Yesterday I completely violated my physician's orders to rest and to avoid strenuous activities. Out of an obligation I made to a friend, I was put into a situation where I found myself moving, bending and lifting boxes for hours. As the day wore on I found myself feeling increasingly frustrated. Had I known the true nature of my friend's need, I would have known that I was not in the position to help.
My friend, whom I have been trying to help pack her apartment for the past few months, called me again on Saturday. She explained that she was in the hospital and asked if I could sit in her apartment on Tuesday while the movers worked to put her furniture and boxes into the truck. I asked her if she was packed, and she said that she was indeed ready to move. Although I wasn't entirely thrilled with the prospect of sitting in her apartment all day while boxes were being moved, I knew that she was in a bind. I agreed to oversee the movers.
After a comedy of errors, I finally gained entrance to her secure building and made my way towards her apartment. I was flabbergasted when I stepped inside and realized that nothing has been packed since the last time I had been there to help. The movers were agitated, barking directives for me to clear out the file cabinets, dressers, drawers etc.. I was prepared to spend the day sitting and supervising. I was certainly not prepared to pack the rest of her apartment!
At first I felt overwhelmed. As the hours wore on, and my fatigue increased, I found myself becoming livid. My leg hurt, my back hurt and constantly bending and stooping was both uncomfortable and painful. Obviously she knew that the apartment was not packed, and that she required more assistance than my simply supervising the movers. I feel like I was duped, but I know that explanation is too simple.
My friend has been living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), rendering her easily distracted and prone to confusion. I would like to attribute her grossly underestimating the scope of the favor to her TBI because I don't want to believe that she deliberately misled me. But believing that her miscommunication was the result of a disability, and not dishonesty, makes me feel guilty for becoming so frustrated and angry.
I don't know if my being misled was a result of her embarrassment and desperation or because of her TBI. I suspect that all factors played a part in the spinning of the request. Regardless, I worked all day and, to my and the movers' astonishment, the apartment was eventually completely packed.