Monday, November 2, 2009

A Little Bit Country

I like country music. Not gonna lie. I drive my brother nuts with my admiration of country. He starts to wail and scream if I pause on a country radio station in the car of if I want to listen to the country song that comes up on my iPod. What a baby. I listen to his crap, but that's not the point.

Country music is catchy and has a good beat; those two together tend to leave me with the songs stuck in my head.

In fall of 2004 I was a freshman in college. I had my own room and was able to listen to whatever I wanted. I became a big fan of Toby Keith's song "Stays in Mexico." Either that summer or the summer before I had seen Toby Keith in concert and had so much fun I became an instant and true fan.

In November 2004 I had my appendix taken out. When I woke from the first surgery I made sure I still knew how to do double and triple integrals for my calculus midterm, and then I went back to sleep. The next day I nearly died from blood loss and had emergency surgery. When I finally woke up after the second surgery, I found I had "Stays in Mexico" in my head. Since it was a fairly new song (at least to me), all I could remember was this part of the chorus:

"Don't bite off more than you can chew
There's things down here the devil himself wouldn't do"

But I often changed "wouldn't" to "couldn't." There were so many times that November I thought I might never walk normally again. We thought I might have brain damage. My recovery was painfully slow. I remember once I was in the bathroom in my hospital room, with those two lines stuck in my head. It was one of the first times I was able to get myself to the bathroom and I was thinking that maybe the next day I would shower. I was tired of bed baths. My family and nurses didn't even know that I had gotten myself to the bathroom. I did it because I was tired of waiting for the nurses to show up. It took two people to get me and my IV pole the four feet to the bathroom - and that made me mad. I did it by myself.

But I had those two lines stuck in my head. "Don't bite off more than you can chew." I knew I was too tired to get myself back to bed, so I called for help. And the second line often made me smile "There's things down here the devil himself couldn't do." I knew that I was stronger than most for surviving the whole horrible ordeal, and that if I survived it initially I could get better. I just had to remember to take it slowly.

And that's how I try to live my life now. I try not to bite off more than I can chew. I know what I can handle and I have learned to say 'no,' if I just need to stay home and rest. I have learned that taking care of me comes first, because gosh darn it! I've survived more than most people could, and I'm going to keep on fighting.

Today I was listening to my iPod while I was in the shower, and "Stays in Mexico" started playing. Every time that chorus plays I go back to sitting on the toilet in that hospital room singing "Don't bite off more than you can chew/There's things down here the Devil himself couldn't do." And I can laugh. I can laugh that I was so sick there was nothing in my brain except that song. I was so sick walking the four feet to the bathroom wore me out - and was actually biting off more than I could chew. I can laugh because I survived. I can laugh because I recovered. I can laugh because I am healthy and happy.

And now I know how to avoid biting off more than I can chew. Thank you country music.

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