I have been itching to blog. It’s funny how this has become such a catharsis for letting off steam, expressing frustrations and exploring emotions.
Its hard to do that from a cell phone.
I’ve heard it said that on an airline, there was this one flight attendant who went through the usual spiel, and at the end said something along the lines of:
Please make sure you put your oxygen mask on before attempting to help another. You’re no good to anyone if you’re not breathing yourself.
This entire last week has been about self-care. I have lots of people asking me about self care. Am I taking care of myself? Am I eating? Am I sleeping? How am I making sure that I’m breathing before I help another?
I want to say that I’ve been doing great. 8 hours sleep every night. Regular meals. Mental breaks. Lots of good exercise.
The problem is that when I take a break, when I stop what I’m doing… my brain starts thinking.
For those of you not on my facebook, you may be wondering… wtf?
One week ago tomorrow, my husband was admitted to the ICU. He has severe pancreatitis.
Last Sunday, they told me to gather my family around – those who wanted/could be here… because they didn’t know if he would make it through the night.
So how does I take care of myself when the love of my life is laying, in critical condition, in a hospital bed?
How do I remember to eat, to sleep, when I’m afraid to close my eyes, blink or look away too long?
Sunday afternoon we were talking about how by Wed or Thurs he should start showing signs of improvement and be on the road to recovery. At 4pm he was going for a CT Scan…. when he wasn’t back by 7 we went for dinner. Between 7.30-8.30, visitors are not allowed because of shift change. So at 8.35, I came back hoping to see him. I was told… not yet. At 9, the charge nurse and a doctor? Another nurse? I don’t remember…. I only clearly remember Kevin… telling me that he was very sick, the sickest on the ward and to call family.
2 hours later, Kevin again… with a surgeon this time… telling me that his mortality rate was high, that they could increase his chances of survival slightly by opening his belly and cleaning out the dead pancreas bits. They would then leave his belly unstitched until certain things cleared up.
That was Sunday night. He survived, and has making slow, infinitesimally small gains in health – but enough that he is mostly ‘stable’ but in critical condition still.
I’m afraid to leave him. I’m afraid to spend more than an hour or two away from him and I’m deathly afraid of leaving the immediate area (think 5 minutes walk)
I had an appointment at home today. Home is an hour away from him. I was going to go – he’d been stable for a while. And then he wasn’t. They had told me about the dip in blood pressure, but by the time I found out about it, it was a matter of “all done, fixed, he’s good and at the same spot or better than he was”
It was a different story when it happened in front of me. I didn’t make it to Squamish.
So back to the original question….
How am I taking care of myself? Because I know my friends/family all want to know… they need to know that I am taking care of myself because if I’m not, I’ll burn out – I won’t be breathing – and then I’ll be no good to my kids.
1. I walk. I walk up stairs, down stairs, sometimes I take an extra flight of stairs just for the heck of it. But I walk, and while its not skating and its not really *enough* exercise, I do walk rather than waiting for the elevator. And I walk fast.
2. I eat. I’m not hungry, and most of the time I don’t think about food, but I deliberately eat breakfast, a snack or two during the day and dinner. If I miss breakfast, I eat lunch.
3. I drink lots of water. And juice. I’m keeping hydrated.
4. I sleep. My mind doesn’t shut down very easily, but I do sleep. If I can’t shut my mind down enough to sleep, I have a lovely orange pill that does it for me. My thing when stressed – is I do sleep. Depression does that to me, so I do sleep. Its not very restful sleep though.
5. I talk to friends and family. Its hard to remember who has been updated when, but I do talk to a lot of people a lot. My poor phone hasn’t gotten this much use in forever.
6. I have faith. I believe that he will come out of it. I believe my presence, my voice, my touch all have a hand in how hard he is fighting. I believe that it was my begging him to come back to me, come back to us, to fight, along with his incredibly strong will, that helped him survive the surgery that Sunday. I believe in the power of prayer, the power of positive thinking, the power of healing energy, the power of thousands of people all directing those to him.
Its not easy to take care of myself. Some days are bad. But I still do that “self-care crap” because I know that unless I have first taken care of myself, I will be no good to myself, my husband or my children.
This weekend is a weekend to breathe. He is in a hospital, 5 minutes away, and I am with my boys. They are here but won’t spend a *lot* of time in the hospital, so neither will I.
I will breathe… and come back to him stronger.
This song keeps me going… keeps playing in my head and I sing it to him as I sit there, when I’m not reading to him.
Maybe there will be a silver lining… if I keep going the way I am… he’ll have a hot sexxy skinny wife at the end of it all…