April 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Learning to Ask for Help

A few days before coming home from my month in the hospital following neurosurgery, my nurse Joey pulled a chair up beside my hospital bed and gave me a lecturette. The theme was, "You're going to have to learn to ask for help."

At the time, I thought she was criticizing me for not accepting help in the hospital. I found this strange. After all, friends and family and nurses were walking me to the restroom, flushing the toilet for me, and helping me take a shower. What else could I ask for?

I am learning that Joey was a seer who could see into my future. Now I visit the restroom and shower on my own, but I still need lots of help, and I'm learning to ask for it.

When I haven't been able to drive, friends have driven me to and from work, university classes, my writing group, and the hospital. Ann does so much it's hard to list, so I'll just give a couple of examples: Ann fixes my meals for me and puts ointment in my eyes each night.

My friend Jane read articles for my university program to me. (Bless her heart: she even said they were interesting.) At the beach last summer, Sister Jen read to me my childhood friend Heather Newton's novel. When both Ann and I have enough energy at night, Ann reads to me then, too.

Ellen helps me think about social justice issues and resources that I'm interested in. My parents and siblings have all traveled to Seattle when I needed help. Students in the schools where I was working moved their friends and backpacks out of my path and held doors for me. My friend Pea is my technology consultant. My school district has given me medical leave when I've needed it, and colleagues have generiously donated sick leave.

Sister Jen tells me that letting people help me is doing them a favor. So thanks, and you're welcome.

Really, the list goes on and on.

I think Sister Jen's right, so even if you don't have brain tumors, this is a good thing to remember, but don't overdo it. That's the trick.

Now I need to ask you for help. In order to convince agents and publishers that someone will read the books I'm writing, I need to increase traffic to my blog at Please read and comment when you can. Really importantly, share the link with others who, you think, might be interested in reading it.

I'm going to start posting once a week,  on Wednesdays. Once a month, the post will be an encore presentation of an entry that lots of people have commented on (mostly to me personally); most weeks, I'll post a new entry.

As I say so many times each day. Thanks. And thanks again. And you're welcome.



  1. Mary, as usual, your writing is insightful, useful, and is in your very unique and particular voice, which is like no one else's. I always love reading your posts.
    Denise Benitez

  2. I've read your blog before and enjoyed it. A friend sent me here today and I'm glad she did. I have a blog myself, and find lots of people visit it when I share posts on Facebook? Are you doing that? If so, I'd love to "follow" you!

  3. Mary, I've been following your blog for quite some time and every post is right on the money. Funny, insightful, thought-provoking (or merely provoking) and sometimes convicting of those of us who are, as you say, "Temporarily Abled." This post is no different: giving help is a darn sight easier than asking for it. Asking for it requires humility and admitting one's "less than abled" status. Knowing one is loved, when people chip in with help, is (in the immortal words of the commercials): priceless.

  4. I just posted a link to your blog on my Facebook page.

  5. I have always had a hard time asking for help, and now that Im disabled that really hasnt changed as much as Im used to. I am getting a little better at asking my husband for help. Not just emergency help [like when Im stuck in the shower clinging to the safety bar with no energy to get out] but general help. Its hard. A part of your illness that Im secretly jealous of is that you actually look different on the outside. I know this sounds terrible, but sometimes I wish I could break down and get a walker or wheelchair so people on the outside could get a peek into what it feels like on the inside. But I am afraid that I would get too addicted to a wheelchair and lose what mobility I have. *sigh*

  6. Glad to see that you're getting your "social media" on - more people need to know about this blog!!!!

  7. I just posted this to my facebook page. You are an amazing writer and person....and TEACHER.

  8. Dear Mary,
    I'm a new follower! I see myself and my friends aging, and I try to figure out what I should do NOW before I can't do it without more help than is reasonable. Like go do volunteer work in New Zealand.
    thanks for writing your thoughts, Catherine

  9. Awesome comments, Tressa!!
    p.s. proving you're not a robot kind of blows!


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