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A good friend of mine said that to me tonight: "I have 20-days a month."
For five months, he's been going through treatment for a rare condition. Each month he gets a cocktail of medicine that just drains him.
He feels like garbage coming off the drugs and then it kicks his butt when he gets back on. That's where the math fits in. The 20 good days.
I try to talk to him about other things knowing full well everyone asks him about how he's doing. He doesn't mind talking about it -- just not all the time.
When my son was in the NICU for weeks, I joked about whether I should carry around a laminated card with a medical update to pass out when asked for a status check. And after reading it, if you had any questions I would answer at that time. Talking about it all the time could be draining.
Of course, I understood that people had concern and compassion and wanted to know if things were getting better or worse. The last thing you ever want to do is push away the people needed most at a difficult time. But there's no doubt a balance between the questions and answers.
I've told him this story and let him know I'm there whenever he wants to talk about it. I think he likes the idea that, if needed, he can be confident that we can avoid a topic too.
No doubt -- 20-days a month gives perspective.