IMG_1111By nature I am an optimist and a doer. When I recognize a problem, I identify a solution, make a plan and attack it head-on. Many years ago my boss told his boss, “People can say what they like about Elaine, but by-God, she gets things done!”

I think he intended that statement as a compliment, but I have to admit, I was more than a little concerned about what people were saying about me.

I don’t like indecision, and I hate to wait. I recognize that I like to be in control, and once I identify what needs to be done, I know I can act like a bit of a steamroller. This facet of my personality isn’t all bad, but it’s not all good, either.

It’s been especially difficult for me the past few months as we’ve tried to figure out a solution to my husband’s back pain. Alex has had chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy. Four years ago he had surgery, and it appears that he will now need another operation.

Two weeks ago the pain management doctor recognized that the injections were no longer going to help, and he ordered an MRI. We will get the results tomorrow.

This has been a frustrating time for me because I have been trying to rely on my old method of recognizing a problem, identifying a solution and taking action. The problem is that I am a bystander in a situation where I desperately want to do something to make the situation better, but I’m not in control.

I can’t control what is happening in Alex’s back. I can’t control the doctors’ schedules. I have no knowledge, authority or influence on what they can do or when they’ll be able to do it.

This morning as I walked the hills in my neighborhood I realized I need to follow my own advice. I need to accept that the only thing I can control is my attitude and my own actions. I can be loving and kind and patient. I can take care of myself by eating right, getting enough sleep and lots of exercise. And when we talk to the doctor tomorrow, I can square my shoulders, put a smile on my face and let Alex know that no matter what is ahead, he won’t have to face it alone.