truth is, what else would I do? Amanda and I make an okay living. We are far from rich. What happens when I can no longer work and must rely on a disability check? I hope these pills continue to work for a long time. In a few years a couple bills will be paid off. Each year after that we will have two more paid off. I have to work five more years. I have to make sure Mandy is going to be financially okay if my health goes in the toilet.
   This is my struggle. When my nights are sleepless this is what I think about. It is something I must face alone. It is time to go to work.