Ch.63 Pat has Gumption

Ch.63   Pat has Gumption

          My guess is that if you are under 50 years old you have probably never heard the word “gumption.” It truly is an old-fashioned word, dating to the early 1700’s but not much in use anymore. That’s too bad because “gumption” is one word that helps describe Pat’s personality.

          One good definition of “gumption” is “shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness.” People with gumption possess drive, initiative, common sense, and the energy that makes doing difficult things possible. If you have gumption, you have guts, determination, and willingness to take certain risks. You are not easily deterred by the possibility of failure.

          Pat often displayed gumption in her career as a mental health counselor. She was not afraid to take on “impossible” clients, such as people with borderline disorder or multiple personality disorders. She became a “therapist of last resort” in the Eau Claire region, often helping these “impossible” clients work through their myriad issues with a combination of creative interventions, humor, tremendous empathy, and tenacity. Pat never gave up on clients and she was willing to try new approaches with them even when the results could not be entirely predicted. She had gumption.

          Pat still has gumption. It’s a good thing, too, because now she is facing the double challenge of Lewy Body and this horrible auto-immune disorder, bullous pemphigoid (See last week's Ch.62 for details). Pat hasn’t run away from either misfortune. Regarding Lewy Body, she has co-written this journal, helping others learn about it while refusing to let it define her. Yes, Pat has Lewy Body but that is only a small fragment of her total being. Regarding bullous pemphigoid, Pat is dealing with this malady in several ways: she rests when necessary but does as much as she can during the day; she refuses to pity herself or let others pity her; she insists that eventually she will rid herself of this condition; she maintains deep love and caring for her family and for the state of the world. Once again, Pat has bullous pemphigoid but that does not define her being.

          Pat does not give up in difficult situations. She has too much gumption.

 Pat’s comments on Pat has Gumption:

          Gumption is having the courage to take a bite out of something. That’s how it was defined for me by my father. I have gumption – the ability to confront something. Sometimes I run away but I come back. I ask myself “Where’s my gumption?”

          It helps when Ron uses that word for me. Gumption is a word that fits me. Ron used that word and it was helpful. It brought that feeling all back to me.

          When I feel like sloughing off and not confronting this disease I say, “Come on.”